How to Take Amla for Better Health
Amla fruit, also known as Indian gooseberry or amalaki, is a powerful and rejuvenating superfood for better health and more energy. This page will look at how to take amla, how much to have and the best times and dosage.
How to Eat Fresh Alma Fruit and What Does It Taste Like?
Fresh amla fruit has an interesting flavor. I’d already been using the powdered version for a while when I found some in an Indian grocery store and bought a bag.
Cutting open the first amla the taste is quite sour and tart and my initial thought was that I might struggle to eat them all. I’d read though about a couple of tricks to try when eating amla.
The first was to taste a little salt before you bite into them. I tried this with a little Himalayan pink salt and it definitely improves the flavor. There was much more depth, less sourness and more of a combination of flavors, but hard to describe.
The next was to have a sip of water with it. Even stranger. The taste of the amla was suddenly sharply sweet.
I had a few more of these of these Indian gooseberries for the novelty value, but ended up using the rest of them, one a day, in both freshly made juice with amla and a delicious smoothie recipe I’ll share ahead.
If you do live near an Indian grocer who can get amla fresh and want to try some unique and unusual flavors then this would be the best way to have them. Just a single fruit a day can have some amazing health benefits.
If not, powdered amla is inexpensive, easy to use and full to bursting with antioxidants. It’s a mainstay of my daily health regime.
Amla Uses – 6 Different Ways to Take Amalaki
1. Fresh Amla Fruit
Fresh is great if you can get it, even occasionally. Some Indian specialty grocers online have weekly deliveries from India and will send out orders the same day. If you live near an Indian market they may also sell them. Look for firm fruit as apparently the older ones can shrivel a little.
Not all of us have access to fresh amalaki fruit though, so let’s look at some other options to get the benefits of amla into your diet.
2. Amla Juice
Amla juice is popular in India, but unfortunately most of the commercial products have added sugar or, even worse, glucose syrup. It’s fairly pointless to pay for a health food that is full of sugar in my opinion. The preservative sodium benzoate is also often used, which is best avoided where possible.
Local Indian grocers may stock a good version of amla juice, but based on what I’ve found online, I wouldn’t currently recommend it. If anyone does know of a high quality, reasonably priced source of amla juice please share it in the comments below.
3. Amla Candy
Obviously if supermarket amla juice is full of sugar then amla candy will be even worse. In fact, it’s even more likely to be made with glucose syrup, an ingredient strongly linked to diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
It’s a common trick of food manufacturers to use a small amount of something healthy, while simultaneously adding lots of very unhealthy ingredients like sugar syrup. Amla candy looks to me to be a classic case of this kind of deceptive marketing.
If you can’t get the fresh fruit, I’d strongly suggest using the powdered fruit or these high potency capsules available for $4 international delivery. Amla candy is unlikely to do anything positive for your health.
If you really do want to have it then try something like this homemade amla candy recipe which looks healthier than anything you’d find in a packet.
4. Amla Chutney
Amla chutney is an interesting way to get the health benefits of amla into your diet. The chutney can add a spicy kick to steamed vegetables and rice and should be available from specialist Indian stores. Once again though, if your health is more important than the taste, try to avoid brands with excessive sugar, salt, preservatives or flavor enhancers.
If you do have access to fresh Indian gooseberries, here’s a simple recipe for amla chutney:
- Take 300 grams of amla fruit, 200 grams of cilantro, 50 grams of green chilies, a small piece of ginger and sea salt to taste.
- Blend them all up well in a good food processor.
- Store in a jar and cover with olive oil or avocado oil to prevent oxidization. It should keep for at least a month in the fridge.
5. Powdered Amla
Whole fruit amla powder like this organic version is, in my opinion, the best and most inexpensive option for adding Indian gooseberries to your daily diet.
Due to amla’s positive effects on your digestion, some practitioners recommend taking a small amount of it before each meal. Personally, I find I really feel it first thing in the morning and mostly use it then, often in the afternoon before gym as well.
Suggested dosage for amla powder is 1 teaspoon, or around 4 grams. While there are no commonly reported side effects of amla, as with any new health supplement it’s best to begin slowly and see how your body tolerates it.
You could start with just a quarter of a teaspoon, approximately 1 gram, building up to half a teaspoon or 2 grams over the course of week. If this is well tolerated, the following week you could increase your amla dosage to a maintenance dose of 4 grams.
I’ve read of some Ayurvedic practitioners recommending taking a teaspoon of powdered amla after each meal to help treat digestive problems and acidity in the body. This would likely be a temporary dosage though and it would be advisable to seek the advice of someone knowledgeable in Ayurveda if you intend to use it in these larger amounts.
Some sites recommend taking amla powder with a teaspoon of sugar or honey. Once again, that seems like unneeded sugars when so many of us are already overloaded with stuff (antibacterial manuka honey with all of its beneficial properties could be a good exception).
While the powder isn’t sweet, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be mixed up in a small glass of water, perhaps with some fresh lemon juice for cleansing the digestive system first thing.
In the past, I’ve sprinkled it on soft fruit like bananas and papaya, mash it up with a fork and barely tasted it. It can also be mixed in with a small amount of good quality fruit juice (but be aware that large glasses of commercial juice can really spike your blood sugar, often leading to a tiring crash after that brief sugar high). Generally it’s much better to make your own.
These days, the best way to have amla that I’ve found is to mix it into a superfood smoothie. I share the complete recipe with lots of variations next.
Amla powder is also a key ingredient of one of the most famous Ayurvedic preparations – Triphala. I’ll be covering this amazing superfood in detail ahead.
6. Amla C Capsules
The simplest way of all to use Indian gooseberries is in the very popular amla capsules. While I personally prefer the powder as I use it so often, these amla capsules are good value and easy to take to work or with you when travelling for extra antioxidant protection.
Amla capsule suggested dosage is usually to have them both morning and evening at the recommended amount on the bottle. They are generally best taken just before a meal to help improve digestion and are a convenient way to get the extensive nutritional properties of amla wherever you are.
I’d be interested to hear of any other ways you know of to use amla. While it is still relatively unknown outside of the Indian community in the United States, I don’t think a superfood this good will stay that way for much longer.
Photo 1 credit: HeraldDesa / Photo 2 credit: Badagnani