Amla and Blood Sugar

amla fruit
Amla, or Indian gooseberries, may help to control blood sugar. (Image: konok1a/iStock/Getty Images)

Blood glucose, or blood sugar, provides energy to all of your organs and tissues. When diabetes develops, blood glucose is too high, yet your cells have difficulty getting enough energy because insulin is unable to move glucose into the cells. High blood sugar also puts stress on the kidneys and causes damage to other body systems. Amla is a traditional remedy that may help keep blood sugar at a steady level and prevent large increases after a meal. Consult your doctor to determine if consuming amla is a good strategy for your situation.

Amla

Amla is the fruit of the Indian gooseberry tree, or Emblica officinalia. The tree grows in the hill regions of India and produces abundant fruit in autumn. Amla is a traditional part of Indian medicine, or Ayurveda, recommended by practitioners as a general tonic, as a topical treatment for skin and hair and for many ailments. A sour-tasting fruit, amla is traditionally consumed either fresh or as a sweetened and preserved product called amla murabba.

Properties

Amla is a very rich source of vitamin C, an antioxidant vitamin that helps rid the body of free radicals. These compounds are natural metabolites of food that may harm cells by damaging DNA and cellular membranes. Amla also contains minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, and chromium, and other vitamins such as several B vitamins and beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A. In addition to its generally healthy properties, amla has positive effects on the pancreas, where insulin is produced, and its content of chromium helps to manage blood sugar levels.

Effects on Blood Sugar

Insulin, which is made in the pancreas, is critical in keeping blood sugar at proper levels. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, the resulting pancreatitis may injure insulin-secreting cells and result in high blood sugar levels. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Indian gooseberry, or amla is an effective traditional remedy to prevent pancreatitis. Amla also contains chromium, a mineral that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and may make the body more responsive to insulin, helping to keep blood sugar at healthy levels.

Consuming Amla

Consume fresh amla fruit or juice daily, or prepare amla preserves from the fresh ingredient and have it with meals. Alternatively, dried and powdered amla is available at some Asian specialty or health food stores. Powdered amla may be sprinkled on food or mixed with water or milk. For a pancreatic tonic, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends consuming 3 g to 6 g of amla powder daily, mixed in water or a beverage.

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