Superfoods might not actually be quite so super, but there’s no doubt that certain food, drinks, and supplements can help you stay healthy. Easy go-to’s include smoothie additions that’ll power up your energy and grains that’ll boost your metabolism, while more dedicated eating plans like Ayurveda are designed for specific body types and incorporate lesser-known resources like activated charcoal, which is carbon processed to increase adsorption (the adhesion of molecules to a surface). In other words, activated charcoal can help draw out toxins from your food, water, and body. We got in touch with Sahara Ketabi, a mind-body transformation and Ayurveda expert who gave us six things you can count on charcoal to do, plus three easy ways to use it at home.
6 Benefits of Activated Charcoal
1. Banish bloat. Ayurveda, Ketabi explains, is the world’s oldest health system. “It’s all about healing your digestive system first, as that’s really your foundation for well being.” She tells us that when she feels bloated, she mixes a ¼ teaspoon activated charcoal supplement with Ayurvedic-healing spices (such as fennel seeds, cumin, and ginger) to soothe her belly. “It works so well that I feel confident to wear cute outfits again,” she gushes.
2. Clear up your skin. Have a pesky pimple? Ketabi swears by using activated charcoal to clear it up. “Activated charcoal goes deep into your pores to pull out impurities from pollution, makeup, and bacteria,” she notes. (Keep reading for the deets on her fave homemade activated charcoal mask, which she swears is ideal for anyone with an oily complexion.)
3. Remedy a horrible hangover. Is it just us or are the mornings after a fun night out worse than they used to be? Age might not be anything but a number, but our bods definitely find it harder to deal with drinking as we get older. “Activated charcoal aids your body in the natural detoxification process to reduce the toxins in your system post-night-out so you can get back to your yoga class in the morning,” Ketabi promises. To strike the right balance, she says to drink extra water to help the effect of the activated charcoal.
4. Filter your water. Ketabi, who’s studied and visited tons of places around the globe, has a few healthy travel tricks up her sleeve. Naturally, using activated charcoal is at the top of her list. “I always kept activated charcoal tablets with me to clean my water during the years I spent traveling,” she tells us. “Activated charcoal is clinically proven to naturally remove organic constituents and residual disinfectants in water; in fact, many filtration systems use the charcoal method!” She says that using activated charcoal can efficiently clean your water from chemicals and toxins, even when you’re not traveling. Such a great solution for city dwellers who love drinking from the tap!
5. Whiten your teeth naturally. “According to Ayurveda, digestive health begins in your mouth, as you constantly take in the toxic particles on your tongue surface,” Ketabi explains. “That’s why practices like tongue scraping and oil-pulling are paramount!” She credits charcoal for whiter teeth than ever before, even after giving up fluoride toothpaste. “I brush my teeth with the black powder to remove surface stains, pull out toxins and bacteria, and balance my mouth’s pH level,” she explains. Even better? “Activated charcoal also helps prevent cavities, bad breath, tooth decay, and gingivitis.” Consider us sold.
6. Help lower high cholesterol. While Ketabi says that diet comes first (she suggests a Kapha-pacifying diet for anyone who has high cholesterol), she explains that activated charcoal is a great go-to remedy. “Many of my clients have high cholesterol, so I always recommend they add activated charcoal to their diet, whether it’s a supplement or just in their daily water.” To back up her recommendation, research shows that activated charcoal can reduce the concentration of total lipids, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the blood — as well as in the heart, liver, and brain.
3 Ways to Add Activated Charcoal to Your Wellness Routine
1. Bloat-Banishing Ayurvedic Activated Charcoal Tea
- 2 cups hot water
- ½ teaspoon activated charcoal
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Combine ingredients and let steep for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
2. Homemade Activated Charcoal Mask
- 1 teaspoon activated charcoal powder
- 2 teaspoons water
- ½ teaspoon raw honey
- optional: 1 teaspoon bentonite clay for extra detoxifying qualities
Combine and spread generously on your face. Leave on for 10 minutes, and wash off with warm water.
3. Ketabi’s Go-To Teeth-Whitening Remedy
- Dip your wet toothbrush into powdered activated charcoal and brush your teeth like you would any other day. Target areas with stains and plaque.
- After 2-3 minutes of brushing, swish water through your mouth thoroughly and spit. Rinse until your spit is clear.
For best results, Ketabi recommends brushing with activated charcoal 2-3 times per week.
Is activated charcoal part of your health and wellness routine? Tell us how you use it on Twitter @BritandCo.
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