Indian Gooseberries aka Amla which comes from the Sanskrit word Amlaki which means ‘fruit of heaven’ or botanically as Phyllanthus emblica, belongs to the Phallancea family. Native to the Indian subcontinent, the Amla tree is thought to cure most diseases and promote longevity. This potent superfruit has long been used in traditional Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine due to its myriad health and beauty benefits. It is a small, light green, aciniform (grape-like) fruit which has a sour and astringent taste with a bitter, sweet and pungent secondary taste. It’s a powerhouse of antioxidants and packed full of nutrients, vitamins and minerals such as carotene, phosphorus, calcium, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin B complex. Amla has become a favourite among the health-conscious mass due to its versatility. With that in mind, here are our Top 5 Health Benefits of Indian Gooseberries!
1. Rich source of vitamin C
Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that is needed by the body for tissue growth and repair as well as collagen production. Since the body cannot make this vitamin on its own, it is imperative to have a diet with ample vitamin C. When we think about foods which contain a high dose of vitamin C, most of us would imagine oranges, but did you know that a single Indian gooseberry contains at least 10 x more vitamin C than an orange? It’s not only a saviour for scurvy, a condition which develops from a lack of vitamin C in the body but also an effective remedy for colds, flu, infections and mouth ulcers.
2. Effective weight loss aid
It is a known fact that a high metabolism burns more calories and supercharges weight loss efforts. Indian gooseberries have been found to speed up metabolism, especially that of protein by using fat stores. If you workout or exercise regularly, these berries can help you reach your goals faster. It is thought that the vitamin C and Omega 3 and 6 present in are responsible for this uplift in metabolic rate. Sudden weight gain may be due to the accumulation of harmful toxins in the body. The berry’s high fibre content helps flush out accumulated toxins. The amino acids and proteins also help control cravings keeping you fuller for longer. A glass of its juice a day will increase your metabolic rate and keep hunger pangs at bay.
Skin damage is often due to oxidative stress, where cells in your body use oxygen and release free radicals, a by-product which causes damage. These free radicals activate enzymes that are responsible for fine lines and wrinkles. Examples of oxidative stress in our environment include UV rays, ozone, stress, smoking, alcohol and animal products. Indian gooseberries’ antioxidant properties fight against premature ageing by reducing the effects of free radicals which are responsible for protein, DNA and cell membrane damage and cancer. They also help boost your skin’s youth protein collagen, reduce pigmentation and dark spots and restore a natural glow. Mix its juice with almond oil and apply to your face for 30 mins before washing off. Include these berries in your diet and you’ll probably never have to buy overinflated-expensive beauty creams ever again!
4. Strengthens heart & reduces risk of disease
We know that regular cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart muscle so that it’s able to pump more blood around your body per beat. This is also true of regular consumption of these berries. By reducing cholesterol build up, the chromium present reduces the chances of atherosclerosis. This also reduces the risk of stroke and cardiac arrest. The iron content found in Indian gooseberries facilitates new red blood cell production as well as increased circulation and oxygenation of cells and organs. It also maximises growth and regeneration of tissues and reduces unwanted build-up in arteries and blood vessels.
5. Promotes hair health
We all want beautiful, soft, thick lustrous hair. These berries contain elements that promote hair health. The high carotene and iron levels help stimulate hair growth while essential fatty acids strengthen the hair from root to tip and lock-in lustre. They are full of antioxidants, flavonoids, kaempferol and gallic acid which improve hair texture. Furthermore, the vitamin C in amla helps renew pigmentation and reduce greying. Due to its natural hair darkening properties, they’ve long been used in many Ayurvedic hair dyes and products. It is also an effective natural conditioner as it is able to penetrate and nourish deep within the scalp and promote blood circulation. Their anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties are known to treat dandruff and other scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis. Its cooling effect reduces irritation, itchiness and redness in the skin. Try mixing amla powder with water and apply the paste or use its oil every day to reap its wonderful benefits.
Although Indian Gooseberry season typically ranges from October to April, it is still widely available in the off-season and is just as nutritious. It is available as an oil, powder, juice or can be eaten raw or in its more palatable pickled or candied forms. It can be bought in its various forms in most Asian supermarkets or online through Amazon, eBay, Spices of India or Healthy Supplies to name a few. Have you tried them yet? Let us know what you think below or @KeepFitKingdom !