Aloe vera is a popular plant, and it is best known to provide relief from sunburns. But aside from that, did you know that aloe vera is also a raw superfood that contains many vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for the body? Yes, aloe vera is edible and can be consumed in many ways, from fresh leaves to dried powder, making it easy to add to your diet and take advantage of its many health benefits.
It is a succulent plant that is cultivated all over the world due to its thick gelatinous leaves. When you cut an aloe vera leaf, you will see a clear, viscous substance, which can be pressed or filleted out of the leaf. That is its healing and therapeutic element, which is a rich source of polysaccharides and many other ingredients, such as amino acids, saponins, lignin, salicylic acid, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and enzymes.
In the present time, there are lots of people who use fresh raw aloe leaves by filleting out the inner gel and mixing it into the water, juices, and other drinks. Aloe vera is made up of about 99% water, making it very hydrating and nourishing for the body. If you want to know more, read on because we are going to tell you all about aloe vera as a raw superfood.
What is Aloe Vera?
As mentioned earlier, it is a succulent plant that is cultivated around the world. But there are many different types of aloe, from the Aloe genus, that usually grow in dry and subtropical locations in many parts of the world. The original wild version of the aloe vera plant is suspected of having come from desert regions of Africa and as well as the Arabian Peninsula.
Primarily, the most commonly used type of aloe for medicinal purposes is from the “Aloe vera” species, which is called Aloe barbadensis Miller. It is an extremely robust succulent that can live for a long time without water. This is because it has developed storage techniques that capture water within its environment of unique long-chain polysaccharides. Due to these characteristics, the aloe vera plant can grow in different climatic conditions.
Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
Here are some of the health benefits that you can get when you consume aloe vera or when you incorporate it into your diet.
- Aloe vera can be a soothing digestive aid and natural laxative.
There are lots of foods and herbs that have laxative effects on the digestive system, which can be useful when you find yourself a bit backed up in the bowel movement department, and one of those is aloe vera. Consuming aloe vera is one of the best ways to find relief from constipation, especially if you don’t want to use harsh over-the-counter medications.
Aloe vera juice, gel, or powder is known to be a gentle and mild laxative that can also soothe hydrate, and nourish the intestines. It is great food for alleviating and healing conditions such as IBS, diverticulitis, acid reflux, colitis, and ulcers. When you have a properly functioning digestive tract that is free from obstructions, it means that you have optimum health and wellness. It’s because it is the system that breaks down the nutrients and life-force from the foods that you consume. It is also responsible for providing energy to all your bodily systems.
- Aloe vera is rich in glucomannans.
Glucomannan is a water-soluble polysaccharide that is a source of dietary fiber. It is usually found in the gel portion of an aloe vera leaf. It is a great food thickener and an emulsifying agent when blended, which is the same way as to how seaweeds and chia seeds thicken foods and drinks. These glucomannans also contribute to aloe vera’s laxative effects.
An aloe vera leaf also has a number of anthraquinone compounds that also have cleansing effects. One of those is aloin, which is a bitter latex-like material that can be helpful for the digestive system. Aside from that, it is also known to stimulate mucus secretions and increase intestinal peristalsis.
- Aloe vera can help in detoxification and weight loss.
Since aloe vera has digestion enhancing and bowel normalizing effects, this means that it can also help you detoxify your body. Aside from that, it can also assist in the elimination of undigested waste materials and toxins. This is the reason why you often see aloe vera being promoted as an effective supplement that can be added to the diet of those who are aiming to lose excess body weight.
- Aloe vera also acts as prebiotic.
Aloe vera also acts as a prebiotic, which helps the propagation of other friendly micro-flora and probiotic organisms present in the gut. It also contains polysaccharides that are great in providing a protective mucous lining in the digestive tract. Aside from that, this raw superfood can also assist in balancing body pH, providing your body a more alkaline environment, which is helpful for discouraging acidic-thriving gut microbiota. It means that aloe vera is the perfect superfood for acidic people. It is also very soothing for associated conditions, including heartburn and indigestion.
- Aloe vera can help boost the immune system.
Aloe vera, when consumed, can be very beneficial for maintaining a healthy immune system. This is because it contains lots of easily digested mannose polysaccharides or long-chain sugars like the glucomannans that can be found in the bloodstream where they offer immune-regulating actions.
Acemannan, one type of polysaccharide, can stimulate the production of macrophages, which is a white blood cell that is important in the immune response. This polysaccharide is known to produce immune helpers like interferon and interleukin, both of which can inhibit bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses. Aloe vera also stimulates the liver, allowing it to produce more glutathione, which is a master antioxidant and detoxifying substance.
- Aloe vera is a potent antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial.
Aloe vera is composed of different compounds, such as saponins, fatty acids, sulfur, salicylic acid, phenols, emodin, and anthraquinones, which are substances that provide antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities when used internally and as well as externally.
When you consume aloe vera gel, powder, or juice, it can help you with anti-inflammatory conditions, like arthritis, ulcers, and the inflammatory response associated with cardiovascular diseases. Consuming raw aloe vera is furthermore a nourishing food for healthy joints because of its effects at reducing inflammation and also because it contains beneficial phytonutrients that can keep the joints flexible and strong.
- Aloe vera can beautify and heal the skin.
Aloe vera is famous for its beautifying and healing effects on the skin. But aside from that, it can also heal from the inside out and positively affects the health of the skin layer when used internally. It has potential cleansing effects on the liver, which can naturally assist in providing clear skin.
Aloe vera also has high water content, lignin, and polysaccharides that lubricate and moisturize the internal tissues of the body, keeping the skin cells well hydrated. And of course, aloe vera is popular for external skin treatment for different issues, such as rashes, psoriasis, eczema, stings, and many other skin disorders. It has lignin compounds that provide deep penetrative effects at healing and soothing wounds, burns, and dry, itchy skin when it is used topically.
These are some of the best health benefits that you can get from the raw superfood aloe vera. If you want to test how nutritious it is, why not try adding some aloe vera gel to your favorite foods and drinks. It is perfect for blending in drinks, especially in the hot summer months, because it is very refreshing. We hope the information we shared helped you in finding out more about aloe vera as a raw superfood.