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Acerola vs Acai Berry Powder – Comparison

Published: July 28, 2018

Acerola and acai may sound alike, and they are both sold in powdered form in the superfood section of health food stores. They are both also native to Latin America. But acerola cherries and acai berries also differ in many ways. Here's a head-to-head comparison of acerola vs acai:

Acai Powder

Antioxidant Capacity

The acai berry has been touted as an antioxidant-rich superfood, and even though acai berries don't quite beat maqui berries in terms of antioxidant power, they are definitely one of the world's most antioxidant-rich berries.

But an intriguing study from Brazil shows that also acerola cherries have significant antioxidant properties. In fact, when measured using the ABTS and FRAP assays, the antioxidant capacity of acerola cherries has been found to be much higher than that of acai berries. When the DPPH assay was used to measure the antioxidant capacity of acai vs acerola, acai berries came out on top. (1)

So, the bottom line is, different chemical assays used to measure the antioxidant capacity of berries can yield different results, and that, together with the fact that these assays do not measure antioxidant activity in actual living beings but in test tubes, means that we cannot declare a winner in the battle acerola vs acai as far as antioxidant capacity goes.

Vitamin C Content

So, as far as antioxidant poperties are concerned, we cannot say which are better, acerola cherries or acai berries. But even if we could accurately predict how much antioxidant protection acerola or acai provide in the human body, we would still not be able to say which is healthier, acerola or acai. Why? Because antioxidant activity is just one way of measuring how healthy a food is. All healthy foods contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other components that work together to provide us with high-quality nutrition.

Acerola cherries, along with camu camu fruit, for example, are among the world's best dietary sources of vitamin C. Indeed, fresh acerola cherries have been reported to contain up to 1,357 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams, which is about 25 times the amount of vitamin C found in oranges.

Acai berries, by contrast, contain 84 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. While that may not sound like a lot compared to acerola cherries, it is still almost twice the amount of vitamin C found in oranges. (1-2)


Fruits that contain extremely high amounts of vitamin C typically have a tart flavor, and acerola cherries are no exception to the rule. The flavor of acerola cherry can range from sub-acid to acid, and it can sometimes be slightly sweet. The intensity of flavor depends on how ripe the fruit is, with perfectly ripe acerola cherries boasting a sweeter and less tart flavor than their less ripe counterparts.

The flavor of acai berries, by contrast, can be described as a cross between raspberry and blackberry flavors, with a hint of tartness.

Buying Acerola or Acai

Neither fresh acerola cherries nor fresh acai berries are readily available in grocery stores in North America and the UK because these exotic fruits are grown primarily in Latin America and are highly perishable. They are, however, readily available in powdered form.

If you want to reap the health benefits of acerola powder or acai powder, head to your local health food store. You can also buy both of these superfood powders online. If you like to shop on Amazon, try Terrasoul's acerola powder or Navitas Organics' acai powder which are made from certified organic fruit.


1. M. Rufino et al (2010). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacities of 18 non-traditional tropical fruits from Brazil. Food Chemistry, 121(4), 996-1002.
2. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (Release 28, released September 2015, slightly revised May 2016). USDA Database.

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