Acai is a trendy and colorful fruit that is often found in acai bowls, smoothies, and more. However, you may wonder if you can consume this popular fruit while you are breastfeeding.
While the CDC specifies that there are no foods that breastfeeding women should avoid, unfortunately, there is very little evidence available about consuming acai while breastfeeding. Therefore, avoid having large amounts of acai and skip the acai powder as it is a dietary supplement.
There are a few extra considerations to keep in mind when consuming acai during breastfeeding. Read on to learn more!
Can I Eat Acai Bowls When Breastfeeding?
Acai bowls are likely safe to consume while breastfeeding. But, first, let’s dive into more information about acai.
Acai bowls are trendy food dishes that are often made from blended acai with milk creating a smoothie. It is eaten with a spoon from a bowl and typically topped with delicious granola, fruits, coconut, and even chocolate!
While there are no studies demonstrating the safety of acai fruit specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that breastfeeding women simply consume a balanced and healthy diet.
The CDC states that breastfeeding women do not need to limit or avoid any foods in general. You might have a few foods to limit, such as seafood or caffeine sources.
Therefore, it is likely safe to consume acai in regular amounts while breastfeeding. There are even many potential health benefits of acai since they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help protect the cells in the body from harmful free radicals.
These free radicals are naturally produced during body processes, such as energy metabolism. Having a balance of antioxidants in the diet and free radicals in the body helps to fight inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which play a role in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
One of the antioxidants in acai is anthocyanin, which is responsible for its vibrant purple color.
The composition of antioxidant content can also promote a healthy heart, as antioxidants reduce arterial inflammation and oxidative stress (source: Today’s Dietitian). Interestingly, these effects were found to come from the anthocyanin itself rather than an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
Additionally, an acai bowl (especially when topped with fruit and granola) is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Not only can fiber reduce the uncomfortable gastrointestinal symptoms of constipation and abdominal pain, but fiber also has many other nutritional benefits.
Dietary fiber can help regulate blood sugar levels as it slows down the digestion and absorption of sugars in the foods you eat (source: Mayo Clinic). Additionally, fiber can help with achieving a healthy weight and even lowering cholesterol levels!
Are Acai Berries Safe When Breastfeeding?
In general, acai berries are likely safe to consume while breastfeeding. These berries are shaped like grapes, have origins in South America, and can be consumed fresh or dried. Also, acai berries can be found in juices or in a supplement powder.
It is recommended to consume at least three servings of berries per week for the most health benefits (source: Today’s Dietitian). They can be easily incorporated into smoothies (or acai bowls!), waffles and pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, and more.
However, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health specifies that little is known about the health effects of acai products or whether it is safe to consume during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Additionally, acai powder is considered a dietary supplement and is not thoroughly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA monitors for adverse effects from those who take the dietary supplements, though they do not ensure safety or efficacy before the product hits the health food store shelves.
It is best to skip the acai supplement powder and get your antioxidants from food sources, such as blueberries, spinach, and other fruits and vegetables.
Overall, avoid consuming large amounts of acai and speak with your physician if you would like to take acai berry supplements, such as in powder form.
I hope you found this article helpful in breaking down the safety of consuming acai during your breastfeeding journey and how to incorporate it safely into your diet.