Zola is an amazing line of juices and smoothies made from the Brazillian Acai berry. The acai berry is an exotic berry grown in the Amazon rainforest. It has 60% more antioxidants than pomegranates and 500% more than blueberries!
Sure, you've heard lots about Acai berries and their weight loss properties, but Zola is about something else... Health. Zola juices are packed with antioxidants, rich in omega fatty acids and are naturally energizing.
I recently got a chance to interview Chris Cuvelier, Founder and President of Zola to ask him a few questions about the products. Here's our interview:
How did you discover the Acai berry and it's benefits?Chris:
As a consultant to the juice and smoothie industry for 10 years, I had sampled fruits from all over the world but had never found anything quite like açaí. After trying it, I decided to go to Brazil and sample it from the source. After my first trip, I was hooked! Açaí berries are not only delicious, but contain antioxidant benefits and natural energy boosts that inspired me and my partners to create Zola – the world’s first açaí superfruit juice.
What benefit does the Acai berry provide?
Açaí has been shown to have powerful antioxidant properties thanks to a high level of anthocyanins, pigments that are also present in red wine. Independent ORAC testing by Brunswick labs confirmed açaí to have 500% more antioxidants than blueberries and 60% more than pomegranates, and according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) açaí has remarkable contents of several essential minerals – calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, showing that açaí is the true superfruit. Açaí also contains omegas 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids.
Is Brazil the only place Acai berries are found?
Mainly in Brazil, but they are found in other parts of the Amazon rainforest. The Amazon has specific growing conditions that are essential for the açaí berry to grow.
What makes Zola different from other bottles smoothies that contain Acai berries?
A couple of things. First, Zola not only contains the powerful açaí berry, but we also blend in other Brazilian superfruits – fruits that not only taste great, but also naturally contain an exceptional amount of nutrients. Some of the other fruits we use in our smoothies that you won’t find in any other commonly available smoothies are Cupuaçu, Graviola and Caja Fruit. And Second, Zola only uses the highest grade of açaí pulp, açaí especial, in all of our juices and smoothies. The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture has formalized an age-old Amazon wisdom (the thicker the açaí pulp, the more nutrients it contains) by defining the grade of açaí according to the amount of açaí fruit pulp it contains: Açai “popular” (lower grade) must contain at least 8% pulp, açaí “medio” (middle grade) at least 11% pulp and açaí “especial” (special grade) a minimum of 14% pulp.
I've seen Acai berries in both the frozen food section of my supermarket and in other juice beverages, why are the Acai berries in Zola better for me?
Well, you won’t see the actually açaí berry anywhere outside of the Amazon and close surrounding regions. The açaí berry is so delicate that it needs to be harvested, processed and frozen within 72 hours of harvest or it could lose up to 90% of its nutrients. Because of this, Zola controls our supply from tree to bottle to ensure that we uphold the strictest and safest handling practices. We can’t speak to all other açaí products available, but we can tell you that all Zola products contain the highest grade of açaí available, açaí especial, and we control supply from tree to bottle to ensure the highest quality and nutrients possible.
I've seen many claims that Acai berries provide energy - are they a safe alternative for those of us that are sensitive to caffeine or restricted from it for medical reasons?
The energy that you get form a bottle of Zola Açaí Superfruit Juice comes from the authentic Brazilian recipe that we follow – we add a touch of organic Guaraná seed to the juice for sustained energy. Each serving of Zola Superfruit juice contains 24mg (about the amount found in a cup of green tea). It is a source of caffeine, but the caffeine from the organic Guaraná seed is released slowly; therefore, it provides sustained energy and not a high and low.
I've noticed some of your smoothies are organic, but some are not - why aren't the all organic?
All of our smoothies are 70% organic. Because we are using such cutting edge Brazilian Superfruits in our blends, they are not yet recognized by the USDA to be organic, although they are all grown pesticide-free. We are working through that right now and hope to obtain certifications soon.
Your company gives back to it's communities in Brazil, explain how Zola is helping.
At Zola, social responsibility is a huge focus – we wanted to create programs that would give back to the communities from which we are harvesting our fruits. We created a unique program, Project Zola to empower the people in local communities through partnership and sustainability. Project Zola generates financial and educational support which is directed to the local communities that produce and harvest Zola’s açaí. Project Zola focuses on building community infrastructure, improving quality of life and protecting the environment with specific and tangible goals in a 100% transparent environment. Zola promotes sales of Amazonian Project Zola products that are sold with the support of Zola’s retail partners in North America, which not only generates financial support but also creates a sense of pride for the local people. In fact, Zola was able to completely fund Escola Acaimu in 2007 and will continue to support such as this in the future. Zola is also a huge proponent of sustainable farming and works only with partners who are aligned in this commitment.
In case you'd like to learn even more about Zola, here'a a video to give you a better feel for Chris and his company, including PROJECT ZOLA:
We have an assortment of these yummy juices and smoothies for one lucky reader!
There are several ways to enter - here are the rules:
* Pop on over to Zola and explore their website - then come back and leave us a comment. Let us know which you think your favorite flavor might be or why you thing Zola is a great company.
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* Blog about our contest on your blog. Leave me a comment with your post url.
* Place our widget on your blog (it's toward the bottom of this page in the far right column - just click "get widget" at the bottom of the widget [under the heading "Grab our Widget"]). Leave me a comment with your site url.
There you have it! Six very simple ways to enter our contest - how easy is that? Complete rules can be found on our Contest page.
This contest ends Sunday, May 3rd at 11:59pm (pdst) so don't wait - make sure you've gotten all six entries before it's too late! Please note: entries received after the cutoff time will be deleted prior to drawing a winner.
Posted by Liz of Pink Lemonade
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