What Are Indian Gooseberries (Amla)?

Amla (Phyllanthus emblica), or Indian gooseberry, is an extremely sour, nutritious fruit of a tree that grows in India, the Middle East, and a few other Southeast Asian countries. Due to its powerful antioxidant properties, it is often used in Ayurvedic medicines to boost skin and hair health, and also overall immunity of the body. Due to the many phenolic compounds in Amla, it greatly assists the body in recovering from oxidative stress.

Just 1 cup (150 grams) of Indian gooseberries contains:

  • Calories: 66
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Fiber: 7 grams
  • Vitamin C: 46% of the Recommended Daily Value (RDV)
  • Vitamin B5: 9% of the RDV
  • Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDV
  • Copper: 12% of the RDV
  • Manganese: 9% of the RDV
  • Potassium: 6% of the RDV

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and vital to your nervous system, immune system, and skin. Vitamin B5 is necessary for creating fatty acids, while vitamin B6, which many enzymes and cells in your body need to function, helps convert food into energy. Copper is important for your heart, blood vessels, immune system, and brain. Meanwhile, manganese supports metabolism, bone formation, reproduction, and immune response, whereas potassium is essential for normal cell function.

Antioxidants are compounds that help fight the effects of free radicals. These are reactive molecules that cause cellular damage and lead to a process known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with many diseases and premature aging. Diets rich in antioxidants are thought to reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, aging, and protect your brain from degenerative disease.

Indian Gooseberries are also an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, small amounts of vitamin E, and phytonutrients. Plants produce phytonutrients to keep healthy and protect against sun damage and insects. Some of the phytonutrients in Amla include:

  • Flavonols. These are linked to heart health and may have stroke-reducing, cancer-fighting, and antiviral effects. The main types in gooseberries are quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. 
  • Anthocyanins. These compounds are the colored pigments in fruit, and they’re associated with eye and urinary tract health, improved memory, healthy aging, and a lower risk of some cancers.
  • Aromatic acids. In Amla, these include caffeine, chlorogenic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and ellagic acid.
  • Organic acids. These are responsible for the tart taste of fruit and may also reduce the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Amla berries are low in calories and fat but are rich in dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. They are also a great source of antioxidants and phytonutrients, helping to cleanse the body of free radicals and recover from oxidative stress. Used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, Indian gooseberries are a wonderful medicine that helps improve and maintain the health of the body.