Golden berries are little bundles of goodness that are native to South America but that can now be found all across the world. They are small, bright, orange-colored fruits that closely resemble tomatillos.
They are so appreciated worldwide that many countries have given them under their name, so they can otherwise also be recognized as Cape gooseberries, Inca berries, poha berries, husk cherries, Peruvian ground cherries, and the list does not stop here. However,, there is one single scientific name for the plant that yields these fruits: Physalis peruviana. This is why the berry is sometimes called a physalis, mainly used for decorative purposes in restaurants.
Golden berries are smaller than cherry tomatoes and are covered in a papery husk called calyx that needs to be removed before consumption. These antioxidant fruits are so popular primarily because of their tropical taste that manages to blend a bit of the mango and the pineapple aroma.
They belong to the nightshade family and prefer warm climates worldwide. People tend to like their tropical popping taste that they add golden berries to their salads; they turn them into sauces or jam.
However, these little bits of goodness are not only there to satisfy the palate. On the contrary, few people know that golden berries are also packed with nutrients and vitamins that support your body’s well-being.
Before we delve deeper, let’s look at the nutritious value these golden nuggets present. Suppose you have a 1-cup (140 grams) serving of golden berries. In that case, you can expect to benefit from 6 grams of fiber, 2,7 grams of protein, 5% of the RDI of riboflavin, 21% of the RDI of vitamin C for women, and 17% for men, 14% of the RDI of thiamine for women and 13% of the RDI for men, 8% of the RDI of phosphorus, 7% of the RDI of vitamin A for women and 6% for men. In addition, by eating these berries, you can also benefit from niacin and iron.
This excellent composition is ultimately responsible for the impressive golden berries benefits below. So let’s look a bit closer at what the golden berries’ health benefits are:
- They’re Packed With Antioxidants
That’s right; golden berries are among the fruits that hold the highest antioxidants. Antioxidants are miraculous since they help fight damaging free radicals that support the body’s natural cellular aging process.
What’s more, one study, Volatile compounds, antioxidants, and anticancer activities of Cape gooseberry fruit (Physalis peruviana L.): An in-vitro study, shows that the growth of breast and colon cancer cells was blocked as a result of the phenolic compounds in golden berries.
Antioxidants do not only protect the skin from harmful outer factors, such as powerful UV sun rays or pollution, but also heart conditions and certain cancers. Their potential health benefits are awe-inspiring, making golden berries highly potent for your immune system.
However, to get the most out of your fruits when it comes to these antioxidants, you need to remember that the skin of golden berries packs in three times more antioxidants than the pulp. Apart from this, you can get the most antioxidants when the berries are ripe. You can tell the fruit is ripe when it doesn’t have any more green spots and instead turns to a beautiful bright orange.
- They May Support Good Eye Health and Improve Vision
Golden berries are an excellent source of carotenoids, especially when ripe, among which you can also find beta-carotene and lutein, as shown by one particular study, Characterization of carotenoid profiles in goldenberry (Physalis peruviana L.) fruits at various ripening stages and in different plant tissues by HPLC-DAD-APCI-MSn.
The body typically takes beta-carotene and turns it into vitamin A, or retinol, which ultimately supports good eye health and vision while protecting the mucus membranes and promoting healthy skin.
Lutein is another carotenoid that’s an extraordinary supporter of good eye vision since it filters out high-energy blue wavelengths of light and helps maintain healthy eye cells. Lutein ultimately prevents eye diseases from developing.
Zeaxanthin and lycopene, two other essential carotenoids, may also protect from vision loss due to developing diabetes.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that a diet rich in carotenoids can decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading factor in developing blindness.
3. They Will Boost Your Immunity
As mentioned before, golden berries are an excellent source of antioxidants, among which the vital vitamin C is essential for our immune system. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it’s otherwise known, stimulates the production of white cells in the body.
Moreover, it’s also a key component in producing collagen, which supports the repair and production of cells, organs, tissues, and blood vessels. So by regularly eating golden berries as part of a healthy diet, you can ensure you’re giving your immune system the boost it needs, so it doesn’t succumb to unwanted health conditions.
If you want to get your maximum possible vitamin C intake from golden berries, ensure you eat them when they’re fully ripe, without any visible green spots on them. It’s important to remember that berries act as potential allergens to many people, so please ensure you can indulge in them before buying or picking golden berries.
4. They May Offer Anti-Inflammatory Support and Relief
Golden berries have miraculous compounds called withanolides that may have anti-inflammatory effects in your body, with the potential to protect against colon cancer, as one study shows, The Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Scripts: Poha Berry (Physalis peruviana) with Potential Anti-inflammatory and Cancer Prevention Activities.
It’s also been shown that mice with inflammatory bowel disease that were administered an extract from golden berries husk registered reduced inflammation, as another study shows, Cape Gooseberry [Physalis peruviana L.] Calyces Ameliorate TNBS Acid-induced Colitis in Rats. Apart from this, these mice also registered lower levels of inflammatory markers in their tissue.
These studies have only been conducted on mice so far. Still, they hold promising results and encourage scientists to take their research even further and test the anti-inflammatory effects of golden berries on human beings.
5. Their Thiamine Content Will Help Prevent Complication All Throughout the Body
As mentioned, golden berries have an excellent thiamine content in one serving, otherwise known as vitamin B1. This is particularly important because it helps prevent complications in the brain and nervous system, muscles, intestines, heart, and stomach. It’s also a critical element that supports a healthy flow of electrolytes into and out of the muscle and the nerve cells.
This means that vitamin B1 promotes healthy fluid balance control in the body, healthy muscle contraction, and good blood regulation. It also regulates blood pressure and acidity and helps repair damaged tissue. Whenever there’s a healthy blood flow in the body, there are also greater chances that each tissue and organ gets the nutrients they need to function and recover properly.
Vitamin B1 is so essential to the human body that if there’s a deficiency in this department, you’ll soon feel it manifesting through irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle weakness, blurry vision, nausea, and even vomiting.
Having said this, you can easily include golden berries in your regular diet to cover your vitamin B1 deficiency, as long as you pair these fruits with an active lifestyle and an already balanced and healthy diet.
How Do You Consume Golden Berries?
These delicious bits of tropical goodness are easily consumed and preferred raw when they are ripe. However, it’s important to note that if you consume them when they are still raw, your body will face a certain toxicity degree these berries hold that will manifest in unpleasant side effects throughout the body.
As a result of their pleasant taste, golden berries, these unique antioxidant fruits, can also be added to anything you are preparing – you can add them as a zesty touch to your salads, as ornaments to fancier dishes, or incorporate them in your morning muesli.
There’s a small window when golden berry production peaks, usually in late July towards early August. However, you can buy the dried-up version of these fruits anytime online or from stores. Although they’re pretty perishable, they can also withstand being kept in a bag in the freezer, covered in their husks. Refrigeration is less recommended than freezing them, though.
If you freeze or dry them up, you can later on return to them whenever you feel the craving to eat something delicious and highly nutritious. All in all, it’s important to remember that regardless of how you consume golden berries, you’ll still benefit from the myriad benefits they bring to the table.