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By Rachael Link, MS, RD
Rich in nutrients and boasting a long list of health benefits, the Indian gooseberry definitely meets the criteria for qualifying as a superfood. In fact, the tree that bears this beloved fruit literally has an entire Hindu holiday dedicated to it.
For most, gooseberries are relatively unknown, virtually indistinguishable from the long list of exotic fruits found around the world.
Gooseberries are set apart, however, by their extensive nutritional benefits and medicinal properties — and they can even be used to make an herbal formulation known as triphala. Studies have shown that these potent fruits can do everything from reduce cholesterol levels to block cancer growth.
With more and more research demonstrating just how powerful this tiny fruit may be, it’s safe to say that incorporating it into your diet just a few times per week can bring big benefits to your health.
What Are Gooseberries?
Also known as Indian gooseberries, amla or their scientific name, Phyllanthus emblica, gooseberries are a fruit native to southeast Asia that grow from deciduous trees.
The Indian gooseberry plants ranges in size from small to medium and produces fruit that is typically round, greenish-yellow and bears six vertical stripes.
The gooseberry taste is often described as sour, strong and bitter. In India, it is often eaten with salt and red chili powder to help enhance palatability of the fruit.
Traditionally, amla has been used as a natural medicine thanks to its impressive nutrient profile and the wide array of health benefits that it has to offer.
- Contains Phytochemicals
- Promotes Liver Health
- Reduces Cholesterol Levels
- Has Anti-Cancer Properties
- Controls Blood Sugar
- Prevents Constipation
- Decreases Inflammation
- Keeps Hair and Skin Healthy
- Enhances Digestive Health
- Supports Cognitive Function
1. Contains Phytochemicals
Gooseberries are high in phytochemicals, plant compounds with antioxidant properties that help fight off harmful free radicals in the body. (1) Free radicals cause oxidative damage to cells and even contribute to the development of chronic disease. (2)
The Indian gooseberry is high in phytochemicals like furosin, gallic acid, corilagin and quercetin, which are largely responsible for the health-promoting properties of gooseberries.
2. Promotes Liver Health
The liver is one of the most important organs in the body. It aids in detoxification, secretes bile to help digest fats and produces important proteins that play a role in many aspects of health.
Some studies have found that gooseberries could help enhance liver function and protect the health of this crucial organ. An animal study in 2013 found that treating diabetic rats with gooseberry extract increased antioxidant levels in the liver. (3)
Another review noted that amla, or gooseberry, has been shown to protect the liver against toxicity and even cancer in some animal studies. (4)
3. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
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