You probably know the feeling; you’re running late and grab a quick (but unhealthy) snack on the go, only to get the dreaded “bubble gut” feeling in your stomach hours later. Thankfully, you can forget messy probiotic yogurts, crunchy wheat flax and too-chewy prunes. There’s a new solution available that will aid your digestion: Aloe vera.
For years, aloe vera (as in the sticky green goo you slather on after the beach) has been applied topically for after-sun relief. More recently, though, it was discovered that, when ingested, aloe vera has a multitude of other benefits. It is as great internally as it is externally, and for a similar reason: when you drink it, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.
Aloe vera is gaining popularity amongst health-conscious young women and is popping up seemingly everywhere in foods, juices and desserts. While most people applaud aloe for its anti-inflammatory properties, it is also known to help relieve constipation, support a healthy immune system and help with acid reflux, joint pain, diabetes, colon ulcers and even lung cancer prevention.
The plant, found mostly in Africa and India, is not only rich in minerals (including magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper and aluminum) that are necessary for body function, but also a good source of antioxidants and amino acids. According to Julie Mancuso, a Toronto-based nutritionist, “aloe is known to fight off harmful bacteria and boost the immune system” because of it’s antioxidant and amino acid content. While this may make many of you want to start gnawing on aloe leaves, as she told The Beauty Bean, like anything that is good for you, aloe vera is best taken in moderation.
The best way to integrate aloe into your diet: slowly. Mancuso suggests taking 2 oz a day at first and slowly working your way up to 3 or 4 oz. “Most people think that since it’s good and natural, it’s a good idea to take as much as they want,” she says. Unfortunately, though, those same constipation-relieving effects can result in an upset stomach if you take too much too quickly – and that just defeats the whole purpose.
So, are you ready to try this sunburn solution turned superfood?
Here are The Beauty Bean’s top picks for adding aloe to your diet:
Ultimate Aloe Juice ($25, marketamerica.com)
This beverage comes in four unique and tasty flavors (classic natural, pomegranate, strawberry kiwi and cranberry apple). Described as a “rejuvenating tonic,” it is what is called “one hundred and fifty percent,” which means that it is in a concentrated form with fifty percent more active ingredients than in a typical 50 mL serving.
The Vitamin Shoppe’s Aloe Vera Capsules ($7, vitaminshoppe.com)
This is great for those who are looking for an easy supplement to add to their existing vitamin routine. Just swallow and go!
Lily of the Desert Aloe Vera Whole Leaf Juice ($19, amazon.com)
Craving that authentic aloe taste (that is, if you even know what true aloe tastes like!) or just want to try it? Lily of the Desert, which has been producing aloe products since 1971, delivers aloe juice with a fresh flavor, no holds barred. It’s a great citrusy, tangy beverage for true aloe fans (or the adventurous).