Fruits are indeed a wholesome bounty offered by Mother Nature, which provide both great taste and good health, with several varieties being available all-year round. While the rich mangoes abound in the summer and creamy custard apples thrive in the monsoon/winter, an equally succulent albeit lesser known seasonal fruit that is available in the spring in India is the Golden Berry, locally known by its Hindi name Rasbhari. These tiny orange fruits have a subtly sweetened tart flavor like that of a pineapple and are filled with vital nutrients that provide amazing health benefits including uplifting immunity, improving eyesight and lowering inflammation in the body.
The Golden Berry Plant:
Bearing the scientific name Physalis peruviana and belonging to the nightshade i.e. Solanaceae botanical family that includes tomato, potato, eggplant, the golden berry fruit resembles a tomatillo. It is known by many other common names such as Peruvian ground cherry, cape gooseberry and strawberry tomato. While in India, golden berry or rasbhari is widely cultivated in the high altitude tropical regions amid the hilly areas of North and South India, it is in fact not indigenous to the Asian subcontinent but is actually native to South America. Extensively propagated in Columbia, Peru, Chile at the elevated landscapes, golden berries are also grown in the warm parts of Central America, South Africa and China.
The Physalis peruviana plant is a perennial vine-like tree with a soft woody bark, reaching a height of 2 – 3 feet and growing vastly in sunny regions with well-drained or loamy soils. With purple branches displaying thread-like projections that hold heart-shaped velvety dark green leaves, flowers that bloom from this plant are yellow, bell-shaped with brown marks. The physalis fruit is a small berry, with a smooth, globular green outer skin when raw which turns vivid yellow to orange and becomes papery once ripened. This crusty outer calyx is removed before consuming the golden berry fruit, which is pulpy with many minuscule seeds and has a slightly sweet, tangy, juicy flavor. The delicious tart taste of the golden berry makes it ideal to be eaten raw, in the dried form, in fruit salads, as well as incorporated into jams, pies, juices, jellies and sauces.
Nutrition Content In Golden Berry/Physalis Peruviana Fruit:
Not only are the tiny physalis fruits a mouth-watering delight, but they are also brimming with valuable components which aid in augmenting overall wellbeing. Being inherently low in calories, with ample dietary fibres, proteins and negligible fat content, ground berry is a useful addition to the weight loss diet and serves as a healthy snack to fulfill the appetite and curb untimely cravings. It is laden with vitamins C, B1, B2, B3, as well as vitamin A and K, which boost defence mechanism, regulate metabolism, enhance vision and ensure optimal blood clotting processes in the system. Moreover, ground berries are a storehouse of key minerals – iron for healthy red blood cell synthesis, calcium and phoshorous for strong bones and joints, while also comprising a treasure trove of antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. These phytonutrients consist of phenolic compounds, withanolides and anthocyanins, which reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and promote optimal health.
Health Benefits Of Golden Berry/Physalis Peruviana Fruit:
Uplifts Immune System
Comprising vast reserves of vitamin C that holds potent antioxidant activity, golden berry is a splendid fruit for optimal immunity. It aids in treating cough, cold, flu in the monsoon/winter while also decreasing the risk of chronic ailments like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative conditions of Alzheimer’s, dementia.
Fosters Strong Bones And Joints
Golden berry is imbued with bone-fortifying minerals of calcium and phosphorous, which improve the strength and resilience of the hard connective tissues in the body. By helping maintain increased bone density and range of motion of the joints, golden berry effectively lessens the onset of debilitating disorders of arthritis, osteoporosis, joint injuries and fractures.
Housing copious amounts of antioxidants such as phenol constituents and withanolides, golden berries effectively shield the healthy cells and tissues from oxidative free radical damage. In this manner, harmful toxins are thwarted from attacking the organs in the body, thereby lowering inflammation in the tissues and averting the risk of cancer.
Enhances Eye Health
Bestowed with vitamin A, as well as carotenoid antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, golden berries work wonders in ameliorating eye disorders and bolstering vision. These beneficial components safeguard the visual organelles of retina, cornea, eye lens and optic nerve from detrimental effects of pathogens and free radicals, thus uplifting eyesight.
Golden berry possesses noteworthy amounts of anthocyanin antioxidants, which protect the cardiac cells, tissues and prevent clogging of blood vessels with cholesterol, fatty acids. Furthermore, soluble pectin fibres control blood cholesterol levels, thus easing tension in the heart muscles, valves, lowering high blood pressure and alleviating hypertension symptoms.
No doubt, the Physalis peruviana fruit, also termed golden berry, ground cherry, Rasbhari, is blessed with the goodness of essential nutrients – fibres, proteins, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins, which preserve overall wellbeing. From controlling high blood pressure to augmenting disease resistance and averting the onset of cancer, this tiny succulent tart fruit supplies immense health benefits. Relish these golden berry fruits in measures portions as part of the regular diet to reap the excellent wellness incentives they confer.