Açaí bowls have become very popular on the trendy health and fitness scene. Some of its fame comes from its delicious taste and many health benefits, but much of it also comes from its beauty. I'm sure that everyone has seen at least a few açaí bowls from all over pop up on their Instagram feed. Many local juice bars and health-conscious restaurants have added these bowls to their menu because of the increasing love of them and demand for them. While açaí bowls have been around for a while now, and some may say they may have run their course, there is also the lesser-known pitaya bowl. The pitaya bowl shares the same beauty and Instagram-worthiness as the açaí bowl, along with many of the health benefits. Some people are loyal fans of the pitaya bowl, while others are more açaí bowl people. But in the debate between açaí vs pitaya, what's the difference?!

Açaí (ah-sigh-EE)

Açaí bowls are made out of a puree of the açaí berry (hence the name). This berry looks similar to a grape and can be found on the açaí palm trees of South American rainforests, specifically in Brazil. Açaí berries are considered a superfood and are jam-packed with health benefits! Inside these small berries there are tons of antioxidants, fiber, heart-healthy fats, and calcium. Some of the health benefits of adding açaí berries into your diet include: promoting heart health, helping with weight loss, improving digestion, boosting your immune system, and increasing overall energy (just to name a few). While these berries are very good for you, they are not magical, and should be added into your daily lifestyle along with plenty other fruits and vegetables to see the benefits. In terms of side effects, the only downside of these berries would be that doctors recommend avoiding them if you are allergic to pollen or similar other fruits. 

Açaí berries go badly very quickly (sometimes in as fast as one day) so you will never see them in the produce section at the grocery store. Instead, you can find them as a frozen puree, which can later be defrosted for açaí bowls and smoothies! The açaí itself tastes similar to a blackberry or a raspberry, and is not very sweet when you do not add anything to it. Because of its tropical nature, it also has a very light and refreshing taste, perfect for breakfast on a hot summer day!


While similar in its beauty and Instagram-worthiness, pitaya is slightly different in its taste and health benefits compared to the açaí. So what IS pitaya? Pitaya is actually just a fancy name for dragon fruit. Dragon fruit is a tropical fruit that is native to Mexico and Central America. Since its discovery, dragon fruit has been adapted to be easily grown around the world. It is said that it was renamed from pitaya to dragon fruit when it was brought to Asia. There are many different species of pitaya because it is found in so many places. For the most part, pitaya with a deep pink/red/purple is used for pitaya bowls as it has more nutrients and is stronger in flavor. Like the açaí berry, pitaya is high in antioxidants, fiber and tons of vitamins. 

The biggest difference between the pitaya and the açaí is the taste. Pitaya is slightly sweeter naturally and more like a watermelon taste as opposed to the açaí which is like a blackberry. Another difference is the color. While the dark purple açaí becomes colorful with the addition of all the fruit to the açaí bowl, pitaya has a vibrant color of its own, becoming even more vibrant and colorful with the addition of the fruit to the pitaya bowl. It is slightly harder to find pitaya because dragon fruit is much more rare of a fruit. There are various places to buy it online, however, and the cubes or puree will be sent to your house. 

Açaí vs Pitaya: So Which One is Better? 

When you compare the two, there is not a very substantial difference besides the taste. Doctors say that if they had to pick one, açaí is slightly better for you because it has a slightly less sweet taste, meaning less sugar. But the difference is so small that in the debate of açaí vs pitaya it really comes down to personal preference. The best part is, you really don't even have to choose! If you really want to you can do a bowl half açaí and half pitaya for the best of both worlds. 

Either option you pick, you are kickstarting your day on a healthy foot. These bowls can be a great addition to your lifestyle, especially with the summer coming up! There is nothing better than a refreshing açaí or pitaya bowl to start your morning on a hot summer day. With the plethora of online resources we have now, it is easy to purchase the purees and make your own bowl just how you like it at home. Or #treatyoself and head over to your favorite juice bar! But fair warning: once you welcome açaí and pitaya into your life, you will become obsessed like the rest of us and never look back! 

Michaela Gillis