A Surprising Superfood: Learn the Benefits of Aloe Vera
Every day, people around the world appreciate the nutritional benefits of aloe vera. And, while most of us are familiar with its healing effects on skin, its uses go well beyond that. Believe it or not, aloe vera is actually a superfood! Superfood is a word that gets thrown around a lot, so let’s cover what it actually means.
What Is a Superfood?
Put simply, a superfood is any natural food that’s dense with beneficial nutrients, antioxidants, and other compounds beneficial to your health. For example, you have probably heard that blueberries are a superfood. This is because they’re low in calories and rich in antioxidants. That’s only one of many superfood examples. Another you might not think of immediately is aloe vera. Aloe vera is frequently used in topical skin care and cosmetic products like creams, lotions, soaps, and shampoos, but it’s also incredibly beneficial when ingested.
Nutrients Found in Aloe Vera
Aloe vera possesses many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that support proper body function. Vitamins like vitamin A (beta-carotene), which is a key player for a healthy immune system, organ function, and reproduction. Aloe vera is also a tremendous source of vitamin C. Vitamin E is another nutrient it offers that’s great for protecting against free radical damage. It could even offer benefits for heart health. And, it’s not just these three antioxidants, aloe vera also contains B12, folic acid, and choline; all of which help with nervous system health.
It’s a great source of minerals like calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc, which are essential for proper function of various enzyme systems in different metabolic pathways.
Aloe vera contains at least eight different enzymes — alliinase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinesia, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase can help reduce skin irritation when applied topically. Some of the other enzymes can help the body break down fat, sugar, and other nutrients. For this reason, digestive enzymes are great for leaky gut.
Additionally, catalase, which is found in most organisms, is pretty important when it comes to protecting cells from oxidative damage–something implicated in many diseases, as well as the body’s aging process.
As if that weren’t enough, aloe vera also provides fatty acids like good cholesterol, campesterol, β-sitosterol, and lupeol, which soothe redness and swelling and offer other important benefits.
A recent study looked at the prebiotic potential of aloe vera mucilage, suggesting that it could be used to support gut health and probiotic colonies. And, its high acemannan content could also have immunomodulatory properties.
Additional Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the nutrients and biological compounds within aloe vera, let’s take a look at some of the plant’s other notable health benefits.
- Wound healing
- Moisturizes the skin
Nutritional / Dietary Supplementation
- Promotes normal cholesterol levels
- Supports cardiovascular health
- Contains prebiotics
- Supports digestion
- Boosts the immune system
Adding Aloe Vera to Your Diet
The benefits of adding aloe vera to your diet are easy to see. With so many vital nutrients, this superfood should become a staple in your effort to leading a healthy life. One popular way to have quick, easy access to this natural wonder is by growing your own aloe vera at home. Aloe vera grows quickly and reproduces at a high rate. For those looking to take an easier route, there are many products like juices and supplements available that can make adding aloe vera to your diet even easier.
When consuming aloe vera, in any form, nutrient content and bioavailability of key ingredients – like acemannan – is important.