Can Indian gooseberries (amla) be cooked without losing the health benefits?

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I got volume 7  yesterday and plugged it in. Great stuff. Do you know if Amla be used in baked goods without sacrificing the health benefits? Thanks so much for your efforts!

Cherie Perkins / Originally posted on Latest in Nutrition vol. 7 DVD now available (proceeds to charity)

Answer:

Ooh, great question! Indian gooseberries (Phyllanthus emblica, or “amla”) are so astringent (and sour and bitter and fibrous and overall nasty-tasting) that they are typically processed in some way (dried, pickled, or made into jam). So one would expect to find lots of good data on the effects of cooking, but I could find only one single paper. And all they looked at was the decline in vitamin C levels (amla is one of the most concentrated sources–nearly 1% of their weight). After boiling for an hour a 27% drop in vitamin C was noted. As per all the other antioxidant phytonutrients, we simply don’t know.

As I detailed in my video Best Cooking Method, the nutrition of some fruits and vegetables declines with cooking, others remain just as healthful, and a few actually become healthier.

The way my family gets amla into our diet is adding it to our Pink Juice with Green Foam or putting it into our A Better Breakfast smoothies.

Image credit: prashantby / Flickr

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  • Edith

    which herb or fruit (besides blueberry) can be added to a smoothie for a stressful AP student that need some boost in her system

    • Gary

      Specific ayurvedic herbs for “stress” would be gotu kola, bacopa, and jatamamsi.

      • Lightman

        Sir Ayurveda does not work like that one medicine is not prescribed to everybody with similar symptoms. For normal day to day stress I would suggest a high quality multi mineral tablet and 3-4 cups of organic Green tea…If its something serious it would be better to consult an Ayurvedic Doctor ( In india we have 5 year degree courses in Ayurveda which are recognized by the Govt. of India ) , In America a certified Ayurvedic Doctor is difficult to find but please dont go to an Ayurvedic practitioner , these people have second hand knowledge about Ayurveda and that too is very limited. You can however visit a good herbalist , or TCM center.

  • TheDoctor

    I like the taste of Amla. I just eat it raw :) (Probably because I’m indian) haha

  • satya prakash

    Taking a tea spoon of dried amla powder with Luke warm water at 5.0 am on empty stomach is good for health.

  • Eric’s Garden

    I put a TBS of amla powder in my post workout shake with raw cocoa powder, flax powder and a banana… cant even taste the amla. =)

  • Linda

    Is there a reputable producer/brand of Amla without the heavy metals? I’m a little concerned about this issue and unimpressed by the purposeful inclusion of mercury etc. regardless of Ayurvedic tradition. What gives? If any mercury is too much per the Dr.,whom I have a great deal of respect for, then there surely there must be a reliable source for a dietary addition which comes so highly recommended!

    • Lightman

      Its plain ignorant to believe Indian manufactures purposely add mercury to amla….I agree Makardhwaj ( a compound containing mercury) is used in certain cases in Ayurvedic medicine BUT nobody adds makardhwaj to plain amla powder.

  • ellie

    Hi all! I thought that gooseberries are bitter too until I saw this video (below). Although they could come on different varieties. Stay healthy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N40hLFEcaj8

    • MarthaLA

      A search on Wikipedia for ‘Indian Gooseberry’ is redirected to Phyllanthus emblica http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_gooseberry.

      At the top of this article is a link for ‘List of plants known as gooseberry’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_plants_known_as_gooseberry , headed by the statement “Gooseberry most often refers to cultivated plants from two species of the genus Ribes:…” (listing 27 species). This latter article then goes on to list Plants [called gooseberry] unrelated to Ribes, citing seven families.

      The genus Ribes http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribes “includes the edible currants (blackcurrant, redcurrant, white currant), gooseberry, and several hybrid varieties.

      So, Indian gooseberry is from a different genus than the many other plants called gooseberry, not just a different species/variety.

      In the Phyllanthus emblica / Indian Gooseberry article is this description, “The taste of Indian gooseberry is sour, bitter and astringent, and it is quite fibrous. In India, it is common to eat gooseberries steeped in salt water and turmeric to make the sour fruits palatable[citation needed]. It is also used to straighten hair. :-)

  • Dmcdee

    Is Amla safe to consume for nursing mothers and breastfeeding infants?