Every year studies come out touting a “super food” that delivers the highest amount of antioxidants compared to everything else. In the past is has been blueberries, red beans, and hibiscus tea but now, after over 3,000 foods were tested, Alma or Gooseberry fruit was shown to have 40 times more antioxidants than blueberries and 20-30 times the vitamin C than oranges.
The small bitter fruit, also know as Amlaki, comes from a tree indigenous to India. In Ayurveda is used for many things such as detoxifying the body, promoting bowel movements and decreasing inflammation. Amla is one part of the most well known Ayurveda formula Triphala, used to tone and cleanse the gastro-intestinal tract.
You may be thinking “yeah, this all sounds good but so what?” The “so what” part is that antioxidants are one of the most important substances in repairing damage to our cells and thereby decreasing our risk of cancer, heart disease, and for those of us who are a bit more vain, wrinkles and age spots.
Every second of every day we are faced with oxidative stress, or damage from free radicals, through breathing, digesting food, exercising and exposure to environmental toxins. Before you start hyperventilating and feeling hopeless rest assured that although oxidative stress is a normal part of living we can slow it down through the foods we eat and lifestyle choices, such as not smoking. Foods highest in antioxidants are plant foods, another reason to limit animal products. A plant strong diet may keep us healthy, extend our life and help us looking younger. Goodbye botox, wrinkles and age spots, hello Amla and plant foods.
I don’t particularly like the sour, bitter taste of amla but some people mask it in a fruit smoothie or swallow it down in a capsule. You can also make a tea with the powdered form, although you may need to add a sweetener if you do. Amla can be found in large Indian grocery stores or better yet, buy it in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs or Banyan Botanicals. If you tend to have IBS with constipation consider trying triphala, a combination of Amla, Haritaki and Vibhitaki.
Wishing you more wrinkle-less days.