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.
The sour and pungent fruit of amla is extremely high in vitamin C, iron and calcium and hence is wonderful for skin, hair and overall health.
Gooseberry Benefits in a Nutshell:
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
In addition to supporting the health of your liver, some studies have found that gooseberry benefits the health of your heart as well. Research shows that gooseberry could help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, preventing the buildup of plaque and decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.
A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition supplemented men 35–55 years old with Indian gooseberry for 28 days and found that they had significant decreases in cholesterol levels. Interestingly enough, two weeks after stopping supplementation, their cholesterol levels had risen back up to normal. (5)
Another study in 2012 published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology found that treating patients with gooseberry decreased levels of triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol, increased levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol, and reduced blood pressure. (6)
4. Has Anti-Cancer Properties
One of the most impressive benefits of the gooseberry is its effect on cancer cells and ability to potentially prevent cancer. (7) A 2005 animal study conducted at the University of Rajasthan in India showed that treating mice with a concentrated dose of gooseberry extract decreased skin cancer tumor formation by 60 percent. (8)
Another test-tube study from Thailand showed that gooseberry helped inhibit the growth of human lung, liver, breast, ovarian, cervical and colorectal cancer cells. (9)
Additionally, gooseberries are also high in phytochemicals and antioxidants. These compounds help neutralize harmful free radicals and may be linked to a decreased risk of cancer. (10)
5. Controls Blood Sugar
Studies show that gooseberries may be able to help you maintain normal blood sugar levels thanks to their high fiber and antioxidant content.
Fiber slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream and can help prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Gooseberries have also been shown to prevent high blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes complications like kidney damage or nerve damage as a result of uncontrolled blood sugar levels. (12)
6. Prevents Constipation
Gooseberries have a natural laxative effect and can help encourage regular bowel movements and prevent constipation. This is because they are high in fiber, which moves slowly through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, adding bulk to stool and easing its passage.
Studies show that increasing fiber intake from foods like gooseberry can help increase stool frequency. (13) Other natural constipation relief remedies include staying well-hydrated, minimizing your intake of highly processed foods, and eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts
7. Decreases Inflammation
While inflammation can be beneficial and is a normal immune response to injury, chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases and has been linked to conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. (14)
Research has found that Indian gooseberry can help reduce inflammation. A test-tube study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that amla extract decreased the levels of pro-inflammatory markers in human cells. (15)
The antioxidants found in amla may also help reduce inflammation by neutralizing free radicals and preventing oxidative damage to cells. (16)
8. Keeps Hair and Skin Healthy
Whether you realize it or not, some of the products you use on your hair and skin may already contain Indian gooseberry. For centuries, gooseberries have been used to improve the health of skin and hair, and now several recent studies have confirmed these powerful benefits.
One study out of Japan, for instance, found that amla extract helped increased production of collagen, the protein that is responsible for providing youthfulness and elasticity to the skin. (17) Another animal study out of the Gill Heart Institute’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Kentucky found that Indian gooseberry extract helped speed up wound healing in rats. (18)
In terms of hair health, one animal study even found that applying amla oil to rabbit fur significantly increased growth. (19) Additionally, gooseberry is high in vitamin E, a nutrient that has been shown to protect the skin and enhance hair growth. (20, 21)
9. Enhances Digestive Health
Some studies have shown that gooseberries contain gastroprotective effects and may help keep your digestive system working efficiently while preventing problems like gastric ulcers.
An animal study in Phytomedicine reported that giving rats amla extract blocked the development of stomach lesions, decreased gastric secretions and protected against injury to the lining of the stomach. (22) Another animal study had similar findings and noted that giving rats amla extract helped heal and protect against stomach ulcers. (23)
Gooseberry is also high in fiber, which can promote regularity and get things moving to prevent issues like constipation.
10. Supports Cognitive Function
Research has unearthed some surprising findings when it comes to the effects of Indian gooseberry on brain function.
A 2016 study, for instance, found that treating rats with gooseberry extract increased memory retention and antioxidant levels and also decreased levels of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (24)
Another study combined gooseberry with heart-leaved moonseed and found that it improved measures of learning and memory in rats. (25)
If you are allergic to Indian gooseberry or experience any negative side effects after consuming it, you should discontinue use immediately and consult with your doctor.
Indian gooseberry might also increase the risk of bleeding or bruising. Those with bleeding disorders should use caution when consuming gooseberry. Additionally, be sure to stop taking it at least two weeks prior to surgery to prevent an increased risk of bleeding.
If you have diabetes, gooseberry may decrease blood sugar levels. If taking gooseberry, talk to your doctor to see if you might need to have your dosage of diabetes medications adjusted.
Finally, there is limited research on the effects of amla on those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Exercise caution and use only in moderation to prevent negative side effects.
For the most part, however, Indian gooseberry is safe to consume with minimal risk of adverse symptoms. If you do experience any side effects, however, be sure to report them to your health care practitioner.
A REVIEW of a number of studies has found women who ate high levels of processed meat were more likely to develop cancer, when compared to those who ate small amounts.
Previous findings from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have concluded that processed meats can cause cancer and, as such, this study supported previous findings. The new study mentions that those eating excessive levels of processed meat are nine per cent more likely to develop cancer in the future.
The dataset included over a million women, and despite showing a link between the food and cancer, it may not be clear whether it is the food that is causing the development of cancer. Counter arguments include the fact that each of the 15 studies used had different definitions of a "high consumption" of meat. Some studies defined it as around nine grams a day, whereas in other studies this value was much higher.
Each study followed women and what they ate, and identified whether they developed cancer. It is not clear whether or not the risk of breast cancer could be due to other factors - such as being more or less healthy in other ways.
The authors stress that the results apply to processed and not red meat. Processed meat as classified by the WHO includes sausages, bacon, corned beef, ham, beef jerky, hot dogs and salami. These meats have been modified to extend shelf life, or to change the taste by curing, smoking or adding salt and preservative to the meat.
~ The study was published in the International Journal of Cancer.
Broccoli lowers the risk of cancer, primarily cancer of the colon, esophagus, larynx, lung, prostrate, oral cavity, pharynx, and stomach.
Experiments using broccoli reveal the sulforaphane it contains to be the most powerful natural chemical for stopping the growth of tumours. It is high in cancer antidotes like indoles, glucosinolates, and dithiolthiones. It also contains carotenoids (vitamin A).
It blocks cell mutations which foreshadow cancer, possibly due to the abundance of chlorophyll. A study by Dr. Saxon Graham, Buffalo, NY, found that people who ate more broccoli, cabbage, and brussels sprouts had a lower risk of colon and rectal cancer.
Experiments in the 1950's discovered broccoli helped protect guinea pigs from lethal doses of radiation. Cabbage also worked but broccoli was found to be more effective. They also found that women who ate more broccoli were less prone to cancer of the cervix. It is believed that green vegetables, along with dark orange vegetables act as antidotes to the cancer process that continues for years after exposure to carcinogens.
Always buy green broccoli to ensure freshness, never when it is yellow. Steam broccoli lightly to keep its nutrients intact. As soon as it turns a bright green - it's ready !
Eating both cooked tomatoes and broccoli have been shown to help prevent cancer, especially prostate cancer. Research suggests that eating tomatoes and broccoli together has even more potent health effects.
Trying New Food: Many a parent wonders just how one teaches a child to love anything that is good and healthy. Ironically, it seems that most foods that are good for us are the very ones we must acquire a taste for before we learn to enjoy them. For example, I believe that brown rice is good for my children, so I decided to teach my children to like brown rice.
Solution: At our house, if you don't like a particular food, you don't have to eatr it. However, if you choose to not eat what is served, you will not get anything else until the next meal. No snacks and no whining about being hungry are allowed. This basic rule takes a lot of the pressure out of making kids eat what is cooked.
When I started serving brown rice, the kids wouldn't eat it. So, for weeks we had brown rice, the kids couldn't snack between meals. Finally, they broke down and decided to try it. Now, they like the taste, and they're open to trying almost any new food.
Does Not Like It - Not One Little Bit: My son Micah refuses to eat canned tuna. Otherwise, he is a happy, healthy eater. He enjoys fresh fruits and vegetables, including raw carrots, and eats most everything his family eats.
Situation: Since Micah is a very good eater, in general, and not picky with anything else, we allowed him to avoid eating tuna. As long as it doesn't become a game of manipulation, it is perfectly okay with me for a child to dislike a few foods.
Picky Eater: Brian was five years old when his mother brought him to visit. He would only eat French fries, noodles, and sweets. When I talked to his mom about it, she said, "Oh, he is a very picky eater, but so am I. Any other kind of food he just plays with". As a curious mother, she wanted to know what else she could do about Brian's picky eating habits.
Solution: I told her to set new boundaries. Say something like, "You have to eat what is served, or you will not get anything else until the next meal." Start with a mixture of food that includes one of his favourites. If eats what's served, really praise him. Most likely he will test the rules and only eat the foods he likes, so he'll go hungry for a couple of days. Stick to your rules and only serve food at the table. No snacks ! As long as it's his choice, once he gets hungry enough, he'll try some of the healthier foods. Then, slowly start to change the menu to healthier choice.
Note: This approach only works if everyone else in the child's environment is playing the same game.
Excerpt: Parenting Rule #1: Mom Has Fun ! A Guide to Responsive Parenting -- by Nicole MacKenzie
Your metabolism involves a complex network of hormones and enzymes that not only convert food into fuel but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel. Basically the process of metabolism establishes the rate at which we burn our calories and, ultimately, how quickly we gain weight or how easily we lose it.
What you eat, how you eat it, the type of exercise you do and even how you sleep can all impact your metabolism. So if you feel like your metabolism is running at a super slow speed, here are 5 tricks that’ll rev up your body’s motor and reverse the numbers on the scale.
1. Get Enough Sleep! Researchers have found that not getting enough sleep seriously slows down your metabolism.
2. Green Tea: has become a popular beverage known for its high antioxidant content. New evidence shows the active ingredient, catechin may speed up metabolism. Those who drunk at least a litre of green tea, burnt 90 calories a day. It is naturally calorie-free so make sure you enjoy a couple of mugs a day !
3. High Intensity Interval Training: such as interval runs or sprint swimming laps are quick intense exercises that can jumpstart metabolism and keep us burning calories long after the workout is over.
4. Don’t Skip Breakfast. It has been shown, over and over again how important it is to start the day with a healthy meal. Having breakfast quick-starts the metabolism. If you are not hungry, snack on some fruit, and then have a bowl of muesli or some eggs later on in the morning when you start feeling hungry.
5. Weight Lifting: Lifting weights can also help speed your resting metabolic rate, making those dumbbells our new best friends.
6. Drink Plenty of Water: Drinking enough water is a simple way to speed up digestion and burn calories.
7. Spice Things Up: Adding ginger, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper to your meals will give them a fiery kick but also help boost your metabolism.
8. Bicycle Workout: 45 minutes worth of cycling was found to speed up metabolic rate for over 12 hours. So hop on that bike, it’s worth it !
9. Add in Fat Burning Foods: Certain foods like tuna, eggs, grapefruit, celery, lean chicken, oats, brown rice and chili peppers spike the metabolism, trigger hormones that release fat, and eliminate toxins that make it hard for your body to shed unwanted pounds.
10. Coffee: All you coffee drinkers will be thrilled reading this part. A cup of coffee or more so the caffeine in it, speeds up the heart rate and provides a metabolic boost that peaks three hours after drinking it. Just make sure to have organic coffee as this plant is one of the most herbicide and pesticide sprayed plants on the market.
11. Laugh, Laugh and Laugh ! Just 10 minutes of laughter a day can burn energy. So keep smiling and laughing !
Are you looking for ways to keep your family healthy this summer? Making healthy food choices is the first step in maintaining overall health and wellness. Studies show that a healthy diet reduces the risk of disease, obesity, and other health issues. Help your family stick to wholesome meals and snacks this summer by using these simple tips.
Spend Time Cooking Together
Healthy eating is a great way to keep your family in shape. Choosing to eat healthfully can also have positive benefits for your mental health; how we choose to eat, love, and deal with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness impacts our mental health. One of the easiest ways to ensure your food is healthy is to prepare it yourself. Plan out some summer cooking sessions with your family to create nutritious meals together. You can pick up specialty kitchen tools for little ones and even find recipes that are easier for kids to tackle. Teaching your kids to cook is a great way to help them stay healthy now and as adults.
Scan Farmers Markets for Fresh Finds
For a fun way to find fresh, healthy foods, spend your weekends visiting some local farmers markets. By buying produce, baked goods, and other staples at farmers markets, you will help support your local economy as well as find some unique foods. To get kids in on the action, try creating some games for them to play at the market. Come up with a scavenger hunt to look for unusually shaped produce or herbs that are new to your household. Use these items to create tasty dishes that will help keep your family healthy.
Use Meal Prep to Stay on Track
Summer doesn’t always mean your schedule gets more relaxed. In fact, with all the road trips, holidays, and events, summers can be busier than any other time of year. One way you can keep your busy family on track with food is to meal prep. Most people find it helpful to set aside a few hours one day a week (typically Sunday) to put together all of their meals and snacks for the rest of the week. This keeps your fridge and pantry stocked with ready-to-go, good-for-you options that help everyone stay healthy when schedules get packed.
Grow Healthy Food Yourself
If you want to keep kids busy, learning, and eating healthy this summer, why not start a family garden? Using raised beds or containers, you can easily grow healthy food in your backyard or on your porch. Kids can help plant seeds, care for the garden, and harvest items when they are ready. Growing a garden can be a good stress reliever for kids and adults alike while helping children learn about the science of growing food.
Bring Your Own Food on Trips
Summer vacations and road trips typically leave your family eating tons of fast food. But you can put a stop to these unhealthy eating habits by packing your own meals and snacks. Bring a cooler full of simple travel-friendly foods to avoid depending on drive-throughs and diners during your trip. If you’ll be flying to your summer destinations, stashing food in your carry-on bag can save you from all the salt and sugar (and overpriced options) lurking in airports. Check TSA rules for what you can bring and be prepared to take food out during screenings.
Pay Attention to Hydration
As the temperatures rise, it’s more important than ever to make sure your family is staying hydrated. Dehydration can cause cramping, headaches, and even hunger for your family members. So pick up some reusable water bottles for you and the kids and keep them filled so you can drink throughout the day. Avoid sports drinks and juices, which seem healthy but can actually contain a day’s worth of sugar in a single serving.
Helping your family make healthy food choices doesn’t have to cause stress this summer. Some simple planning and a bit of creativity are all it takes to keep your family healthy, happy, and having fun all summer long.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Healthy eating is linked to kid's happiness
In a study published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, it was found that in young children aged between two to nine years there is an association between following healthy dietary guidelines and better psychological well-being, which includes fewer emotional problems, better relationships with other children and higher self-esteem, two years later.
The study definitely suggest that a healthy diet can improve well-being in children.
This study examined 7,675 children two to nine years of age from eight European countries -- Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
Sometimes you simply get too busy to prepare and eat a healthy meal. Having some healthy snacks on hand can be useful when this happens.
Here are 17 healthy and weight loss friendly snacks to add to your diet.
1. Green Superfood Smoothie
Smoothies are an excellent way of adding in nutrient dense food to your daily regime. Add a banana a handful of greens and a teaspoon of your favourite green superfood, such as moringa and spirulina or wheatgrass powder !
2. Mixed Nuts
Nuts are an ideal nutritious snack. They have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and may help prevent cancers and other diseases. They contain about 180 calories in a 28gram serving, on average.
3. Red Bell Pepper with Guacamole
Red peppers are extremely healthy ! Pair it up with 85grams of guacamole which adds healthy fats and fiber while keeping this snack’s calorie count under 200.
4. Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries
Plain Greek yogurt or goat’s / sheep’s yogurt and berries make a delicious, nutrient dense snack. Combine 100grams of yogurt with a half cup of berries – provides about 10grams of protein and is less than 150 calories.
5. Apple Slices with Peanut Butter
Apple and peanut butter are a great duo. A medium apple with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter provides a nice balance of sweet flavor with crisp and creamy textures at under 200 calories.
6. Cottage Cheese with Flaxseeds and Cinnamon
Cottage cheese, ground flaxseeds and cinnamon each have impressive health benefits on their own. Together, they’re a super-healthy snack.
Here’s an easy recipe that combines all three ingredients to provide about 15 grams of protein with less than 150 calories:
Cinnamon Flaxseed Pudding
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Stevia or other sweetener, if desired.
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
7. Celery Sticks with Humus
Celery sticks with humus are a classic low-carb snack.
Five small celery sticks with 60grams of humus contain less than 200 calories.
8. Kale Chips
Kale is unbelievably healthy. It’s loaded with fiber and antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. A 1-cup serving of raw kale provides more than 100% of the RDI for vitamins A, C and K. This easy recipe for kale chips provides about 150 calories:
1 cup bite-sized kale leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place kale pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350° F (175° C) for 10–15 minutes.
9. Dark Chocolate and Almonds
Dark chocolate and almonds make for a rich and satisfying snack especially when you’ve got a chocolate craving to satisfy. Both dark chocolate and almonds are high in magnesium. 30 grams of each provides about 300 calories in total, depending on cocoa content.
10. Cucumber Slices with Tahini or Hummus
Cucumber and tahini or hummus are nutritious and go well together.
One cup of sliced cucumbers dipped in 100 grams of tahini or hummus has about 180 calories.
11. A Piece of Fruit
Healthy snacks don’t need to be complicated. Just a single piece of fruit can be incredibly satisfying. Easy to carry fruits are bananas, oranges, mandarins, apples, pears and grapefruits.
12. Cherry Tomatoes with Mozzarella
Dedicated to cheese lovers tomatoes and mozzarella cheese are a flavor match made in heaven, and they’re healthy too. One cup of cherry tomatoes paired with 60 grams of mozzarella cheese has less than 200 calories.
13. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seeds are loaded with fiber and omega-3’s. Chia seed pudding is one great example, and makes a satisfying snack at less than 200 calories:
Chia Seed Pudding
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon peanut butter
Stevia or other sweetener, if desired. Combine chia seeds and water in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Stir in cocoa powder, peanut butter and sweetener.
14. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are one of the healthiest and most weight-loss friendly foods you can eat. Two large, hard-boiled eggs contain about 140 calories and 13 grams of protein.
15. Canned Salmon or Sardines
Canned fish is a fantastic healthy snack that requires no refrigeration. Fish is a great source of weight loss friendly protein, potassium, vitamin B12 and magnesium. A 100 grams serving of salmon or sardines contains 17–23 grams of protein and 130–180 calories.
Edamame is a dish of steamed unripened soybeans. One cup of edamame has around 17 grams of protein and 180 calories.
Olives are one of the nutritious staples of the Mediterranean diet. Depending on their size, 25 green or black olives contain about 100–175 calories.
18. Spicy Avocado
Avocados are among the most nutritious and satisfying foods on the planet. Sprinkle half a medium avocado with salt and a dash of cayenne pepper for a savory, filling snack with around 130 calories.
Sometimes you just really need a quick, easy and nutritious snack. Having some healthy and nutritious options close by can help you avoid unhealthy and fattening alternatives.
In a recent study, brown rice led to significantly more weight loss, more waist loss, and better blood pressures. Brown rice also preserves artery function whereas high blood sugars as in white rice stiffens our arteries.
Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !