The topical health benefits of Aloe Vera cannot be overemphasized even to the lay man now that most people get so curious wondering how edible it can be in its form and how safe it is for consumption.
Well, this article tells ends your curiosity today as you read on…..
Aloe Vera Leaves Are Generally Safe to Eat
Aloe Vera leaves are comprised of three parts: the skin, the gel and the latex. They’re best known for their gel, which is responsible for most of its health benefits.
It is rich in nutrients with more than 75 potentially active compounds, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids and polysaccharides
While most people apply the gel to their skin, it’s also safe to eat when prepared right.
Aloe Vera gel has a clean, refreshing taste and can be added to a variety of recipes, including smoothies and salsas.
To prepare the gel, cut off the spiky edges on the top and alongside the aloe Vera leaf. Next, slice off the skin on the flat side, remove the clear gel and dice it into small cubes.
Make sure to wash the gel cubes thoroughly to remove all traces of dirt, debris and residue. Latex residue can give the gel an unpleasant bitter taste.
The latex is a thin layer of yellow liquid between the skin and the gel of the leaf. It contains compounds with powerful laxative properties, such as aloin.
Remember, eating too much latex can have serious and potentially fatal side effects.
In contrast, the aloe Vera skin is generally safe to eat. It has a mild flavor and a crunchy texture, perfect for adding variety to your summer salads. Alternatively, the skin can be enjoyed by dipping it in salsa or hummus.
To prepare the skin, cut off the spiky edges on the top and alongside the plant and slice off the skin on the flat side. Make sure to wash the skin thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris and latex.
You can soak it in water for 10–20 minutes before eating it if you find it too tough to chew.
It’s very important to choose leaves from the aloe Vera plant and not from other aloe species, as these may be poisonous and therefore unfit for human consumption.
Here are some potential benefits of eating aloe Vera:
May reduce blood sugar levels: In human and animal studies, aloe Vera gel helped reduce blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity.
May suppress inflammatory signals: In animal and test-tube studies, the extract suppressed inflammatory signals such as TN Fα, IL-1 and IL-6 .
Reduce dental plaque: If used as a mouthwash, the juice may be as effective as a regular mouthwash in reducing dental plaque build-up.
May boost memory: In one animal study, consuming aloe Vera gel helped enhance learning and memory while also reducing symptoms of depression.
Rich in antioxidants: Regularly eating aloe Vera gel may raise blood antioxidant levels. Antioxidants help combat the damage caused by free radicals, which are compounds linked to many chronic diseases.
Aloe Vera has been linked to potential health benefits, such as reduced blood sugar levels, inflammation and dental plaque, as well as improved memory and antioxidant defenses.
Potential Dangers of Eating Aloe Vera
Eating aloe Vera latex, a yellow substance that is found inside the leaf, has potential risks.
In small doses, eating the latex may help treat constipation by promoting contractions. However, in 2002 the US FDA banned the sale of over-the-counter products containing the latex due to safety concerns.
Long-term consumption of aloe Vera latex has been linked to side effects, including stomach cramps, kidney problems, irregular heartbeat and muscle weakness.
In high doses above 1 gram per day, prolonged use may even be fatal (3).
Pregnant women should avoid eating the latex, as it may stimulate uterine contractions, which could cause a miscarriage.
In addition, people with digestive disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease, should avoid consuming aloe Vera latex as it may worsen their conditions.
Aside from the latex, consuming aloe Vera gel is not advised for people taking diabetes, heart or kidney medications, as it may worsen potential side effects from the drugs.
Avoid eating aloe Vera skin care gels, as they do not offer the same benefits as the gel inside the leaf. Skin care gels may also contain ingredients that are not meant to be eaten.
The latex can be harmful, especially to pregnant women, people with digestive disorders and people on certain medications. You should also avoid its gel if you take diabetes, heart or kidney medications.
The Bottom Line
Aloe Vera gel and skin can be eaten. The gel, in particular, may offer several health benefits.
Be sure to wash the gel or skin thoroughly to remove all traces of latex, which has an unpleasant bitter taste and may cause harmful side effects.
Never eat aloe Vera skin care products. They do not offer the same benefits as the leaf and are not meant to be ingested.