Is Amla Juice Good For You?
Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, is a potent superfood that's been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, and is said to be great for your heart, skin and hair, immunity, and digestion.
And as this fruit gains popularity, one common way it's consumed is as amla juice.
But does amla juice really have the same benefits as amla powder or other amla products?
We'll talk about why it may not offer the same kind of health benefits as some other forms of amla like amla powder, and what you should look out for when buying this product!
Table of Contents
Amla, The Indian Gooseberry | A Powerful Superfood
Amla, also known as Amalaki, Indian gooseberry, amla berry, and amlaki is considered to be one of the most important medicinal plants in Ayurvedic medicine (traditional medicine from India).
Amla has been used for thousands of years as a rejuvenator or tonic because it's full of antioxidants like vitamin C and beta-carotene which help protect cells from damage and increase immunity.
In fact, amla has been historically reported to help with everything from digestive health to improving blood pressure and blood sugar levels to improving your skin glow and hair growth!
Why Amla is Taking the Country By Storm
So why hasn't amla taken the world by storm already? Well, three reasons.
First, amla is a fruit that's difficult to source and transport in its raw form so it hasn't been readily available outside of India and Southeast Asia.
Second, for a long time, amla's benefits hadn't been extensively studied by western science. As a result, it was often relegated with many other "herbal cure-alls", and not taken very seriously.
However, in the past two decades modern researchers have begun to confirm something BIG -- it turns out, amla actually works for everything from improving the health of hair follicles, helping you reach lower blood sugar levels, improve your blood health, and much, much more.
Drinking Amla Juice... A Good Choice?
So, is it a good idea to drink amla juice? Well, like with many fruit juices, drinking amla juice is a simple, straightforward way to enjoy amla as a part of your diet.
However, amla juice actually isn't the most nutritious way to get your amla. That's because when you drink amla juice, a lot of the fruit is lost in processing and many nutrients are left behind during filtering and bottling.
And this means that not only can drinking amla juice be less healthy than eating other forms of amla, but when you factor in some amla juices' high sugar content, amla juice may not be as healthy for you as other amla products.
Below, we'll break down some of Amla's incredible health benefits (in its raw form), explore the ways amla juice helps or hurts your health benefits, and then break down why you might or might not want to consider fresh amla juice as your chosen form of this supplement.
Amla's Health Benefits
Amla has long been regarded as a "wonder berry" in Ayurvedic medicine.
In fact, the fruit was prescribed for bone health, to control diabetes, prevent hair fall, boost immunity, improve heart health and act as a "natural blood purifier", stop menstrual cramps, improve respiratory health, improve muscle tone, regulate digestion, improve skin health, stop hair loss, remove dark spots and bad breath...
Basically, amla was treated as nothing short of a magic potion for any health problems or chronic conditions.
However, while some of these benefits have yet to be confirmed, repeated trials have shown that regular consumption of amla does pack quite a bit of health-boosting punch.
The Most Powerful Source of Antioxidants on Earth
Amla has the highest concentration of antioxidants on earth, even higher than acai, blueberries, turmeric, goji berries, and many other antioxidant powerhouses.
Antioxidants (like vitamin C, beta carotene, gallic acid, and even vitamin B) are crucial for your health because they help protect against oxidative stress which is caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells.
By eliminating free radicals, antioxidants contribute to everything including boosting your immunity, helping fight the signs of visual aging like skin damage and hair loss, and can also protect you from conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke, and altogether improves your longevity!
Amla is also an incredibly strong source of vitamin C, surpassing common sources like oranges, lemons, and other citrus by an order of magnitude! In fact, the only fruit stronger than amla when it comes to vitamin C is the Barbados cherry.
Like some of the many nutrients within amla, vitamin C is an antioxidant, but unlike other antioxidants, vitamin C has some impressive additional benefits.
For example, vitamin C is vital to producing white blood cells, and also has some well-documented anti-inflammatory properties, which makes amla an excellent choice for preventing and even treating conditions like arthritis.
Vitamin C also plays a crucial role in boosting your immune system by increasing the production of antibodies. This is incredibly important because it means amla can help you stay healthy this winter, especially if you're exposed to large crowds or are traveling abroad!
Lowers Your Blood Sugar
Another incredible benefit of amla fruit is that it can help lower your blood sugar levels.
This is especially important if you're pre-diabetic or have Type II diabetes, and studies show amla juice can significantly reduce fasting blood glucose levels in both healthy individuals and those with type II diabetes!
And in fact, amla's anti-diabetic properties are so impressive that in a study, amla was found to have around the same level of effectiveness as Metformin, one of the leading diabetes medications.
Improves Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
The incredible benefits of amla fruit continue with its effect on your cholesterol levels, blood vessels, and overall cardiovascular health.
In a study, amla was found to decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol and also increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
This is important because we know that uncontrolled or high levels of LDL can lead to conditions like heart disease and stroke, so amla's ability to control this factor can help prevent these diseases from developing in the first place.
Amla was also shown to lower your blood pressure (a side effect of all-around improved cardiovascular health) by levels comparable to leading statin medications, another benefit for this powerful superfood!
Supports Weight Loss
Adding to the list of incredible benefits amla juice can offer, amla was found to aid in weight loss!
In fact, over the course of one study amla was shown to help people lose around three times as much weight compared to placebo.
And amla's effects are multifaceted, because not only does amla juice contribute directly by making you feel fuller for longer periods of time- amla can also indirectly support your fat loss goals in a number of other ways!
For example, amla's ability to lower your blood pressure and improve heart health can help prevent obesity-related conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
It really is a triple-pronged benefit for people with diabetes and other heart conditions.
Promotes Liver Health
Amla also helps promote liver function and fight liver damage! Thanks to amla's high vitamin C content, amla has been shown to increase antioxidant enzyme activity and also can help prevent liver damage from chronic alcohol consumption.
Add in amla's cardiovascular benefits and its role as a powerful antioxidant (which helps your liver function as well), and you've got yet another reason to add amla juice (or its many other forms!) to your diet.
Helps with Skin Health
Amla is also fantastic for your skin! For example, amla has been shown in studies to have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne vulgaris (the most common form of acne), which can help reduce the severity of blemishes.
In addition, amla's antioxidant activity helps protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals that cause wrinkles and other signs of aging. In fact, amla is so effective at this that amla can actually be made into a natural sunscreen!
Amla's key vitamins also help your skin maintain its strength and elasticity- another reason amla may help prevent signs of aging like wrinkles.
Improves Hair Health
Amla's benefits don't stop at your skin- amla is also fantastic for the health of your hair!
First, it helps prevent hair fall and hair damage by strengthening your hair's root cells.
It can also help you grow thicker, stronger, and healthier strands of hair- amla is often used in natural remedies for stimulating new growth!
Combined with amla's antioxidant activity (which helps prevent oxidative stress damage to your scalp), amla is an amazing way to keep your locks looking beautiful.
And the final way that amla has been prescribed is as a hair growth agent, where it actually works! In fact, amla was shown in a study to be just bout as effective as minoxidil (Rogaine) when it came to promoting hair growth.
Helps with Digestive Health
Amla also can help with your digestive health! For example, amla is a rich source of fiber, which means it regulates bowel movements and helps prevent constipation and diarrhea.
In addition to its laxative properties, amla is fantastic at balancing intestinal flora- it's been shown that amla actually has a ton of beneficial effects on the bacteria found in our gut.
Finally, despite the fact that amla is a sour fruit, research has shown it actually balances stomach acids, and can seriously improve your stomach health.
May Prevent Cancer
The last of the potential benefits of amla juice is that it may actually help prevent cancer! In one fascinating study, amla was able to stop cell division and cell growth of cancer cells without damaging human tissues, offering a promising possibility in the treatment of cancer.
The Different Forms of Amla Juice
So there are many, many potential benefits of amla juice, but how you consume amla juice may play a big part in the benefits of this powerful superfood.
We've included three of the most common forms you might find below.
Fresh Amla Juice
Probably the best way to get the benefits of amla juice is through fresh amla juice, though this can be hard to acquire outside of India and Southeast Asia.
For this amla juice recipe, you simply squeeze and strain the raw amla fruit until you have a juice, and then thin it with water. Watch out for versions of this with added sugars, though, as they can mitigate some of the benefits of this healthy drink.
The main issue here is that you lose the fibers and other nutrients, which aren't necessarily a bad thing but can reduce some of the benefits of amla juice if you're using them as a part of your daily diet.
Amla Juice Concentrate
Amla juice concentrate is amla juice that has had the water removed, so it's much thicker- amla juice concentrate can be found in many different forms, including powder or capsules.
For amla juice concentrate like this one, you take amla pieces, mash them, and remove all liquids until only a thick paste remains (this paste is amla juice concentrate).
You can then add amla juice concentrate to water or other liquids for a drink, but amla in its concentrated form is much sourer than fresh amla- if you're drinking amla juice in this way, it's best to mix with other flavors. You may also need to take smaller doses of amla to get the same benefits.
Amla drinks can be a bit of a wild card. While there's certainly no problem adding other healthy juices like lemon juice, orange juice, or berry juices to get a different taste.
However, many types of fruit juices have added sugars or processed ingredients, which can hurt the bonuses of what might otherwise be a fantastically healthy drink.
Why (And Why Not!) Drink Amla Juice
When it comes down to it, you're not going to be missing out on a ton of the health benefits of amla if you're looking to bring amla juice into your diet.
After all, it's convenient to consume, you can try it on an empty stomach, it has the same antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, you're not getting some of the fibers and other nutrients, and you may have to be careful to avoid added sugars and other processed ingredients depending on each particular amla juice recipe.
That's why we've come up with some other alternatives to amla juice.
Alternatives to Amla Juice
Though just like amla juice, it can be hard to find fresh amla fruit outside of India, it's not impossible!
Whether you're browsing your local grocery store or visiting an Indian supermarket, amla can be found in its whole fruit form- the only thing required here is knowing how to cut amla and remove seeds!
Again, the trick with this form of amla is that it can be sour and unpleasant to eat by itself (especially on an empty stomach).
Amla Oil and Extract
Amla oil and extract are another two amla juice alternatives that can be conveniently purchased online.
This amla oil, for instance- it's made of amla pulp and seeds without any added chemicals or preservatives (it even has a chocolate flavor).
Similarly, amla extract is also an easy amla juice alternative to try if you're not interested in the whole amla fruit.
However, the point against this form of amla is that it can be expensive, especially if you're looking for a daily supplement to improve your health.
It's no secret that we recommend amla powder as our preferred amla juice alternative- it's the amla form we use every single day, and we'd recommend it to anyone who wants a convenient way to improve their health.
With amla powder, you're getting all of amla's fantastic benefits like its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties (and many other key nutrients) without dealing with any sour flavors.
It mixes easily into almost any drink, smoothie, salad dressing, and dish, rounding out a variety of fantastic uses that make it the ideal amla juice alternative.
The Final Verdict
If you're considering adding amla to your diet for the first time, amla juice isn't the worst way to go. And as long as you avoid sugary alternatives or heavily processed versions of this tasty juice, you'll be in a good spot!
But if you're looking to maximize the health benefits of amla, we heavily recommend amla powder. It's the most concentrated form of amla's health benefits, it's easily the most versatile, and it's also the easiest to store, transport, and acquire.
It's no surprise it's one of our favorites!
And Our Favorite Is Amla Green!
We're proud to be amla powder's biggest fans, and that's why we created Amla Green, which combines 20x concentrated organic amla berries with green tea for an easily available, tasty supplement that takes all of the good from amla with none of the pesky negatives.
It mixes into any drink or dish with ease, freeing up your daily routine from the hassle of adding amla juice every time you want to improve your health- just toss a scoop of Amla Green into your smoothie or favorite dish and enjoy amla's benefits!
We know the world hasn't quite had the chance to enjoy amla powder like we have, which is why we've decided to offer you a risk-free guarantee.
But we think you'll like it...
Amla Green has strict guidelines for scientific references in our articles, and we rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, governmental organizations, and reputable medical organizations. We do our best to avoid using non evidence-based references in all articles. The references in this article are listed below.
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Page Medically Reviewed and Edited by
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, is a cofounder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. Using an evidence-based approach to nutrition and fitness, he first reduced his own insulin usage by more than 40%, and has educated thousands of people with all forms of diabetes how to reverse insulin resistance using food as medicine. Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) Conference, Plant Stock, and has been featured on Forks Over Knives, NPR, PBS, KQED, Fast Company, and is the author of the upcoming book Mastering Diabetes.
- Cyrus Khambatta