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 all around the world, that many countries gave them their own 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 and that is Physalis peruviana. This is why the berry is also called a physalis sometimes, especially when it’s used towards decorative purposes in restaurants.
Golden berries are smaller than cherry tomatoes and they are covered in a papery husk, named calyx, that needs to be removed before consuming. These antioxidant fruits are so popular mostly 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 all around the world. People tend to like their tropical popping taste that they add golden berries to their salads, they turn them into sauces or into jam.
However these little bits of goodness are not only there to satisfy the palate. On the contrary, few people actually know that golden berries are also packed with a load of nutrients and vitamins that support your body’s well-being.
Before we delve in deeper, let’s look at the nutritious value these golden nuggets present. If you have a 1-cup (140 grams) serving of golden berries, 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. By eating these berries, you can also benefit from niacin and iron.
This wonderful 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:
1. They’re Packed With Antioxidants
That’s right, golden berries are among the fruits to hold the highest content of antioxidants out there. Antioxidants are really 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 from heart conditions and certain cancers. Their potential health benefits are truly impressive, making golden berries extremely potent for your immune system.
However if you want to get the most out of your fruits when it comes to these antioxidants, you need to remember that the skin of golden berries pack 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 on it and has instead turned to a beautiful bright orange.
2. 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 also protecting the mucus membranes and promoting a 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 eyes cells in the eye. Lutein ultimately prevents eye diseases from developing.
Zeaxanthin and lycopene, other two important carotenoids, may also protect from vision loss as a result of 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 that’s so important for our immune system. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid as it’s otherwise known as, stimulates the production of white cells in the body.
What’s more, it’s also a key component in producing collagen, which supports the repair and production of cells, organs, tissues and blood vessels. 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 any unwanted health conditions.
If you want to get your maximum possible vitamin C intake from golden berries, make sure 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 make sure 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, but 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 before, golden berries have a great content of thiamine in one serving, otherwise known as vitamin B1. This is particularly important health-wise, since it helps prevent complications from developing in the brain and nervous system, muscles, intestines, heart and stomach. It’s also a key 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, acidity and helps repair damaged tissue in the body. Whenever there’s a healthy flow of blood in the body, there are also greater chances that each tissue and organ gets the nutrients they need in order 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 in order 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 prefered raw, when they are ripe. It’s important to take 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 amazing 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 simply incorporate them in your morning muesli.
There’s a small window when golden berry production reaches its peak and that usually happens in late July towards early August. However you can buy the dried up version of these fruits any time 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 not as recommended as 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 choose to consume golden berries, you’ll still benefit from the myriad golden berry benefits they bring to the table.