Dried amla, otherwise known as the Indian gooseberry, is a nutritious powdery food spice that I regularly consume within my smoothies or scatter across my morning cereal. As I describe in the video, Nutrition Flash: Amla (Indian Gooseberry), amla has health benefits making it a worthy food in our pantry.
Benefits of Amla
Dried amla is the highest concentrated natural source of antioxidants, according to a 2010 analysis of over 3,100 food items.
As an advocate for optimal health and longevity, this is a particularly important aspect for me and the primary reason as to why I include amla as a part of my regular diet. Antioxidants help prohibit oxidation within the body, fighting potential damage caused by free radicals and aging.
A single teaspoon of amla can contain more antioxidants than the average individual consumes within a whole week!
While amla should not be considered a sole source of antioxidants within a diet – large amounts of whole plant foods are vital – amla may provide supplemental benefit on top of an already healthy diet.
Antioxidants in the form of artificial supplements have been shown to be detrimental to health, and as such we should always seek to get these beneficial nutrients from foods, not pills. While science is still unclear on the other health aspects of Indian gooseberries (not much has been studied beyond Vitamin C content and overall antioxidants), amla is worth consuming for its antioxidant properties alone.
Antioxidants compared to other berries
As the highest source of antioxidants, dried Indian gooseberries conquer strawberries, blueberries and even goji berries without challenge – 130 times more antioxidants than strawberries, and 30 times more than blueberries.
Ease of obtainment
Ease of obtainment for amla really depends on your location.
Here in Australia, amla is rather easy to come by at most large Indian food stores. In Europe, it’s a little bit more troublesome, but international stores do stock it (at least in Western Europe). In the USA, amla can be purchased at Indian stores in many different varieties, including not only dried, but salted, sweetened or even frozen.
While this isn’t something you’re going to find at your local supermarket, amla isn’t extensively difficult to find (unlike some of the other berry superstars with fewer antioxidants than Indian gooseberries).
Amla also is quite affordable and can work out to be cost effective, as only one teaspoon per day is all that’s required to reap the benefits and a packet is usually no more than a few dollars.
Methods to eat
Usually I mix in a teaspoon of amla powder with my morning banana smoothie. A common mix for me is banana, date, cinnamon and amla. Amla gives the smoothie a bit of a kick and adds a brown tinge – while it is something I actually enjoy, it may not be for everybody.
Other times I’ll sprinkle it on my cereal, and it can also be added to teas.
It’s fairly easy to incorporate into meals, though for best value keep it raw as heat can destroy some unstable antioxidants such as Vitamin C.
Do you know of any other tasty ways to incorporate amla into your meals?