Health Benefits Of Amla For Children
This tangy vitamin C rich fruit is great for your heart, skin, hair, and overall health and well being. Read on to know more about this 'ayurvedic wonder' and how to include it in your child's diet!
By Priya Kathpal
As children, we were often coaxed into having generous doses of amla candy. And with good reason too! Although many children are dissuaded by the sour taste of the fruit, it can be quite beneficial to their health.
To begin, amla is more high in vitamin C than an orange? Bet many of you did not know that! Hence, amla in its many forms such as candy, pickle or powder can be consumed to build one’s immunity and prevent various diseases.
What is an amla?
Amla or Indian gooseberry is native to India and Nepal. This ayurvedic wonder is a light green succulent fruit and derives its name from the Sanskrit word Amlaki meaning the 'sustainer'. Amla has been used in Ayurveda, unani and other Asian medicinal practices for thousands of years.
Amla is one of the main ingredients of a powerful herbal remedy called Triphala. It is also used extensively in the making of the jam Chyawanprash, which is used in India as a dietary supplement and to boost immunity. In ancient Ayurveda, it was used to promote long life, aid digestion, enhance concentration and even alleviate respiratory problems.
It also acts as an anti-cancer agent (According to a study, Anticancer Properties of Phyllanthus emblica (Indian Gooseberry), published in 2015, by Tiejun Zhao et al, Researchers from The Departments of Oncology and Experimental Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada said that Phyllanthus emblica extracts have tumor repressive properties against a number of cancer types), controls sugar levels, slows premature greying, etc.
Further, amla is:
- A high source of vitamin C. This makes it a natural cure for many health disorders like common cold, stress and infections.
- One of the most popular ingredients used in natural hair care. In fact, regularly applying amla oil can prevent hair from greying.
- High in antioxidants and thus reduces the cell damage and slows down the ageing process.
- Known to reduce the build up of bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease to a great extent.
- A great way of preventing mouth ulcers due to its antibacterial properties, and these ulcers are usually caused by a deficiency in vitamin C.
- Helpful in protecting the skin against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, metals and UV damage and in increasing the growth of collagen, a protein that makes up a large part of the skin.
The benefits of amla in your child’s diet
Though amla is mostly available in autumn, it can be bought in bulk during this season time and stored and preserved in various forms, to be consumed all year round. It can be included in your child's regular diet. The benefits are plenty. Some of them are:
- Amla contains great amounts of fibre and has natural laxative properties that provide relief from constipation. It improves gut health, promotes good digestion and regular bowel movements.
- Vitamin C is known to increase iron absorption and improve haemoglobin levels. Children who are at a risk of iron deficiency can intake amla.
- Amla is a natural appetite booster. Small amounts of it on a regular basis can aid digestive enzymes and enable the child to feel hungry. This in turn helps in weight gain.
- Natural antibacterial properties of amla help boost a child’s immunity and fight infections easily.
- Regular massage of the hair with amla oil helps prevent itchiness, dandruff and keeps lice at bay.
How to include it in your child’s diet
- Include amla in chutneys.
- Make a preserve with some honey and spread it on bread.
- Make a juice with honey and other fresh fruits and consume fresh.
- Grate and add it to raitas, dips, salad.
Since including small quantities can achieve good benefits in children, making this fruit a part of your diet is a great idea. Also remember that during season time, try to use them fresh and include a tangy twist to your many dishes. However, If you wish to use it in the future, preserve it appropriately.
About the expert:
Written by Priya Kathpal on 26 March 2019.
The author, Priya Kathpal is a nutritionist and founder of Nutrify.
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