In many Ayurvedic preparations, amla is a very common ingredient. Also known as Indian gooseberry and emblic myrobalan, amla is a vibrant green-colored fruit. It features a round to transversely spherical shape and has an excessively succulent, sour, acidic and bitter (astringent) taste.
Amla is rich in the antioxidant vitamin C. It also contains many minerals and vitamins like calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, chromium, and vitamins A and B-complex.
Plus, it is a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition, fresh amla contains more than 80% water, and it is low in calories.
Packed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, amla can definitely keep a number of diseases at bay. You can eat it as a fresh fruit, juice, dried or pickle form to see a huge improvement in your health.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of amla.
1. Promotes Hair Growth
In Ayurvedic medicine, amla is used as a remedy for many hair problems due to its vitamin C content. It helps treat problems like premature graying, dull hair and hair loss. A deficiency of vitamin C can lead to hair loss and hair breakage.
In addition, its carotene and iron content help improve hair health promote hair growth.
- Eat an amla fruit daily or use amla oil to massage your scalp a few times each week to enjoy healthy hair.
- Another good option is to mix equal amounts of amla pulp and lemon juice and use it to massage the scalp and hair thoroughly. Leave it on overnight, then shampoo your hair the next morning. Do this once a week to control hair fall.
2. Improves Eyesight
Amla is also good for improving eyesight. Packed with vitamin C and other antioxidants, amla promotes healthy capillaries and helps maintain proper functioning of retinal cells. This is important for healthy vision. It also reduces reddening, itching and watering of the eyes.
Moreover, due to its carotene content, amla helps improve nearsightedness and cataracts, while reducing intra-ocular tension. In addition, the vitamin A and carotene in it help reduce the risk of macular degeneration and night-blindness among old people.
- Mix 2 teaspoons of amla juice in ½ cup of water. Optionally, add some honey. Drink it every morning to strengthen your vision.
- You can also consume a sweetened preserve called amla murabba.
3. Aids Diabetes Management
Amla helps in the treatment of diabetes or high blood sugar. Being rich in chromium, it helps regulate the carbohydrate metabolism and makes the body more responsive to insulin. This in turn reduces blood glucose levels.
According to a study published in a 2005 edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food, amla improves glucose metabolism in people suffering from diabetes.
Moreover, its vitamin C content promotes proper functioning of the pancreas to regulate glucose in the blood and decrease the albumin levels in the body.
- Mix 1 or 2 teaspoons of amla powder or juice in a glass of water.
- Drink it daily on an empty stomach to control diabetes and manage its complications.
4. Benefits Cognitive Health
This fruit also plays a key role in improving memory and cognitive functions. Being rich in vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants, amla nourishes the brain and mental functioning. It is a good brain and nerve tonic and aids in improving the body’s central nervous system.
A 2007 study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior found that it has memory improving property. In addition, it is helpful in the management of Alzheimer’s disease.
To boost brainpower, take 1 to 3 teaspoons of amla powder twice daily.
5. Boosts Immunity
Amla can also boost your immunity. Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, protects the body against damaging free radicals that potentially lead to everything from common infections like the flu to cancer and other diseases.
In addition, amla helps increase the white blood cell count, which is the immune system’s main line of defense. It also helps improve appetite.
- Add ¼ cup of amla juice to ½ cup of warm water and drink it once daily.
- Also, include fresh amla in your diet.
6. Slows Down Aging
To delay the signs of aging, start including amla in your diet as well as cosmetic uses. Due to the high concentration of antioxidants, amla reduces the amount of free radicals in the body. This in turn helps prevent premature aging signs like wrinkles, age spots and fine lines.
In addition, amla is rich in vitamin A, essential for collagen production to maintain the skin’s elasticity and keep it looking young.
Moreover, it strengthens the liver and helps flush toxins out of the body. This is important to enjoy healthy and glowing skin.
- Include amla fruit or juice in your regular diet.
- Mix a little amla juice in your body oil and apply it as body lotion to prevent dryness as well as diseases like eczema and psoriasis.
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of amla powder and fuller’s earth, also called multani mitti, with enough rose water to make a paste. Apply it on your face, allow it to dry completely and then rinse it with lukewarm water. Use this face mask once a week.
7. Reduces Cholesterol
Regular intake of amla can helps decrease the total serum cholesterol levels. This is due to its pectin content, which inhibits platelet aggregation and reduces total cholesterol levels.
A reduction in low-density lipoproteins (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) and triglycerides, and a considerable increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) levels help improve overall cardiovascular health.
Amla contains potent antioxidants like vitamin C and amino acids, which also help in balancing the cholesterol levels.
To reduce cholesterol, eat 1 to 2 amla fruits daily.
8. Protects Your Heart
Alma plays a key role in strengthening the heart muscles so it pumps blood smoothly throughout the body. The iron content promotes production of new red blood cells, improves circulation, and keeps the arteries clean. This in turn reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
A 2012 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that amla produces significant hypolipidemic effect, along with a reduction in blood pressure. Thus, it can offer significant protection against atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of amla powder in a glass of warm water.
- Drink it daily in the morning on an empty stomach to improve cardiovascular health.
9. Backents Urinary Problems
Alma is also good for the renal system. Being diuretic in nature, it increases the frequency and volume of urination. This helps flush out toxins through the urinary system without over-stimulating it.
The vitamin C in amla inhibits the growth of bacteria and thus helps in the treatment of urinary problems like UTIs (urinary tract infections).
- To treat bladder infections, prepare a solution by mixing 1 teaspoon each of amla powder and turmeric powder in a cup of water.
- Boil the solution until it reduces by half, then allow it to cool.
- Drink it 3 times a day for a week.
10. Supports Oral Health
The vitamin C and other nutrients in amla are good for your oral health. They combat bacteria and fight infections, which helps prevent tooth decay and cavities.
It also supports the healing and development of gum tissues, when taken internally. Additionally, it cleans the mouth of harmful bacteria that cause bad breath.
Thoroughly chew the pieces of fresh amla fruit daily. You can also take amla powder or juice daily to enjoy strong teeth and gums for years.