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Benefits of Eating Activated Charcoal

by Danielle Miracle

Photo @baelittletokyo

The charcoal trend started with face masks, moved on to teeth whitening, and now it has taken over the kitchen with activated charcoal becoming a key ingredient in recipes. Food with activated charcoal has been dominating Instagram, and it’s not just the unique and striking look of the black food that is getting everyone’s attention. 

What is it?

So what is activated charcoal? Activated charcoal is created when a source of carbon—i.e. wood or coconut shells--is burned. The heat removes all of the oxygen and leaves a highly absorbent material with countless tiny pores that capture, bind and remove heavy metals, chemicals and poisons. Don’t worry, this is not the kind of charcoal you use to light your barbecue.

How does it work?

The charcoal has a negative electrical charge, which means it attracts positively charged molecules such as toxins and gases. When you digest activated charcoal, the toxins and chemicals in your body are trapped in the gut and will not be absorbed. Since the body does not absorb activated charcoal, it can carry the toxins all the way through your digestive system.

Why does it work?

Activated charcoal isn’t added to food for its delicious taste (probably because there isn’t one!). It is added to food for its benefits.

Treats Hangovers

Instead of water, aspirin or any other home remedy, activated charcoal can be used to help with hangovers. It can actually remove alcohol from the body, and removes the toxins that cause headaches or muscle pain.

Emergency Poison Treatment

Activated charcoal can be used quickly in case of an emergency, such as digesting a harmful chemical, substance or poison. It has been used as a poison antidote since the early 1800s.

Promotes Kidney Function

It can help promote kidney function by lowering the amount of waste products that the kidneys have to filter.

Reduces Cholesterol

Activated charcoal may lower cholesterol because it binds with cholesterol and cholesterol-containing bile acids in the gut, which prevents the body from absorbing them.

Decreases Bloating

Activated charcoal will not decrease the inches around your waist. However, it will decrease bloating. Charcoal helps cleanse the intestines and colons, which can help with bloating.


Since activated charcoal pulls toxins from the body, it can be a great detoxifier.

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