Cultivated throughout India and nearby countries, amla has gained a following throughout the world as a "superfruit." It's no surprise — a 100-gram serving of fresh amla berries contains as much vitamin C as 20 oranges.
Amla, also known as Indian gooseberries, grows on a flowering tree of the same name. The small berries are round and bright or yellow-green. Though they are quite sour on their own, their flavor can enhance recipes they’re added to.
While we can't be entirely sure when Ayurvedic healers started using amla berry, historical records tell us they’ve been used in remedies for at least 1,000 years.
Incorporating this ancient superfruit into your diet may improve your overall health.
The antioxidants and vitamins found in amla berries offer several health benefits. High concentrations of vitamin C in amla helps the body recover from illness. Amla berries also include several flavonols, chemicals that have been linked to benefits like improved memory.
Here are some other health benefits of amla:
The soluble fiber in amla berries dissolves quickly in the body, which helps to slow the rate your body absorbs sugar. This can help reduce blood sugar spikes. Amla berries also have a positive effect on blood glucose and lipid counts in people with type 2 diabetes.
The fiber in amla berries helps the body regulate bowel movements and may help to relieve symptoms from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome. High levels of vitamin C in Amla berries helps your body absorb other nutrients, so they may be helpful if you take iron and other mineral supplements.
Amla berries are rich in vitamin A, which is key to improving eye health. Vitamin A not only improves vision, but it also may lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration. 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.
One 100g serving of amla berries (about a half cup) provides 300mg of vitamin C—more than twice the daily recommended value for adults. You'll also find notable amounts of polyphenols, alkaloids, and flavonoids. Amla has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
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.
Nutrients per Serving
A half-cup serving of amla berries contains:
- Calories: 33
- Protein: Less than 1 gram
- Fat: Less than 1 gram
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
Amla berries are also an excellent source of:
Because fresh amla berries are high in fiber and low in sugar, they are an ideal ingredient in nutritious snack and meal recipes.
How to Prepare Amla Berries
Handle amla berries the same way you handle grapes. You'll want to be careful not to burst them if a recipe calls for whole berries — amla berries are a bit fragile.
Amla berries will stay fresh in your refrigerator for about two weeks. They also freeze well.
Here are some ideas for incorporating this tart fruit into your diet:
- Pickle fresh amla fruit as you would cucumbers.
- Use amla berries in chutneys and curries.
- Combine amla with sweeter fruits for a summery fruit salad.
- Juice amla berries with a juicer. Or mash them and soak in water overnight, drain the pulp and seeds, and then drink the juice.
- Make amla berry jam or jelly.