Amla, also known as Indian Gooseberry, ripens in the fall in wet, forested hilly areas in India where it is considered a sacred tree. It has a sour taste and can be consumed either fresh or dried.
Amla is rich in vitamin C, one of the most concentrated forms in the plant kingdom, and a good source of calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene and B vitamins. It is excellent for helping to flush out toxins, aids in maintaining a healthy respiratory system and supports beneficial blood sugar levels. In addition, it’s high in fiber and considered a high water fruit. Amla’s antioxidant agents help to fight free radicals which are known to cause cell damage. Because of its nutrient makeup and healing abilities, it is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine.
For an athlete, Amla has been shown to provide the following benefits:
- aids the body with calcium absorption which helps keep bones strong and developing correctly.
- strengthens the heart muscle which allows it to more efficiently pump blood throughout the body.
- promotes the creation of new red blood cells, increasing circulation and hence, the oxygenation of organs and cells. This maximizes the growth and regeneration of tissues.
- fight infection and improve the body’s immune system which is beneficial when putting extra stress on it.
- aids in digestion allowing for less stomach discomfort and more efficient absorption of nutrients.
- improves appetite when consumed with other foods helping young athletes to achieve caloric levels to maintain or gain weight (if necessary) when training.