Let’s Talk About Charcoal

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Charcoal. A magnet for toxins and an old age remedy for poisoning but is it still “healthy” in burgers and ice cream? Nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach Peppiina Niemi investigates…

Charcoal is the new black, literally. If you haven’t already seen the trend, all it takes is a quick instagram search to get endless photos of these tough looking black foods.

Charcoal, more medically known as activated carbon, was originally used therapeutically by health professionals to detoxify the body from unwanted substances and poisons. With its head turning appearance and health benefits, it was bound to end up as part of any detox juice program.

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Why would this burned powder be great anyhow? Essentially, when consumed it helps to trap toxins and chemicals in our bodies so that they get flushed rather than stored. It also boasts anti-aging benefits, gut clearing function, possible lowering of cholesterol and curing hangovers! The actual science of these benefits are leaving some medical professionals skeptical, but isn’t that usually the case?

Although a black swirled ice cream looks pretty sweet, there is not a lot of magic in that small sprinkle of charcoal added to it. The saturated fats and processed sugars trump the possible health benefits. The more beneficial forms of it are the supplements found in pill or powder form added to raw foods.

With the popularity of any health trend, people can easily over do it. In this case, some doctors and researches have actually found that activated charcoals potency can have a strong interaction with medications. Because it is so absorbent, it can make certain medications less effective.

This is a big concern for those who depend on regular medications, such as women taking oral contraceptives and consuming larger doses of this activated charcoal. I even noticed that some of my local juice shops now have a small warning label on the charcoal juices. To avoid these interactions I would suggest taking the real stuff in small quantities and hours after medications to allow proper absorption.

As with most things in life, moderation is key. Give it a go next time you experience a headache or digestive upset and see how YOU feel. But be sure to snap a picture for Instagram first!

By Peppiina Niemi

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