What’s all the buzz about in the health and wellness world? Food with activated charcoal. We’ve been seeing it everywhere lately, from black pastries, lemonades and breads to pills and even toothpaste. With activated charcoal’s growing popularity in the health and wellness world, it’s time to ask the question – what are the benefits of activated charcoal, and are there any risks to using it?
First things first: always know your source. Charcoal can be made from many different things like peat, coal, wood, coconut shells, or petroleum.  Make sure you know what your charcoal is made from and how it is made. You do not want to ingest any petroleum products, so stick to organic and less processed materials.
The traditional application of activated charcoal is as a water cleanser, a use that is still relevant today. Fluoride and other heavy metals are commonly removed with the help of active charcoal filters. It is important to note, however, that it is not useful in removing viruses and bacteria from water. Now, you can find charcoal everywhere – there are many foods with activated charcoal, you can take it in pure pill or powder form, and even brush your teeth with it.
How is Activated Charcoal Made?
Activated charcoal is made by heating carbon-rich materials to a very high temperature to obtain an odorless and flavorless fine black powder. Further processing involves passing it through a series of substances such as oxygen, steam, and acids at high temperatures. This process develops several internal spaces or pores, which are used to help trap chemicals and toxins. The main question we have is – what exactly is it trapping and pulling from your body?
What Are the Benefits of Activated Charcoal for Your Health?
Activated charcoal has been and is still used today by medical practitioners to remove life-threatening toxins from the body. The molecules of toxins and certain chemicals are entrapped in the pores on the surface of activated charcoal, preventing absorption by your body. You can take full advantage of the benefits of activated charcoal by knowing exactly when to take it and what to pair it with because it absorbs toxins for about an hour after consumption.
Eating Food with Activated Charcoal
Toxins aren’t the only thing charcoal can pull from your body. It also binds to foods you have eaten -- which can be beneficial if you tend to eat more of the Standard American Diet, which is full of toxic ingredients. However, if you eat a heavily nutritious diet and occasionally introduce foods with activated charcoal, it could pull some of those vital nutrients from you and block absorption.
A potential risk to keep in mind: Charcoal not only blocks the absorption of vital nutrients, but it can also block the absorption of your medications. Amber Johnson, a Poison Information Specialist with the Utah Poison Control Center, adds to this point by stating, “If you are taking a medication that requires a certain dosage to be effective you may be putting yourself at risk.” Consult your doctor before regularly ingesting activated charcoal (small quantities, like what’s used in our charcoal bread, should not affect this).
What Are Some Activated Charcoal Uses?
Activated charcoal is known to soothe stomach trouble and harden soft stool or diarrhea. In certain studies, it helps with bloating, stomach cramps, and gas as well. This is because it can absorb and pull what is making your stomach upset and help the body pass it. While it may help to harden stool, consuming too much charcoal can lead to bowel blockages, or constipation, meaning if you ingest more than your body can take, it may slow your digestive system. So, be careful to use a proper dosage. Adults and teens should consume no more than 25 grams of charcoal daily. 
Food with Activated Charcoal Helps with Cholesterol Levels
Some studies have found that activated charcoal can be helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, as it pulls oils from your skin and body. So, if you eat a lot of heavy oils, you may find charcoal helpful, because it helps reduce the body’s absorption of fats.
Support Your Wellness with These Activated Charcoal Uses
In the culinary world activated charcoal is widely used as a much safer alternative to traditional black food dyes. Charcoal is a naturally-sourced material and requires very small amounts to dye foods and drinks black.
The Bottom Line
When consuming activated charcoal, pay attention to what you eat and remember to keep your body well hydrated, always, but especially when pairing foods with activated charcoal. Please consult your doctor if you are taking medications before adding charcoal to your daily routine.
Choose YAYE Organics to Kickstart Your Health JourneyIn addition to offering foods with high quality activated charcoal, YAYE Organics offers plant-based meal subscriptions that help you meet all your nutritional needs. Our fresh meal delivery in Denver offers 100+ rotating menu items so that you can enjoy the freshest and most diverse meals each week. View our weekly delivery menu to select your nutrient-packed meals and we’ll take it from there.