Gooseberries are not nearly as common as some other fruits, and vary depending on the country of origin. However, they are worth seeking out, as they offer much in the way of health promoting nutrients.
Both American and European gooseberries are in the same family as red, black and white currants. Chinese gooseberries are referred to as kiwis, while cape gooseberries are native to South America and are popular for jams.
Perhaps one gooseberry that more people are familiar with is the Indian gooseberry, or amla. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, this berry has been shown to be highly effective for centuries to treat all sorts of ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer (more on this to come).
Thousands of varieties of gooseberries have been grown in England for a very long time, but have only recently gained popularity in the United States.
The fresh picked berries will keep well for several days in the refrigerator. They also freeze nicely for future use. One gooseberry bush will supply you with several quarts of berries, enough for multiple pies or several jars of jam
All gooseberries are packed with dietary fiber, containing 6.4 grams in each cup, or about one-quarter of the amount recommended for adults to consume each day. Like many other fruits, they’re considered to be an effective natural laxative that helps clean the intestinal tract of accumulated matter, therefore aiding in the relief of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. As fiber helps to bind toxins, including cancer-causing agents in the colon, they can also help protect against colon cancer.
Indian gooseberries are best known for their potent antioxidant properties. A 2009 study revealed that the gooseberry contains a vast number of antioxidants, including flavonoids, tannins, phenols and vitamin C. One cup of gooseberries contains approximately the same amount of vitamin C as a small orange.
Antioxidants, including vitamin C, help to battle against free radical damage. This helps to protect us from all types of degenerative diseases and also provides anti-aging benefits.
Indian gooseberries are believed to support a healthy heart by fighting the buildup of plaque in the arteries and preventing oxidative stress. When plaque starts to accumulate, the blood cannot travel through the arteries as easily, placing stress on the heart. It can also cause high blood pressure, circulation problems and contribute to heart disease.
According to Dr. Josh Axe, author of The Real Food Diet Cookbook, research has found that these gooseberries can help lower bad, or LDL, cholesterol and prevent it from sticking to arterial walls, further helping to prevent heart disease and heart attack.
Gooseberries also offer cosmetic benefits. Simply eating the fruit can help make your hair healthier, longer and more lustrous, as well as improving the appearance of the skin. Mixing gooseberry powder (sometimes referred to as amla powder) with water makes an excellent tonic that will nourish hair, adding luster and shine. Just mix together and allow the paste to sit overnight. The next day, apply it to your hair and leave on for several hours before washing with a gentle natural shampoo.
If you’d like to try fresh gooseberries but can’t find them, you might consider purchasing gooseberry plants and growing your own. If your local nursery doesn’t have them, there are a number of mail order nurseries that do. They are very hardy plants once established, requiring little care after planting, and produce heavily almost every year.
-The Alternative Daily