Gooseberries are small, nutritious fruits that offer many health benefits.
The European and American varieties — Ribes uva-crispa and Ribes hirtellum, respectively — are the most common types. Both are closely related to black, red, and white currants.
The fruits of the gooseberry bush are small, weighing around 0.1–0.2 ounces (3–6 grams) each. They vary in color and can be green, yellow-white, pink, red, or dark purple. Their flavor ranges from tart to sweet.
Here are 8 reasons why gooseberries are a great addition to a healthy diet.
1. Gooseberries are highly nutritious
Gooseberries are low in calories and fat, yet packed with nutrients.
Just 1 cup (150 grams) of gooseberries contains:
- Calories: 66
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 15 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Vitamin C: 46% of the recommended daily intake (RDI)
- Vitamin B5: 9% of your daily need
- Vitamin B6: 7% of your daily need
- Copper: 12% of your daily need
- Manganese: 9% of your daily need
- Potassium: 6% of your daily need
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and vital to your nervous system, immune system, and skin. Vitamin B5 is necessary for creating fatty acids, while vitamin B6, which many enzymes and cells in your body need to function, helps convert food into energy.
Copper is important for your heart, blood vessels, immune system, and brain. Meanwhile, manganese supports metabolism, bone formation, reproduction, and immune response, whereas potassium is essential for normal cell function.
Summary: Gooseberries are low in calories and fat but rich in dietary fiber, copper, manganese, potassium, and vitamins C, B5, and B6.
2. Gooseberries are high in fiber and low in calories
Gooseberries are high in fiber yet low in energy, meaning you can eat a decent portion without consuming too many calories.
Eating 1 cup (150 grams) of gooseberries contributes just over 3% of the average person’s total daily calorie needs, making them a nutritious, low-calorie snack.
In addition, research shows that eating berries may aid weight loss and help you eat fewer calories overall.
For example, one small study found that those who ate berries as a snack consumed 130 fewer calories at their next meal, compared with those who ate the same number of calories from sweets.
Furthermore, gooseberries are a great source of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
One cup (150 grams) of gooseberries provides 26% of the recommended daily intake of fiber, making it a great way to boost your intake.
Insoluble fiber helps add bulk to your stool and improves consistency, whereas soluble fiber helps slow the movement of food in your gut, which can reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness.
Additionally, dietary fiber from fruit can help control your blood sugar levels and reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and your risk of chronic conditions, including certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.
Summary: Gooseberries are low in calories and high in fiber, which helps protect against obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer.
3. Gooseberries are rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that help fight the effects of free radicals. These are reactive molecules that cause cellular damage and lead to a process known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with many diseases and premature aging.
Diets rich in antioxidants are thought to reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, aging, and protect your brain from degenerative disease.
Gooseberries are an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, small amounts of vitamin E, and phytonutrients.
Plants produce phytonutrients to keep healthy and protect against sun damage and insects.
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Some of the phytonutrients in gooseberries include:
- Flavonols. These are linked to heart health and may have stroke-reducing, cancer-fighting, and antiviral effects. The main types in gooseberries are quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin.
- Anthocyanins. These compounds are the colored pigments in fruit, and they’re associated with eye and urinary tract health, improved memory, healthy aging, and a lower risk of some cancers.
- Aromatic acids. In gooseberries, these include caffeic, chlorogenic, coumaric, hydroxybenzoic, and ellagic acid.
- Organic acids. They’re responsible for the tart taste of fruit and may reduce your risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
Summary: Gooseberries are rich in antioxidants, such as phytonutrients, and vitamins E and C, which may help protect your brain and fight aging, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
4. Gooseberries may help control blood sugar
High blood sugar levels are linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia, and many other illnesses.
Gooseberries have several properties that may aid blood sugar control.
First, they’re high in fiber, which slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, test-tube studies reveal that gooseberry extract is an alpha-glucosidase inhibitor. This means it binds to special enzymes in your small intestine, preventing them from moving sugar from your gut into your bloodstream.
Finally, gooseberries contain chlorogenic acid, which may slow down carb absorption and help reduce blood sugar levels after starchy meals.
However, despite promising results, more research on gooseberries’ effect on blood sugar levels is needed.
Summary: Gooseberries are high in fiber and chlorogenic acid, which may help slow or prevent the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, though more research is required.
5. Gooseberries may protect your brain
Certain degenerative brain diseases are linked to an overload of iron in the cells.
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Iron levels that are too high can spur the creation of free radicals, which are molecules that damage your cells. Your brain cells are particularly high in iron, making them more vulnerable to damage.
Gooseberries are a natural source of organic acids, providing 11–14 mg of citric acid in 100 mg of fruit. Citric acid blocks the accumulation of iron in cells and has been found to reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and stroke if consumed regularly.
The antioxidants and phytonutrients in gooseberries are also believed to benefit age-related diseases of the brain and reduce your risk of stroke. Still, more research is needed.
Summary: Gooseberries are rich in citric acid, phenols, and antioxidants, which are linked to a reduced risk of age-related brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and stroke.
6. Gooseberries may have anticancer effects
Diets rich in berries, phytonutrients, and antioxidants are linked to a reduced risk of some types of cancers.
Some of the known anticancer substances in gooseberries are folate, phenolic compounds, and vitamins C and E.
These nutrients are thought to reduce, counteract, and repair damage from oxidative stress and inflammation, which can lead to the development of cancer.
For example, test-tube and animal studies indicate that anthocyanins inhibit the growth of cancer cells and may reduce your risk of certain cancers, including of the colon, pancreas, and breast.
However, more research is needed to determine gooseberries’ effects on cancer.
Summary: Gooseberries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, such as anthocyanins, that may fight and reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.
7. Gooseberries are good for your heart
Eating a diet rich in fruits like berries is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Gooseberries contain many nutrients that promote heart health, including antioxidants and potassium.
Antioxidants improve heart health by preventing the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood, a process that increases your risk for heart disease.
Additionally, phytonutrients like flavonols and anthocyanins help reduce blood pressure and improve blood vessel function, which may lower your risk of heart disease.
Finally, potassium is essential for good blood vessel health. It helps maintain a regular heartbeat and blood pressure and is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
Summary: Gooseberries contain heart-healthy antioxidants, polyphenols, and potassium, which help keep your heart working properly and may reduce your risk of heart disease.
8. Gooseberries are easy to add to your diet
For maximum health benefits, it’s best to enjoy gooseberries raw.
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Their flavor ranges from quite sour to relatively sweet, a little bit like slightly underripe grapes. The riper the fruit, the sweeter it becomes.
Some gooseberries are very tart, so if you want to eat them fresh look for sweeter varieties, such as Whinham’s Industry, Captivator, or Martlet.
Before eating the berries, you should wash and prepare them. Most people prefer to chop off the very bottom and top of the berry, as it can taste a little woody.
Once prepared, you can eat gooseberries as a healthy snack. Alternatively, add them to a fruit salad, use them as a topping on cereal or yogurt, or mix them into a fresh summer salad.
Gooseberries are also used in cooked and baked dishes, such as pies, tarts, chutneys, compote, jams, and cordial. However, keep in mind that these dishes often contain sugar, and cooking destroys a lot of the antioxidants and beneficial phytonutrients.
Summary: Gooseberries are best enjoyed fresh and can be eaten on their own or added to cereal, yogurt, salads, or a variety of other dishes. Cooked gooseberries may not have the same health benefits, as some of the nutrients will be destroyed.
Gooseberries are nutritious, low-calorie fruits that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Though research on gooseberries specifically is limited, many of the nutrients in these berries have been linked to significant health benefits.
These include lower blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, as well as a reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and age-related illnesses of the brain.
Gooseberries are a wonderful, healthy fruit to include in your diet as a snack or flavorful addition to meals.