Native to the rainforests of South America, the açai (pronounced ah-SIGH-ee) is a small purple berry that has been touted as a weight-loss and anti-aging aid. The fruit contains very high levels of antioxidants in the form of anthocyanins, which help fight cancer and heart disease. “It’s also one of the few fruits with oleic acid—the same heart-healthy fat in olive oil,” says Andy Bellatti, a Las Vegas-based registered dietitian. Because fresh açai is often unavailable, it’s typically sold frozen or in tablets, powders, or juices. Bellatti suggests avoiding açai juices, because they usually contain added sugar. “I recommend buying packs of unsweetened frozen açai that you can blend with any sweet fruit to make a smoothie without a lot of junk,” he says.
Available at natural-food stores and online; try amafruits.com.