The Indian gooseberry, better known as Amla is a wonder food laden with benefits, says nutritionist and health expert, DEEPTI ANIL
Amla or Awla as it is known is widely consumed in India in various forms – raw, dried, candied or pickled. This tangy berry is tasty as well as loaded with goodness. Here is a sneak peek into the wonders of Amla.
Biologically known as Phyllanthus emblica, Indian gooseberry has been used for its medicinal properties in making ancient Unnani, Ayurveda and Siddha medicine. It is a natural blood purifier and an immunity booster due to the presence of vitamin C as well as a good source of fibre. This is why amla has been used for preventing as well as curing several ailments. A native to India, amla has a unique taste, which is a mix of various tastes like tangy, bitter, as well as sweet. Amla has gained a following throughout the world as a “superfruit.” It’s no surprise as a 100 gram serving of fresh amla berries contains as much vitamin C as 20 oranges. What’s more, according to the books of Ayurveda, amla is one such fruit that can naturally heal all the three types of doshas in our body, vata, pitta, and kapha. The antioxidants and vitamins found in amla berries offer several health benefits:
Blood Sugar Control in Diabetes
The soluble fibre in amla berries dissolves quickly in the body, which helps to slow the rate at which your body absorbs sugar. This can help reduce blood sugar spikes (highs) in diabetics.
Improved Digestive Health and Weight Management
The fibre in amla berries helps the body regulate bowel movements and may help to relieve conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. High levels of vitamin C in amla berries help the body to absorb other nutrients like iron and other mineral supplements. According to health experts and nutritionists, consuming amla juice helps in improving digestion and builds a strong metabolism. Drinking a glass full of amla juice with a pinch of salt and pepper, helps in improving digestion and keeps you satiated for a longer period of time, which helps in curbing appetite. Apart from that, consuming amla juice before meals help in better absorption of nutrients and work as a natural laxative; this is due to the presence of fibre.
Healthier Eyes and Vision
Amla berries are rich in vitamin A, which is key to improving eye health. The presence of carotene helps in improving eyesight. In fact, daily consumption of amla helps in reducing cataract issues as well as eye pressure. Amla’s vitamin C content aids in eye health by fighting bacteria, which can help to protect your eyes from conjunctivitis (pink eye) and other infections.
Stronger Immune System
One 100 g serving of amla berries (a half cup) provides 300 mg of vitamin C — more than twice the daily recommended value for adults. Amla has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Packed with the goodness of Vitamin C, eating raw amla or amla powder with honey, helps in combating cold, cough and several other seasonal ailments. You can also make a simple homemade kadha (decoction), with basil leaves, honey, ginger and raw amla; this remedy will not only help in strengthening the immune system, but at the same time, help in treating seasonal cold and flu.
Memory and Brain Health
The phytonutrients and antioxidants in amla can benefit memory by fighting against free radicals that can attack and damage brain cells. Amla’s high concentration of Vitamin C helps your body produce norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter believed to improve brain function in people with dementia. Amla berries also include several flavonols or chemicals that have been linked to benefits like improved memory.
Amla is loaded with anti-inflammatory properties that help in healing ulcers, muscle and joint pain caused due to several reasons. Apart from that, drinking amla juice and honey with a pinch of turmeric helps in healing pain.
Natural Blood PurifierThe best way to reap the benefits of amla is by eating it raw. However, you can also consume amla juice or amla powder which is also effective. In fact, a glass of amla juice with a teaspoon of jaggery powder helps in giving your body the much needed dose of vitamin C as well as iron, which improves haemoglobin level and also helps in purifying blood naturally. You can also mix amla powder and honey.
Amla is also very beneficial for hair growth as well as gives one a good skin tone.
Deepti Anil is a public health nutritionist and educator at a leading college in Mumbai for the last 22 years. She is also a qualified yoga teacher and therapist.
Image of amlas by Balu G from Pixabay
Courtesy: Parijna Patrika