It has eight times more vitamin C than an orange, twice the antioxidant power of acai berry and around 17 times that of a pomegranate. The humble Indian gooseberry, commonly known as amla, truly deserves its superfood status.
The translucent green fruit, which derives its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Amlaki’ meaning “nectar of life”, can protect us against countless ailments, be it the common cold, cancer or infertility. Ayurveda doctors claim that amla can help balance the three doshas (Kapha/vista/pitta) in the body and eliminate the underlying cause of many diseases.
If you are not already convinced, read this long list of amla’s health benefits and you would know why you should indulge in this sour treat daily.
It helps fight the common cold
The vitamin C in amla is absorbed more easily by the body compared to store-bought supplements. Mix two teaspoons of amla powder with two teaspoons of honey and have it three to four times a day for instant relief when you have a cold or a cough, or consume once daily for permanent protection.
It improves eyesight
Studies have showed that the carotene in amla improves vision. Daily consumption has also been linked to improvement in overall eye health as amla can reduce cataract problem, intraocular tension (the pressure you feel) as well as prevent reddening, itching and watering of eyes.
It burns fat
This is the least talked-about yet most exciting benefit of amla. A protein present in amla helps prevent cravings. Regular consumers say drinking a glass of amla juice before a meal fills them up and make them eat less. Nutritionists say amla boosts metabolism too, making one shed weight faster. Amla has a high fibre content and acids like tannic which help relieve constipation and make you look less bloated.
It builds immunity
Amla’s antibacterial and astringent properties boost one’s immune system. A significant number of health problems including cancer are caused by oxidative damage –when body cells use oxygen, they leave harmful by-products called free radicals behind. Considering amla is a potent antioxidant agent, it can prevent and repair the damage.
It beautifies hair
Amla, like curry leaves, is a proven tonic for hair. It slows down graying, prevents dandruff, strengthens hair follicles and increases blood circulation to the scalp thereby improving hair growth. Amla also acts as a natural conditioner giving you soft shimmering locks. You could apply amla oil or mix amla powder into henna for a hair pack.
It improves skin
Amla is the best anti-ageing fruit. Drinking amla juice with honey every morning can give you blemish-free, healthy and glowing skin.
It helps manage chronic conditions
Amla is loaded with chromium which aids in reducing bad cholesterol and also helps stimulate insulin production, thereby reducing the blood glucose level of diabetics. Drinking amla juice early every morning or when one’s blood pressure is raised helps keep the blood pressure level under control, too.
It relieves pain
Be it arthritis-related joint aches or painful mouth ulcers, amla can provide relief owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. For ulcers, you simply need to dilute amla juice in half cup of water and gargle with it.
How to use amla
Drinking the juice of fresh amla is the best way to reap the benefits of this fruit. Amla is easily available from December through April. However, if you can’t handle the sour shot, try these tasty options:
Deseed and chop amla into small pieces. Mix with a little salt and leave to dry in sunlight for a few days. Once it is completely dehydrated, store in a dry jar for an ideal on-the-go snack.