Gooseberries are small oval-shaped fruits that grow in temperate climates, mainly in Europe, North America, Siberia, and the Northern Hemisphere.
They resemble grapes in appearance but are more closely linked to currants. They are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and polyphenols.
These small fruits are very low in calories and are cholesterol-free along with essential nutrients Vitamin A & C.
Their exterior surface might be smooth or fuzzy (hairy), and veins can be seen. A berry’s inside may contain 15-30 small edible seeds.
The berries are typically 1-2 cm wide and weigh between 4 and 10 g. Raw berries are only available for a short duration during summer and are available in temperate regions only, so canned gooseberries are a great substitute.
Nutritional Value of a 100 gms serving of Gooseberries:
The Nutritive value of 100 gram serving of gooseberry according to USDA [Ref]
|Total Fat||0.58 g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||4.3 g||11%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.286 mg||6%|
|Vitamin A||290 IU||10%|
|Vitamin C||27.7 mg||46%|
Varieties of Gooseberries
Gooseberries are mainly classified into two main groups
- European gooseberry: Ribes grossularia var. uva-crispa
- American gooseberry: Ribes hirtellum
Several other types of gooseberries include:
- Indian Gooseberry: Phyllanthus emblica also known as amla in the subcontinent, is different in shape and light green with a bitter taste. They are loaded with Vitamin C and Antioxidants that’s why they are highly acidic and bitter.
- Cape gooseberry: Physalis peruviana is also known as Peruvian cherry in the US, it is small and has orange-yellow color.
Antioxidants found in Gooseberries:
The antioxidants found in gooseberries include:
- Flavanols: These include quercetin, myricetin, and kaempferol. Flavanols are known to reduce LDL levels and improve cardiovascular health.
- Phenolic acids: These include caffeic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and ellagic acid. These are found to be very effective in slowing the process of Arteriosclerosis.
- Tannins: These are found in Indian gooseberries (amla) tannins include emblicanin, punigluconin, pedunculagin, etc.
Health Benefits of Gooseberries:
Gooseberries are loaded with phytochemicals and are very beneficial. Some of the health benefits include:
Gooseberries’ role in the prevention of Heart Diseases:
Gooseberries are rich in flavonols and phenolic acids. These compounds have a cardio-protective effect and they help in slowing down the progression of Arteriosclerosis.
One study which examined the effect of dietary flavanols on the heart concluded that consumption of flavanols was inversely related to a reduction in ischemic heart disease mortality rate. [Ref]
Some studies have also mentioned the effect of flavanols on vascular function. They have been found to improve vascularization and cause vasodilation.
Gooseberries are a good source of healthful fiber, with 6.5 g of fiber in 1 cup of raw gooseberries.
Fiber consumption, particularly soluble fiber (typically found in berries), is closely linked to a lower risk of heart disease Gooseberries include both fiber and potassium, which can assist to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Indian gooseberries have been shown to have antihypertensive, hypolipidemic, antiplatelet, anticoagulant, and vasodilatory effects.
Studies conclude that it improved vascular endothelial function and prevents both ischemic heart disease and isoproterenol cardiotoxicity. [Ref]
Anti-cancer properties of Gooseberries:
Gooseberries have several phytochemicals that exhibit anti-cancer properties. For instance, Quercetin, found in gooseberries inhibits the growth of cancer cells and induces autophagy.
A study on the anticancer properties of Indian gooseberries suggests that Polyphenols and hydrolyzable tannin-derived substances found in them act as antioxidants.
Ellagic acid, gallic acid, and chebulagic acid are three well-studied examples. In reaction to carcinogens and reactive oxygen species, these and other tannins from Indian gooseberries have been shown to reduce mutagenesis and lipid peroxidation.
These are also shown to be beneficial against breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers.[Ref]
Prevention of Diabetes:
Although people with diabetes need to control their portion size of fruits along with careful monitoring of the glycemic index of each fruit.
Gooseberries have been found to have a hypoglycemic effect in prediabetic individuals. The Indian variety has been shown to induce fasting hypoglycemia in diabetic and prediabetic individuals although further clinical research is needed in this regard.[Ref]
Gooseberries’ role in Dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Cognitive Function:
Gooseberries, particularly the Indian variety have a cognitive role. It is known to improve brain function due to the presence of phenols and tannins in abundant quantities.
Many studies suggest that it has a beneficial role in slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.
It has the ability to diminish a wide range of Alzheimer’s disease pathogenic processes. Indeed, recent animal studies relevant to AD found that co-administration of Amla tannoids inhibited tau hyperphosphorylation by targeting the GSK-3/Akt signaling pathway.
It also reduced symptoms of oxidative stress in rats which were treated intraperitoneally with Aluminum chloride to produce toxicity in the brain. These results suggest that amla has promising effects to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.[Ref]
It can also be protective against other neurological disorders such as tardive dyskinesia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression, and Huntington’s disease but further research is needed in this area.[Ref]
Protective role of gooseberries in muscular degeneration:
At present, age-related muscular degeneration is becoming a common complication in elder people. Indian Gooseberry is a nutraceutical substance that has a cytoprotective role.
Studies prove that amla extract improved live cell number, reduced apoptosis, and oxidative stress, and improved mitochondrial membrane potential in AMD in vitro studies.[Ref]
Gooseberries’ role in wound healing:
Gooseberries are loaded with vitamin C, zinc, and Vitamin E. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and a key precursor to collagen production (necessary for skin integrity) that’s why Vitamin C is important for wound healing. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant that aids in the process of repair. [Ref]
How are Gooseberries Stored and Consumed?
- When fresh, they are normally available for a short duration and can be consumed raw and in a mixture in a fruit salad.
- However, canned berries are easily available in grocery stores throughout the year. One thing that must be kept in mind while consuming canned berries is that they may have sugar syrup added to it.
- Fresh berries can also be used to make jams and when washed and dried, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a year.
- Indian gooseberries can also be added to pickles and chutneys.
- They can also be consumed in the form of fruit juices.