Cape gooseberries are small delicious tropical fruits that can be grown even in a kitchen garden. From its name Cape, it was first grown in Cape of Good hope in South Africa. These orange berries are highly nutritious with a variety of health benefits. Around the world cape gooseberries have interesting unique names e.g ground cherries, pygmy ground cherry, Physalis peruviana, golden strawberry, pearly round yolkimabobs, Inca berry among others.
Cape gooseberry is indeed an edible natural herb that is used in fruit salads, drinks, as well as in desert with apple and honey. Gooseberries are popular in the western hemisphere and other areas.
They contain polyphenols, calcium, phosphorous, carotenoids, withanolides, melatonin, iron, potassium, fiber , protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pectin, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
The following health actions are associated with Cape gooseberry – anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, purgative, anti-cancer, taxative, diuretic and antihepatotoxic.
Nutritional value of cape gooseberries.
- Calories 74.2
- Energy (53kcal)
- Carbohydrates (11.2g)- 12.06% of DV
- Fat (0.7g)- 2.08% of DV
- Protein (1.9g)- 5.32% of DV
- Vitamin A (36 μg)- 7.14% of DV
- Vitamin B1(0.11 mg)- 12.83% of DV
- Vitamin B2 (0.04mg)- 4.31% of DV
- Vitamin B3 (2.8mg)-24.50% of DV
- Vitamin C(11mg)- 17.11% of DV
- Calcium (9mg)- 1.30% of DV
- Iron (1mg)- 17.50% of DV
- Phosphorous (40mg)- 8.00% of DV
- The fruit is also rich in pectin and has adequate amount of polyphenols, withanolides, melatonin and carotenoids.
NOTE: DV- Daily Value
The Cape gooseberry is widely used in traditional Colombian medicine as an antidiabetic treatment. A research done identified the compounds responsible for the hypoglycemic activity .This study established the potential of sucrose esters as α-amylase inhibitors and to explain the hypoglycemic effect that has traditionally been attributed to gooseberry fruit. These berries have been shown to provide significant health benefits because of their high antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber (Zhao, 2007).
Here are 7 Health benefits of Cape gooseberries (physalis peruviana).
1. Anti- inflammation: Considering the fact that Cape gooseberry has polyphenols and antioxidants, they are used for many medical uses such as anti asthmatic, anti helmenthic, anti spasmodic, anti septic, anti inflammatory, purgative, laxative and good for stomach related disorders.
These antioxidants fight with the free radicals in our body and stabilizes them. This prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells. Free radicals(the unstabilized ions that get formed during the oxidation process in our body) steals electrons from the neighboring molecules thus preventing our cells from the oxidative damage. It also reduces the risks of different types of cancers like skin cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancers among others.
2. Improves eye health: Cape gooseberries are a great option for your eyes. Thanks to the high amounts of carotenoids they contain, they are perfect for a superb eyesight and the overall health of your eyes.
Carotenoids gets rid of oxidative stress on the ocular system, preventing the development of cataracts and slowing the onset of macular degeneration, keeping your vision in top working order as you age.
3. Boost immunity: The high amounts of vitamin C in ground cherries boosts your immunity keeping diseases and infections at bay. Eating them on a daily basis will reduce your frequent visits to hospital.
4. Can manage Diabetes: Fructose is a soluble fiber found in ground cherries which can prove beneficial to patients with diabetes. They can help lower blood sugar level. This benefit of physalis peruviana is because of its low glycemic index. This means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slower rate, and thus prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level.
Additionally, the dietary fibers present in them slows down the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream and thus helps in managing diabetes.
NOTE: Eating a lot of golden berries may lower the blood sugar to a dangerously low level, and this may increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
5. Keeping digestive system healthy: Dietary fibers present in the Cape gooseberries act as a natural laxative. This means it improves bowel movements and ensures smooth elimination of waste from our body. This not only provides relief from constipation but it is also beneficial for treating digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome, flatulence, abdominal pain, indigestion, etc.
NOTE: It’s best to eat them in moderation since over consumption of dietary fibers may bring problems like malabsorption, intestinal blockage indigestion,intestinal gas etc.
6. High Blood Pressure(Hbp) Management: Eating cape gooseberries regularly has been found to be very beneficial for people with high blood pressure or hypertension. Hbp is a major health concern that affects millions of people around the globe, and is also a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems like heart attack, irregular heartbeat, heart stroke etc.
They are effective in treating hypertension because of the presence of “Potassium” in it. Potassium is an important mineral that acts as a natural vasodilator. This means that it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus helps in controlling high blood pressure.
NOTE: It is advisable to eat them moderately. This is because too much potassium in our body may lower your blood pressure to a dangerously low level, and this may increase the risk of hypotension.
7. Healthy Weight gain: Consuming 100 grams of physalis peruviana provides around 53 calories of energy, which means one can enjoy eating them without worrying about excess calories.
However, put in mind that golden berries are not completely calorie free and if you consume them in excessive quantity for a prolonged period of time, then these calories can quickly add up. And, if you are already taking enough calories through your diet to meet your calorie intake, then eating too many golden berries may lead to weight gain.
How to eat Cape gooseberries.
- You can choose to dip the fruits in chocolate or other coatings or pricked and rolled in sugar.
- Fruit Salads: Fruits can be eaten raw in fruit salads, fruit cocktails, in cooked dishes or processed into jams or even canned whole in syrup or as juice.
- Dessert: Fruits are stewed with honey and eaten as dessert in Colombia.
- Raisins: Cape gooseberries can also be dried into tasty “raisins”.
- In Britain their husk is used as a handle for dipping the fruit in icing.
- Pies and puddings: The berries are great for snacks as well as for making puddings, pies, jellies, ice cream, sauces, jams, preserves, chutneys and glazes for meat and seafood.
Traditional uses of Cape gooseberries around the world.
- It is also a common medicinal herb in India, used by Muthuvan tribes living in the Shola forest regions against jaundice.
- Cape gooseberries is traditionally used in folk medicine for dealing with diseases like hepatitis, dermatitis, malaria, rheumatism, dermatitis, malaria, asthma, and leukemia.
- Heated leaves are applied as a medical dressing on inflammations in South Africa.
- In Colombia,leaf decoction is taken as a diuretic and an antiasthmatic.
- To relieve abdominal pains in children, Zulus of South Africa administer the leaf infusion as an enema.
Also read: 9 Health benefits of Custard Apple.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my very best to keep the information contained in this post as updated and accurate as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.