Golden Berries: See the Benefits of This Trendy Superfood
Move over raisins. There’s a new tangy, sweet, and chewy fruit to add to your trail mix, toss into a salad, blend in a smoothie, or stir into your overnight oats: golden berries. Golden berries (aka Physalis peruviana, cape gooseberries, Incan berries, Peruvian groundcherry, or poha berry) are an orangish-gold colored “berry” that have been cultivated in South America for hundreds of years and are now grown around the globe from California to Taiwan to Great Britain.
They have an appealing sweet, yet tart flavor that’s been described as similar to a kumquat, a sour mango, or pineapple and can be eaten fresh or dried or made into jams, chutneys, and puddings. 1
They’re also nutrient-rich. Golden berries are a good source of vitamins A and C as well as anti-inflammatory bioflavonoids. Another benefit of golden berries is, like raisins but unlike other dried fruits, they typically contain no added sugars, oils, or preservatives. It’s just the fruit. Plus, it’s a lower-sugar fruit. (Golden berries contain around 14 grams of sugar per ¼ cup, whereas a similar serving of cranberries contain 29 grams and raisins contain 25 grams.)
Golden Berries Nutrition Facts
Fresh golden berries first came from the Andes mountains in Peru and Ecuador. While they are called berries, they’re actually a marble-sized, round fruit that’s a relative to tomatoes and is most closely related to tomatillos. In fact, like the tomatillo, they naturally come wrapped in their own papery packaging that is removed before eating. (Dried berries have already had the husk removed.)
Both fresh and dried golden berries are typically consumed as a snack, but they can also be added to cakes, sweets, and other baked goods as well as combined with nuts for a healthy trail mix or added to salads. A serving (about ¼ cup) of dried golden berries contains 110 calories and is packed with nutrients, including vitamins A, C, D, K, as well as B vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. They also supply minerals like iron, phosphorus, and calcium.
Benefits of Golden Berries
Perhaps most beneficial, however, is their rich array of antioxidants. Golden berries provide polyphenols and carotenoids. They’re also a good source of fiber, with a serving of dried golden berries providing 5 grams (with 20 grams of total carbs, or about 15 grams of net carbs), and they even provide 2 grams of protein.
When it comes to the top health benefits of golden berries, they provide nutritional support that may:
- Help protect and repair free radical damage, which is linked to disease as well as accelerated aging 2
- Support healthy levels of inflammation 3,4
- Help stabilize blood sugar levels due to the high fiber content
- Support eye health due to the high carotenoid content 5,6
- Benefit bone health as they supply vitamin K, which is important for bone metabolism
- Provide immune-system support via a rich variety of polyphenols 7
- Support weight management by providing a sweet treat that’s lower in calories than other dried fruits (such as raisins and cranberries)
- May improve digestion
- May reduce stress and anxiety as they provide withanolides, the same family of bioactive compounds found in the popular adaptogen Ashwagandha 8, 9
Side Effects of Golden Berries
Golden berries are typically considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts. That said, make sure your berries are ripe, as unripe berries can be high in solanine, which can lead to digestive upset, including gas, cramping, and diarrhea. 10 Ripe berries are also higher in antioxidants, so you’ll get the most nutritional support from them. 5, 12 Even then, high amounts are not recommended as they have been found to be toxic in animals when massive amounts have been consumed. 11