Full of antioxidants and packed with essential vitamins and minerals, most berries provide an excellent addition to the human diet – but, in this repsect, there is arguably one berry that sits above all the others.
Golden Berries (Physalis Peruviana), also known as the Aztec Berry or the Cape Gooseberry, are one of the more recent superfoods to enter the mainstream health and fitness market. Suggested to aid weight loss, reduce the risk of developing diabetes, and improve function, these berries have been shown to provide a host of positive health benefits in the human body.
This small yellow fruit is actually closely related to the tomato plant, and was used frequently in traditional South American medicinal practices, where their consumption was said to improve health, cure disease, and remove toxins from the body.
Now eaten on a near daily basis by the health conscious, these berries provide a simple, yet highly beneficial, addition to the diet.
The Nutritional Content of Golden Berries
Easily recognized by their golden skin and sweet flavor, golden berries contain an abundance of antioxidants, in conjunction with an extremely high concentration of Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, B2, B3, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
Each of these vitamins play important roles maintaining the optimal function of the body’s physiological processes, and as such, ensuring that they are consumed in acceptable doses is essential to promoting healthy function of the body.
An addition to this, golden berries also contain a significant amount of fiber (a whopping 3 grams of pure fiber per ounce), while acting as an excellent dietary source of essential fatty acids (specifically ‘linoleic acid’ and ‘oleic acid’).
With this in mind, fiber has been shown to positively impact the health of both the gut and the digestive system, while essential fatty acids are used in the production and repair of the body’s cells. As such, their consumption through diet is integral to improving both the function of our digestive system, and to improving health at a cellular level.
The Health Benefits of Eating Golden Berries
Golden berries are unquestionably packed full of high quality nutrients. Taking this into consideration, it’s not hard to see why golden berries interact with the body in such a positive manner. As a result, the consumption of golden berries can positively affect the body through a myriad of different ways.
Golden Berries Reduce Harmful Inflammation
When placed under either physical (think heavy labor or high intensity physical activity) or emotional stress, the body reacts by inducing an inflammatory response. In small doses, this response can cause the movement of nutrient rich fluids to specific tissues, promoting both recovery and improved function in the short term.
Unfortunately, when prolonged, this same inflammation can lead to cellular dysfunction, increased blood pressure, and potential cardiovascular dysfunction, combined with both cognitive and emotional decline.
Interestingly, specific compounds found within golden berries (for those interested, these compounds are known as ‘withanolides’) have been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory effects . As a result, the consumption of these berries can help reduce systemic inflammation, and subsequently improve function.
Golden Berries Lower Blood Sugar and May Promote Weight Loss
When we eat carbohydrate rich foods (such as those appearing within the traditional western diet many eat on a daily basis), the carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed into the blood, causing a spike in blood sugar. This ‘sugar’ (in the form of glucose molecules) is then shuttled around the body where it can be stored for future energy production.
Unfortunately, with constant carbohydrate consumption, the body becomes less efficient at moving sugar from the blood and into the body’s tissues. This causes a sustained increase in blood sugar that has shown strong associations with a number of health implications, including metabolic disease, type II diabetes, and heart disease.
Golden berries actually contain a compound that inhibits the enzymes responsible for the breakdown and digestion of carbohydrates in the gut. By inhibiting this enzyme, we absorb less carbohydrates and therefore see a smaller blood sugar response .
This can cause a prolonged decrease in blood sugar over time, which has a number of positive health benefits. In addition to this, as we are now absorbing less energy from the food we eat, we may also see an increased rate of weight loss as a result.
Golden Berries Lower Blood Cholesterol
As touched on above, golden berries are extremely rich in the essential fatty acids, linoleic and oleic fatty acid.
The consumption of these specific fatty acids have shown to have an extremely positive impact on the levels of cholesterol in the blood, by causing an increase in HDL cholesterol (also known as ‘good’ blood cholesterol) in combination with a reduction on LDL cholesterol (also known as ‘bad’ blood cholesterol) .
By causing an improvement in our cholesterol ratio, golden berries have a highly protective effect on the body, reducing our risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a host of risk factors associated, including high blood pressure and arterial plaque buildup .
Do Golden Berries Have Any Side Effects?
Despite the exceptional positives associated with the regular consumption of golden berries, it is important to touch on some of the potential negatives.
In an unripen state, these berries contain a compound that can be toxic to humans, and can cause immediate illness as a result of their consumption. As such, if you do happen to come across them out in the open, don’t consume them without paying close attention to their state of growth.
Additionally, those individuals who are allergic to other berries (with specific emphasis on blueberries and raspberries) may want to check with their doctor before consuming golden berries, as their allergenic compounds are closely related.
Golden berries are one of the healthiest berries on the planet. Not only do they contain a host of essential vitamins and minerals that can improve function, but have also shown to reduce blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and even promote weight loss.
As an added bonus, these berries are incredibly simple to consume – just add them to your muesli in the morning or eat them alone as a tasty snack.
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