If you’ve been hanging around a smoothie cafe or simply making your own smoothie bowls at home, you may have come across two popular smoothie favorites- pitaya and acai. Both are more exotic fruits. Pitaya is a tropical fruit, native to southern Mexico and Central America. Acai comes from the amazon regions of central and south America. It is a berry-like fruit, called a drupe- having fleshy thin skin and with a pit in the middle. In the decision of pitaya vs acai, which one is healthier, and what are the other differences between these two exotic fruits?
Let’s dive in! In comparing Acai to Pitaya, which is also known more commonly as dragon fruit. I used the following brands found at my local supermarket in the freezer section with the other frozen fruits.
PitayaPlus Dragon Fruit Packs Vs Sambazon Pure Unsweetened Packs.
Both brands are organic, have the same serving size (100 grams), and contain 4 packets per package.
Pitaya vs Acai Nutritional Chart for 100 grams
|Protein||1 gram||1 gram|
|Total Fat||0 grams||5 grams|
–Saturated 1 g
-Omega 3 45 mg
-Omega 6 585 mg
-Omega 9 2865 mg
|Cholesterol||0 mg||0 mg|
|Sodium||0 mg||20 mg|
|Vitamin A||1 %||10 %|
|Vitamin C||4 %||0 %|
|Calcium||2 %||2 %|
|Iron||4 %||2 %|
*Notes on Sugars: Acai also comes in sweetened forms with added sugar, the Sambazon brand adds 12 grams of cane sugar to it’s “original blend” packets. The sugar in Pitaya is a naturally occurring sugar.
What is Pitaya?
Pitaya is also known as dragon fruit. It is becoming more popular throughout the world. Pitaya fruit comes from an exotic cactus plant that is native to Central America and is currently found throughout Asian countries and other tropical climates.
When opening pitaya fruit, you’ll notice the fruit is either bright pink with little black seeds or white with little black seeds. The seeds are softer and easy to eat while they also blend nicely in smoothies. Pitaya as a fruit has a texture like a kiwi, softer fruit with soft seeds. The taste of dragon fruit is very sweet, more like a watermelon sweetness. If you buy the frozen smoothie/bowl packs you’ll notice the Pitaya packs are bright pink in color, with little black specks which are the dragon fruit seeds. They only harvest the species of fruit that is bright pink on the inside. If you blend pitaya with sweeter fruits as I did such as berries and bananas it’s going to be a very sweet treat. Pitaya also compliments tropical fruits such as mango and pineapple nicely.
What is Acai?
Acai, which is pronounced ah-sigh-ee, is a dull plum, purplish color berry. Acai berries come from Acai palm trees in South American rainforests. Acai berries spoil very quickly, so you can find Acai for purchase in powder form or frozen smoothie packets.
Acai packs can be sweetened or unsweetened, so make sure to check the label. The unsweetened form is as close to it’s natural form as you can get. It’s going to have a much earthier taste; which is why some choose the sweetned version, but they often come with added sugar. I prefer buying unsweetened Acai and pairing it with naturally sweetened fruits such as berries and a banana to sweeten the taste up naturally with out unnecessary added sugar.
Which is Healthier Pitaya or Acai?
Pitaya and acai are both excellent options as they are both powerhouse sources for antioxidants. Unsweetened Acai has no sugar and Pitaya has only 8 grams of naturally occurring sugar. Acai does contain some healthy fats and a good source of vitamin C 10% of the RDI as well as potassium. Pitaya is a great source of magnesium. Although Acai has been marketed for weight loss, there are no studies to support this. Which is healthier is really a personal choice based on your personal health needs; as they are both great options for supplying your body with antioxidants and nutrition while being low in calories and sugar.
Which Tastes Better Pitaya or Acai?
Pitaya is naturally sweeter than Acai- so I think the decion on which tastes better comes down to your taste buds and what you are mixing them with. I personally prefer Pitaya with more tropical fruits when I’m in a more tropical mood. PItaya is going to really appeal to those who prefer sweet fruits. Acai on the other hand I prefer with berries and a banana, for more subtle sweetness. If you are craving a stronger sweet fruit, I would go with Pitaya. If you are looking for a more subtle sweetness I would go with Acai- unless the Acai has added sugar in which case they will both be on the sweeter side.
Which ever you decide in the pitaya vs acai battle, know you can’t go wrong as they are both healthy and delicious options!