Move over kale, because nourishing just got a whole lot edgier (and darker at that). We’ve all seen our fair share of super foods come and go, first it was chia, then acai took over and then match moved in. And now? All hail activated charcoal. We’re officially calling it – black is the new green of 2015.
You may be familiar with the black stuff and there’s a fair chance your dad used for family BBQ’s, but it turns out charcoal is useful for so much more than just flaming up the grill. Monkeys in Africa have been self-medicating themselves with charcoal for hundreds of years for its detoxifying purposes. Their leafy diets contain high levels of cyanide (a natural compound found in some plant matter, but can be deadly in large amounts) and by eating charcoal, it binds to the toxins in the gastrointestinal tract and removes it from the body.
Monkey see, monkey do. We use it now much the same. Activated charcoal (specifically made for medicinal use) comes in tablets and powders to use for ailments such as settling an upset belly, drawing out toxins from the body and even preventing hangovers (yes, the dreaded morning after feeling). Many places are even now using it as a delicious addition to juice concoctions along with coconut and lemon, ah thank you Green Press and Pressed Juices. Activated charcoal can also whiten teeth in no time at all, and at a fraction of the cost of a treatment at the dentist. It works by brushing your teeth with the gritty stuff and removing impurities that stain teeth such as tannins from coffee, red wine, berries and tea. When used on the skin, it’s impurity ability is used along with antibacterial and anti fungal benefits.
Activated charcoal’s mechanism of action is that it’s made with ‘pores’ that trap toxins from being absorbed in the body. But I do have to ask – how does it know the difference between nutrients and the bad stuff? It’s been a positive way of detoxing the body of heavy metals and poisons, but if we aren’t at risk of that, are we just having very expensive wee when we drink it? Although there’s not a whole lotta’ science on any side effects, the best part is that there’s no chance of overdose when using for your skin or when brushing your teeth…