Is Charcoal The New Superfood?

By Rachel Stevenson - 25 Mar 2015

You’ve heard of chia seeds, you’ve had kale with everything and you’ve argued with your colleagues over how to say quinoa correctly (it’s keen-wah by the way,) but we bet you haven’t heard of the latest superfood everyone’s raving about…

Every week it seems there’s a new ‘superfood’ that you just HAVE to try and this week is no different. And the superfood in question? Charcoal. It's not just any charcoal though... No, no, we’re talking about ‘activated charcoal.’ Activated charcoal is common charcoal (like the stuff found in your BBQ) that’s heated to a high temperature which opens thousands of tiny pores making it highly absorbent.

But why should we be adding this mysterious black powder to our food or drinks? According to the internet (and everything you read on the internet is true, you know,) the pores that exist on activated charcoal absorb toxins in your body and since your body doesn’t digest charcoal, toxins will cling to it and exit the body with it. And yes, alcohol is one of these toxins (hello new hangover cure!) As well as helping rid your body of said toxins, it can also be used to treat poisoning through the same method. Good to know! You can buy this activated charcoal in powder form and add it to coffee or your morning smoothie or simply buy it already blended into a juice (we love Pressed Juices' Black Lemonade).

What’s more, it’s also rumoured to whiten your teeth (just dab a bit of the powder on your toothbrush before you brush), is a natural antibacterial so will get rid of bad breath and can even be used as a face wash to absorb oil and dirt build-up that cause breakouts.

So, is this just another superfood fad? Well, not exactly. Activated carbon has been used for over 10,000 years, firstly by the Chinese but also in Western medicine. But before you go heating up some charcoal and adding it to your morning latte, it’s worth noting that because of its excellent adsorption abilities, charcoal can interfere with any other medication or supplements you might be taking as it traps everything, not just the bad stuff. So it’s best used just occasionally as a detoxifier and if in doubt, check with your doctor before going ham on the stuff. 

Now, who’s up for a charcoal smoothie?

Image credit: @msbbanks

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