That was probably your first thought seeing the title of this article. Never fear, cape gooseberries are known by several names. You might know them by one of those. Depending on where you are in the world you’ll hear golden gooseberry, orange gooseberry, ground berry, Inca berry, ground cherry, Aztec berry, Rasbhari, uchuva, and many more. Some people even call them Chinese lanterns because of the papery covering over each individual berry.
Still don’t know what they are? The scientific name is Physalis peruviana but good luck finding a grocery store worker that knows them by that name. You’ll have better luck bringing this article along and showing them the photo.
Whatever you call them, these little guys are packed full of healthy goodness. Seriously, they’re so healthy you can feel yourself getting healthier as you eat them.
1. Antioxidant Power
No doubt you’ve heard a lot about what antioxidants can do for you. Their free radical-fighting power is key in staving off a number of diseases, including certain types of cancers.
Cape gooseberries are small, roughly the size of grapes, but they are packed with rich polyphenols and carotenoids, as well as other antioxidants. The concentration of antioxidants is so high, they even beat out the famous Goji berries!
Withanolides aren’t a subject that comes up often in discussion. They occur naturally in some foods and plants but are relatively rare. However, they are extremely important.
Withanolides appear to have some serious cancer-killing abilities. They’ve been shown to cause cancer cell death for certain kinds of cancers, as well as combat tumors and regulate the immune system.
You’ve probably already guessed it, but cape gooseberries are one of the few foods that contain a healthy serving of withanolides. We don’t recommend you eat a fixed diet of only cape gooseberries if you’re battling cancer, but a handful of berries a day certainly won’t hurt.
3. Better Vision
Cape gooseberries are also an excellent source of Vitamin A and other carotenoids. What does that mean for your health? Improved vision and eye health, among other things.
Carotenoids reduce oxidative stress on your ocular system. That means that you’ll be less likely to develop cataracts or macular degeneration as you age. If you get enough of these nutrients, that is.
4. Immune System Booster
Vitamin A also helps strengthen and improve the immune system. But wait, isn’t the star nutrient of the immune system Vitamin C? Yes, it is, and cape gooseberries pack a punch when it comes to Vitamin C as well. Just one serving provides almost 15% of the recommended daily intake.
The effect of both these nutrients and other antioxidants in the fruit add up to some serious immune boosting power!
5. Bone Strength
Worried about osteoporosis? Then you should definitely look into adding some cape gooseberries to your diet. These little nutrient bombs have a healthy serving of both calcium and phosphorus. These are both nutrients integral to building and maintaining bone strength.
Inflammation is a problem that contributes to quite a few diseases. Arthritis, gout, asthma, muscles aches, and even hemorrhoids are affected and/or caused by inflammation in the body.
The good news is that many foods are rich in anti-inflammatory properties that can help combat these problems. Therefore, it pays to make sure that you’re eating plenty of anti-inflammatory foods.
As you may have guessed, cape gooseberries have plenty of anti-inflammatory properties. They are full of anthocyanins, which are principal in avoiding inflammation caused by pain or swelling. Plus, the polyphenols and other antioxidants we mentioned earlier are also helpful with diseases like asthma that are essentially the result of inflammation.
7. Cholesterol Control
If you need to lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, cape gooseberries are a good way to do it. The polyphenols and carotenoids that we’ve already mentioned prove very helpful in lowering bad cholesterol levels. But those aren’t the only nutrients that help.
Soluble pectin fiber, oleic, and linoleic acid also are helpful for establishing the correct balance of good and bad cholesterol. As you know, the right balance makes for a happy, healthy heart, which is exactly what you want!
8. Diabetes Control
Drastic blood sugar changes are dangerous for those suffering from diabetes. Foods that can help regulate and control blood sugar can help diabetics control their disease and lower their dependence on insulin-regulating drugs.
Cape gooseberries have plenty of soluble fiber that help do just that. The fiber helps slow the breakdown of carbohydrates into simple sugars so that the sugar is released more slowly into the bloodstream. This helps the body keep its blood sugar stable and avoid the dreaded spikes that are difficult for the diabetic system to handle.
9. Weight Loss
It seems like no list of benefits of a healthy food would be complete without weight loss. But the truth is that cape gooseberries can help with that too. They are a great way to get a healthy dose of vitamins and nutrients with a very low calorie count.
When you’re feeling hungry reach for a handful of cape gooseberries for a satisfying snack. They can even replace other healthy, but high-calorie snacks like almonds or walnuts.
Try a Cape Gooseberry Today!
With all these great benefits, you can’t deny that cape gooseberries would make a great addition to your diet. The berries have a sweet but tart flavor that some describe as reminiscent of sweet tart candies. The flavor is unique and hard to describe, you’ll just have to try them yourself!
Note: Unripe cape gooseberries can actually be poisonous. Some reports indicate that ancient tribes even used them to poison/kill their enemies. For this reason, it is recommended to buy cape gooseberries and don’t go looking for them in the wild. Plus, be sure that they have a nice yellowish, orange color to ensure that they are fully ripe.
My name is Cara Koch, i’m a freelance writer originally from the United States but now I live in Costa Rica with my husband and daughter. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics including health and wellness, pets, travel, culture, and adventure! I combined my passion for photography with writing by launching my own blog (www.lavidainlife.com) about Costa Rican culture, complete with loads of beautiful photos I take myself on our adventures around Costa Rica. As they say in Costa Rica, ¡Pura Vida! Follow me on Facebook