Almost all Indians would have heard about Amla, the Indian gooseberry. It is a small pebble sized round fruit, known for its sour, tangy taste, and a great favorite among the young and the old alike. More importantly, it is a highly medicinal one and in many Indian households, Amla based home remedies are common for most ordinary ailments.
Amla has been long used in Ayurvedic preparations, because of its high anti-oxidant properties. It is, actually, 80% water and filled with Vitamins A and C, that are essential for good health. Besides, it also has protein, and fiber and minerals like Iron, Calcium, Potassium, and Magnesium.
With Vitamin C in abundance, Amla helps in retinal health and helps in ensuring that the eyes function properly. It helps in this by promoting healthy capillaries. Where senior citizens are concerned, night blindness is an issue; the Vitamin A and carotene present in Amla helps prevent this as well. Night blindness is a result of macular (age-related) degeneration, and Amla helps reduce this risk, thereby helping in the cause.
Amla helps in the cause of diabetes management, another common need among the senior citizens in India, it being called the Diabetes Capital. A published study on this topic confirms that Amla helps improve glucose metabolism, which allows people who have diabetes. This could be because Amla is rich in chromium, and that helps in regulating carbohydrate metabolism. It also helps rectify the insulin sensitivity, which in turn, helps regulate the blood glucose levels in the body.
One of the leading causes of hair loss is the deficiency of certain nutrients in the body. Since Amla comes loaded with many nutrients, Ayurveda recommends Amla consumption and Amla based preparations for fighting hair loss. It also helps in other hair related issues like premature greying, and dull hair.
Prevents Cognitive Decline
One other big issue for senior citizens is the cognitive decline and a possible set-in of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Research suggests that Amla consumption can help prevent cognitive decline. Amla facilitates proper blood flow in the body, and this helps in nerve health. Regular use of Amla protects the body from free radicals that cause diseases like Alzheimer’s. The rather high iron content in Amla also prevents brain degeneration through the facilitation of oxygen transportation. Hence, Amla helps improve memory, concentration and also helps prevent cognitive decline.
Helps Reduce Aging Effects
We know that free radicals are also the cause of many aging effects seen in our body. Since Amla helps free the body from free radicals, it also ensures that the effects of aging seen in our bodies, like wrinkles, age lines, and spots are moderated to some extent. Also, Vitamin A in Amla, aids in the collagen production, which helps maintain the elasticity of the skin, making it look youthful for a longer time.
Good for Heart Health
It is pectin that helps in the reduction of cholesterol levels in the body and Amla is rich in it. Plus, the iron-rich Amla also helps in the production of red blood cells, which promotes healthy circulation. These qualities help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, making Amla a desirable food for seniors.
A Natural Diuretic
Many seniors, especially those with diabetes are also put on diuretics, to ensure that they keep passing urine, just so that there is no bacteria growth or risk of UTIs. Amla is, a natural diuretic, albeit a mild one.
Many of the properties mentioned above like ridding the body of free radicals, antioxidants, reducing cell degeneration, etc. are a clear indication that Amla can also act as an anticancer agent. Another reason for this is that Amla is also anti-inflammatory, which is again good for fighting cancer.
Amla may be consumed in many forms – Fresh, dried or salted. It can also be pickled, or made into dishes like murabba, or powdered or blended into a juice. Amla preparations are easily available in many Ayurvedic forms.
Note: However, it is best to check with your doctor, if it could trouble you in any way, before starting to consume any of those preparations. Especially the diabetes management and diuretic properties of Amla may cause issues with the medicines given for those purposes.