What Are Golden Berries? Everything You Need to Know
Golden berries are bright, orange-colored fruits that are closely related to the tomatillo. Like tomatillos, they are wrapped in a papery husk called a calyx that must be removed before eating.
Slightly smaller than cherry tomatoes, these fruits have a sweet, tropical taste somewhat reminiscent of pineapple and mango. Many people enjoy their juicy pop of flavor as a snack or in salads, sauces, and jams.
Golden berries are also known as Inca berry, Peruvian groundcherry, poha berry, goldenberry, husk cherry, and cape gooseberry.
They belong to the nightshade family and grow in warm places around the world.
This article tells you everything you need to know about golden berries, including their nutrition, benefits, and potential side effects.
Packed With Nutrients
Golden berries have an impressive nutrient profile.
They hold a moderate number of calories, providing 74 per cup (140 grams). The majority of their calories come from carbs.
The same serving size also packs 6 grams of fiber — over 20% of the reference daily intake (RDI).
A 1-cup (140-gram) serving of golden berries contains the following:
- Calories: 74
- Carbs: 15.7 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Protein: 2.7 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Vitamin C: 21% of the RDI for women and 17% for men
- Thiamine: 14% of the RDI for women and 13% for men
- Riboflavin: 5% of the RDI
- Niacin: 28% of the RDI for women and 25% for men
- Vitamin A: 7% of the RDI for women and 6% for men
- Iron: 8% of the RDI for women and 18% for men
- Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI
Golden berries also have high amounts of beta-carotene and vitamin K along with a little calcium.
Golden berries boast an impressive amount of vitamins, minerals and fiber — with only 74 calories per cup (140 grams).
Golden berries contain several plant compounds that may positively impact your health.
High in Antioxidants
Golden berries are high in plant compounds called antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect against and repair the damage caused by free radicals, which are molecules linked to aging and diseases, such as cancer.
To date, studies have identified 34 unique compounds in golden berries that may have benefits for health.
Furthermore, the phenolic compounds in golden berries were shown to block the growth of breast and colon cancer cells in test-tube studies.
In another test-tube study, extracts of fresh and dehydrated golden berries were found to increase the life of cells while preventing the formation of compounds that cause oxidative damage.
The skin of golden berries has nearly three times the amount of antioxidants as their pulp. Additionally, antioxidant levels are at their peak when the fruits are ripe.
Has Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
Compounds in golden berries called withanolides may have anti-inflammatory effects in your body, potentially protecting against colon cancer.
In one study, an extract from the husk of golden berries reduced inflammation in mice with inflammatory bowel disease. Additionally, mice treated with this extract had lower levels of inflammatory markers in their tissues.
While there are no comparable human studies, test-tube studies in human cells reveal promising effects against inflammation.
May Boost Immunity
There are no human studies on golden berries and immune system function, but test-tube studies suggest several benefits.
Studies in human cells note that golden berries may help regulate your immune system. The fruit contains multiple polyphenols that block the release of certain inflammatory immune markers.
Additionally, golden berries are a good source of vitamin C. One cup (140 grams) provides 15.4 mg of this vitamin — 21% of the RDI for women and 17% for men.
Vitamin C plays several key roles in healthy immune system response.
May Benefit Bone Health
Golden berries are high in vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin involved in bone metabolism.
This vitamin is a necessary component of bone and cartilage and is also involved in healthy bone turnover rates, which is how bones break down and reform.
The most recent evidence suggests that vitamin K should be taken alongside vitamin D for optimal bone health.
May Improve Vision
Goldenberries provide lutein and beta-carotene, along with several other carotenoids.
A diet high in carotenoids from fruits and vegetables is linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness.
Specifically, the carotenoid lutein is well known for preventing eye diseases.
Lutein and other carotenoids, including zeaxanthin and lycopene, have also been shown to protect against vision loss from diabetes.
Golden berries may have several benefits for your health. They are high in antioxidants, exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and may boost bone health and vision.
Potential Side Effects
Golden berries may be poisonous if you eat them unripe.
Unripe golden berries contain solanine, a toxin naturally found in nightshade vegetables, such as potatoes and tomatoes.
Solanine can cause digestive upset, including cramping and diarrhea — and may be fatal in rare cases.
To be on the safe side, eat only fully ripe golden berries that have no green parts.
Additionally, keep in mind that eating high amounts of golden berries may be dangerous.
In one animal study, very high doses of freeze-dried golden berry juice — 2,273 mg per pound of body weight (5,000 mg per kg) daily — resulted in heart damage to male — but not female — mice. No other side effects were observed.
There are no long-term safety studies on golden berries in humans.
Eating golden berries appears safe, although there are no studies in humans. That said, unripe fruits may cause digestive upset, and high doses of its juice have been shown to be toxic in animal studies.
How to Eat Them
Goldenberries can be enjoyed fresh or dried once their papery husks are removed.
Fresh golden berries can be found at farmer’s markets and many grocery stores. Dried golden berries can often be purchased online.
Here are some ways you can incorporate golden berries into your diet:
- Eat them raw as a snack.
- Add them to a fruit salad.
- Sprinkle them on top of a savory salad.
- Blend them into a smoothie.
- Dip them in chocolate sauce for dessert.
- Turn them into a sauce to enjoy with meat or fish.
- Make them into a jam.
- Stir them into a grain salad.
- Use them on top of yogurt and granola.
Goldenberries add a unique flavor to almost any dish or snack.
Golden berries are a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh or dried. They add a unique flavor to jams, sauces, salads and desserts.
The Bottom Line
Although golden berries are closely related to tomatillos, they have a sweet, tropical taste similar to pineapple and mango.
They are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that may boost your immune system, eyesight, and bones.
They are best eaten fully ripe — without any green spots.
These flavorful fruits add a unique, sweet taste to jams, sauces, desserts, and more.