If you have walked by Aloe Vera leaves in your local market, you may have wondered why the heck it was in the produce section. I know that I have! Is it even edible? Well, it may surprise you to find out that the health benefits of Aloe Vera gel aren’t limited to rubbing it on cuts or sunburn!
This is the next installment on my continuing series that looks at different types of food items and their potential health benefits. For those of you who are unfamiliar, each month, I highlight one or two ingredient/foods that you see every day at your local food store and investigate if it is healthy and why.
So often, we hear that this food or that food is good for you, but don’t question why that is. What I hope to do with these posts is give you the knowledge you need to make the healthiest choices for your own diets! If you are interested in the other installments in this series, simply click on any of the links listed below:
- Oregano’s Health Benefits
- Basil’s Health Benefits
- Parsley’s Health Benefits
- Rosemary’s Health Benefits
- The Artichoke’s Health Benefits
- The Apricot’s Health Benefits
- Arugula’s Health Benefits
- How Healthy Is An Apple? Do You Really Only Need One A Day?
As we have done before, we are going to discover a little about where Aloe Vera comes from, how it grows (as well as how you can grow it yourself), its nutritional profile, and examine any potential health benefits.
I will even include some videos about how to safely (more on that later) prepare and consume it.
That being said, let’s get down to business.
Where Does Aloe Vera Come From And How Does It Grow?
According to Britannica.com, aloe is a type of succulent plant that originated from the Arabian Peninsula, Madagascar, and Africa. The most common type that you will find is aloe Vera, which has been used for thousands of years in various skin products to treat cuts, burns, etc. What may surprise you is that are actually hundreds of different species of aloe!
Considering that fact that it is a succulent plant, aloe Vera does best when growing in dry, sunny areas. Good Housekeeping notes that it is an especially good plant to have around if you aren’t too great at keeping plants alive since it only needs to be watered about once every two weeks or so.
Most of the time, when you go to the grocery store or health food store, you will see it packaged in one of two ways. Either you will find the long, large leaves loose in the produce section or bottled in juice form.
Growing Your Own Aloe Vera
I always prefer to do things myself when it comes to herbs, vegetables, etc. That’s why I like to dedicate this section to providing resources that will teach you how to grow various plants on your own.
I’m such a fan of DIY gardening because not only is it a fun and satisfying activity (there is nothing better than eating something you have grown with your own hands!), but it many times is also healthier since you know exactly what goes into the growing process. Budget-wise, it is also a great way to save money!
As I stated in the previous section, Aloe Vera is a great choice for those who want to grow their own since it is very forgiving and low maintenance. All it needs is plenty of sun and a little water evey now and then. For those of you who want the in’s and out’s though, I have provided great resource to explain the process for the home gardener!
The Complete Aloe Vera Growing Guide:
The Nutritional Profile Of Aloe Vera
One of the most surprising things about Aloe Vera is that you can eat it. However, before you get all excited and start munching on leaves, there are definitely some precautions you have to follow.
The first of these is that the only edible part of Aloe Vera is the inside gel. This can be made into juice or added into smoothies and gives a hydration boost as well as vitamins and minerals.
The thing you have to watch out for is that you cannot eat the outside of the leaf and you also should soak or let the leaves stand (as described in the complete growing guide video) so that the natural latex has a chance to exit the plant. If you don’t, your digestive system could be in for a world of hurt!
Check out the video below to see how to do it:
How To Prepare Aloe Vera For Consumption:
Now that you know how to do that, let’s take a look at what Aloe Vera gel has to offer regarding nutrition. I had to use a different source as my normal one did not have Aloe in its database. While not as complete, the calculator from WebMD was till able to give an idea of what you can expect when you consume it. All numbers are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
4 Fluid oz Portion of Aloe Vera Gel:
- Calories: 10
- Total Fat: 0g (1%)
- Saturated Fat: 0g (0%)
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
- Sodium 8mg (0% DV)
- Total Carbohydrates: 4g (1% DV)
- Dietary Fiber: 3g (12% DV)
- Total Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Vitamin C: 40%
Like I said, the calculator was very brief. From what I see, though, it makes a lot of sense. Since Aloe Vera is a succulent, it contains a great deal of water. Water isn’t going to give you a lot in the way of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. What you can expect is something that is low in calories, with no fat, and actually a decent amount of fiber and Vitamin C!
Let’s hope that the benefits beyond the nutrition facts give more reason to take a closer look at it!
For now, check out this recipe for a simple, refreshing juice drink using Aloe Vera and Asian pears:
Asian Pear Aloe Vera Juice:
Potential Health Benefits of Aloe Vera
What I was happy to find was that Aloe Vera is more than meets the eye when it comes to its health benefits. According to Medical News Today, Aloe is high in antioxidants, which helps to fight against disease. Additionally, the gel has antibacterial, antiseptic, and antiviral properties, which would explain its use on cuts for centuries!
Some research also concludes that Aloe may be able to reduce blood sugar and according to Organic Facts, its anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce arthritis pain and inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors!
Speaking of its antiseptic properties, 100% Aloe Vera juice has been shown to be equal in power to the chemical components in standard mouthwash when it comes to fighting dental plaque! Rinse away!
Along those same lines, Aloe has also been used to topically treat burns. Normal sunburn and even 1st and 2nd degree burns have shown to respond incredibly well to the healing properties of Aloe Vera gel, even reducing healing time by almost 10 days!
It’s not just healthy for burned skin either. It can be used to help moisturize dry skin, which is more than likely why it is used in so many lotions and creams.
If you have some time, I found a great video that can give you some ideas on how to use Aloe Vera gel in your everyday life:
35 Magical Life Hacks With Aloe Vera:
Are The Health Benefits Enough To Get You To Eat It?
I hope that this post has given you more information on the health benefits of Aloe Vera gel. I can’t say that I would definitely make it a must have in my own diet, but you might think differently.
Nutritionally, it doesn’t seem like a powerhouse, but I think what I find most exciting are the topical and anti-inflammatory benefits for burns, dry skin, and teeth!
Now it’s your turn. Do you use Aloe Vera for anything other than a houseplant? What has your experience been like, either growing or using it? Do you eat yours or just use it for topical purposes? Out of the hacks in the video, which one do you want to try first? If you have any thoughts or questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below!
If you like what you read here and want to stay up to date on each new post, simply enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box at the top right of the page. Also, please consider hitting those share buttons following you down the page as it really helps out the site!
In case you are interested in more articles on nutrition, recipes, or great products that you can add to your diet, feel free to check out the links below:
Restaurant Survival Guides:
- What To Eat For Health – Part 1: At Chipotle
- What To Eat For Health – Part 2: At Arby’s
- What To Eat For Health – Part 3: At McDonald’s
- What To Eat For Health – Part 4: At Chick-fil-A
- What To Eat For Health – Part 5: At Burger King
- What To Eat For Health – Part 6: At Panera
- Banana And Peanut Butter Oatmeal
- Banana-Carrot Pancakes
- Easy Beef and Bean Burritos
- Panko Chicken with Wilted Greens and Fried Eggs
- Grilled Ribeye Steak and Cheese Sandwiches
- My Ultimate Oatmeal Breakfast Bowl
- Capellini Pomodoro
Nutritional Products and Supplements:
- Garden Of Life Raw Meal Vegan Protein Powder
- Vega One All-In-One Organic Shakes
- Bob’s Red Mill Old Country Style Muesli
- Orgain Organic Protein Powder and Superfoods – I’m Switching!
Diet Analysis And Nutrition Tips:
- The OMAD Diet
- The Carnivore Diet
- The Juicing Diet
- Intermittent Fasting
- Tips To Be Healthy And Fit On Vacation
If you haven’t already noticed, I really like to save money. However, I also like to find ways to make more money and help out my family. Does that sound like you? If so, here are some of my recommended avenues to help you out!
Should you want to make a few extra bucks while watching Netflix on the couch, check out Survey Junkie!
Looking for a way to save money and earn rewards like free gift cards at no cost to you? Download the Honey browser extension!
Want to turn a passion for fitness into a potentially lucrative career as a personal trainer? Well you are going to need to get certified and there is no better place to achieve that than with ACE Fitness!
Speaking of a passion for fitness, if you want to get steep discounts on everything from workout gear to events, services, travel, and more, you have got to check out my review for the Active Advantage!
Curious to know how I have started to make consistent online from the comfort of my own home? Then do yourself a favor and take a look at my full Wealthy Affiliate review! You won’t regret it!
Lastly, if you are interested to hear me sing and get to know a little about my story, click on the link!
That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed this and other posts during your time here. God Bless and Happy Healing!