By Naini Setalvad February 2010 Amla provides much more than the high Vitamin C content for which it is known Nutritionalimmunology is a fascinating subject. The effect of food on our health is amazing. The western world’s capacity for research and documentation is a great help to all who study nutrition. Berries are the next super food according to research. It feels good to read this. India, a land of ancient knowledge, has always known this and has given the homegrown amla (Indian gooseberry) pride of place in its nutritional arsenal. Amla is a part of every Indian home. Amla pickle, salted dried amla, amla juice, or even just amla with haldi marinated in salt and lime – the combinations are endless. Several patients have asked me if amla is harmful in the diet. An emphatic no to that! Amla, an immunity booster, is the best natural source of vitamin C. Besides being easily absorbable in the body, it also aids in digesting food better, as vitamin C enhances food absorption. Amla’s vitamin C content helps assimilate minerals like iron. It is ideal for people who are anaemic. Being a natural immunity booster, i t helps to fight infections and keep illness at bay. Use it in any way that appeals to you – salted, marinated in lemon juice, sweetened or plain. Benefits • Improves eyesight, as it is a strong anti-oxidant • Its natural light greenish yellow colour contains phyto chemicals that prevent eye degeneration • Strengthens the body’s nervous system, lung, and respiratory system and improves muscle tone • Strengthens the liver by ridding the body of harmful toxins • Strengthens teeth and nails • Reduces blood sugar, thus is good for diabetics • Lowers cholesterol levels and strengthens heart muscles • Useful in treating diarrhoea and dysentery • Promotes hair growth and hair pigmentation • Strengthens hair roots, gives shine, and prevents premature greying • Improves appetite, increases immunity, balances stomach acids and boosts metabolism • Being antibacterial and astringent, it protects against skin infections • Purifies and cleans blood thus good for skin. Increases red blood cell production • Excellent anti-oxidant and anti-ageing food • Useful for fever, anaemia, indigestion, urinary problems, respiratory problems, and cerebral, gastro, and cardiovascular illnesses • Gentle laxative thus helps cure constipation • Acts as a body coolant • A superfood according to ayurveda because it is suitable for all three doshas, vata, pitta and kapha and because it contains all the flavours within itself: sweet, sour, astringent and bitter. Naini Setalvad is a nutritionist specialising in lifestyle and immunity disorders. Her foundation, Health For You, throws light on healthy food habits. Contact: email@example.com
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