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8 Indian Wonder Berries and Their Health Benefits You Don't Want to Miss!

   |  Updated: April 18, 2017 13:58 IST

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8 Indian Wonder Berries and Their Health Benefits You Don't Want to Miss!
Highlights
  • Extremely high in antioxidants, berries offer a bagful of benefits
  • Mulberry is a powerhouse of nutrients and is a great source of protein
  • The commonly found purple fleshed jamuns taste both sweet and sour
None of us are oblivious to the fact that berries have gained the reputation of a wonderful superfood in the last few years. Numerous scientific studies have regarded berries as extremely healthy and indicate that they should be a part of your daily diet owing to their high antioxidant levels. The antioxidants and polyphenols, that also impart the dark purple or crimson colour to these berries, make them good for your heart, brain and even your skin. Not just that, these bright and sweet superfruits are a delicious addition to your breakfast bowl or your evening salad. If you walk around the supermarket fruit aisle, you will find several varieties of imported berries like the cranberries, goji berries or the blueberries that have had everyone talking. But we'd like to introduce and turn the spotlight on our very own native Indian berries that deserve as much attention and are probably healthier as they are locally cultivated and are not packaged and flown in from thousand miles away. 

Here are nine wonder berries of India and we'll help you know them a little better:

1. Mulberry (Shahtoot)

mulberryMulberries are known as blood cleansers as they improve the blood circulation

Succulent, refreshing, tart and sweet mulberries or shahtoot are seasonal beauties. Mulberries are the fruits from the Morus Alba trees that grow in warmer regions. The primary grower of the berry is Karnataka. According to the book Healing Foods by DK Publishing, "Mulberries are an ancient fruit with a long tradition of use as a medicine, including as a tonic for the whole body. They protect against eye damage and act as a sedative." Mulberry is a powerhouse of nutrients and is a great source of protein, iron, calcium, niacin, fiber, and vitamin A, C, E and K. Mulberries are known as blood cleansers as they improve the blood circulation in your body. 

2. Grape (Angoor)
 

grapesGrapes are high in fiber, B1, B2, B6, vitamin K and Potassium

Did you know that grapes are also berries? India has diverse grape growing regions, Maharashtra being on the top. There are over 20 varieties of grapes that are grown in our country with the Thompson seedless being the most popular of them all. Grapes are high in fiber, B1, B2, B6, vitamin K and Potassium. Grapes can cure constipation as they contain sugar, organic acid and polyose that together provide laxative properties.

3. Gooseberry (Amla)
 

amlaAmla helps fight common cold and infections due to the presence of vitamin C

Gooseberry or amla is a berry with a sour taste. India's subtropical region is home to amla. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants. This translucent green berry is known for its various health benefits. It helps fight common cold and infections due the presence of vitamin C while various antibacterial and astringent properties help stimulate the immune system of the body. Amla is high in fiber that adds bulk to the stool and helps food move forward and thus, keeping your bowel movements smooth and regulated and your stomach clean. 

4. Cape gooseberry (Rasbhari)
 

gooseberriesCape berries have high amounts of vitamin A 

Cape gooseberries are one of the easiest berries to grow as they can adapt to numerous climates and elevations. These golden orange berries are sour and sometimes bitter and have a smooth glossy exterior. Cape berries have high amounts of vitamin A that protects the eye and strengthens the vision. They have soluble pectin fiber that helps prevent constipation and lowers bad cholesterol. 
 

5. Blackberry (Jamun)

jamunThe commonly found purple fleshed jamuns taste both sweet and sour

Jamun or Indian blackberry is known to be one of the best berries in India. An Indian native, jamun is a beautiful tropical tree that lives up to more than a hundred years. According Macrobiotic Nutritionist Shilpa Arora, "Jamuns are deep purple in color majorly because they are small in size and all the color is concentrated at one place." The commonly found purple fleshed jamuns taste both sweet and sour and are savored with a dash of salt sprinkled on them. The dark colour basically comes from the presence of anthocyanins. These antioxidants fight free radicals in the body and protect you against many ailments including hypertension, diabetes and even cancer. Jamun is extremely beneficial for diabetics. It helps to convert starch into energy and keep your blood sugar levels in check. 



6. Strawberry

strawberry 625The presence of vitamin C in strawberries helps in boosting your immunity

The beautiful hills of Nainital, Dehradun and Mahabaleshwar are covered with strawberry plantations.  About 20 varieties of strawberries are grown in the country. It is a rich source of vitamin C, manganese, folate, potassium and flavonoids. Their seeds on the exterior surface also have small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Antioxidants like flavonoids and elagic acid can help avoid cataract, vision defects and susceptibility to eye infections. The presence of vitamin C in strawberries helps in boosting your immunity. Strawberries are also often used to whiten your teeth. The acids present in the berry help remove the stains from your teeth. 

7. Kanta Berry (Kanntam)



This rare berry which is also known as kanntam originates from the Konkan region. Kanta berry is a tiny purple colored fruit and has a white sticky substance on the skin. "It is also found in yellow color and are generally eaten raw as a fruit and not cooked. It has a pungent taste, a lot similar to amla," shares Health Expert Shilpa Arora.



8.  Zara Berry



Zara berry is primarily grown in Goa and is sold in the local markets. It is a blackish-purple fruit with green seeds inside. The fruit is sweet tasting. The inner green seeds are known to be eaten as a delicacy in Goa. According to Nutritionist Shilpa Arora, the health benefits of zara berries may be similar to that of jamuns because of the dark purple color that they have and the presence of antioxidants. The flavonoids help control diabetes, blood pressure and keep your cholesterol levels in check. 



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