Barbados gooseberry, also known as “Ora pro nobis” in Portuguese (which translates as, “Pray for us”), from the cactus family come all the way from Brazil in South America. Specifically, its leaves and fruits are widely used not only as food merely but also as medicine. Why are they so amazing? Well, they are highly nutritious, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and yep, vegan. Find out why you should try them in our Top 5 Health Benefits of Barbados Gooseberry!
1. High in protein
The leaves found in Barbados Gooseberries provide on average 26% of protein, when compared to other non-animal protein sources as beans (18%), corn (10%) or kale (1.6%). No wonder why it’s known as the “Meat for the poor” in Brazil. They also have a high nutritional profile, due to their high iron content.
2. Antioxidant booster
Barbados gooseberries are packed with high levels of vitamins and minerals, which makes them the perfect defense against disease. Their leaves are a great source of folic acid, vitamin A and C, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Their fruits are a significant source of vitamin C, phosphorus and calcium. All these vitamins and minerals are essential for proper bodily function; from making red blood cells, boosting the immune system, to enhancing your vision, protecting cells from free radicals and preventing chronic diseases.
3. Optimises intestinal function
As you might have guessed, this amazing plant is also a great source of dietary fibre. Found both in their leaves and fruits, fibre will help you maintain a healthy digestive system. The fibre found in Barbados Gooseberry also possesses probiotic benefits and the improvement of intestinal movement and gut health. For example, in a recent trial, when it was used and consumed as a flour, it resulted in a reduction of flatulence, beneficial maintenance of intestinal microbiota as well as an increased satiety in participants.
These are not only used as food but also as medicine. Because of its high mucilaginous content, it helps heal the skin from most wounds. It also fights tumour cells and treats inflammation thanks to their high antioxidant profile. Finally, it can be used as a natural medicine for headaches, ulcers, hemorrhoids, dermatitis, general pain, rheumatism and inflammation.
5. Analgesic strength
Barbados gooseberries also help relieve pain because of their antimicrobial, antifungal and antiallergic properties. In general, because of their high concentration of caftaric acid, (a non-flavanoid phenolic compound also found in the juice of grapes) free radicals and carcinogenic cells are eliminated.