When you think of fiber, what comes to mind first? Does it start with the letter “p” and end with the letter “s”? Prunes! You got it right. But did you know there are many other foods that are high in fiber including bran, beans, sweet peas, nuts, seeds, greens and even berries? Most people in America are familiar with blackberries, raspberries and strawberries. But have you heard of elderberries, loganberries, boysenberries or gooseberries? In addition to the antioxidant properties, berries are an excellent source of fiber. A single cup of gooseberries contains about 6.5 grams of fiber. Cape gooseberries are a great source of vitamin C and A. Vitamin C helps with wound healing, growth and repair of tissues in the body. Vitamin A functions to aid in the promotion of vision, growth and development and maintains the health of tissues and skin.
Cape gooseberries resemble the size and shape of a cherry tomato; they start out green and ripen to a golden-yellowish color. The outside has a smooth yet waxy coating, and the inside is filled with tiny seeds and the juice is tart and sweet. Peak seasons for cape gooseberries are late summer and fall. However, they are available all year round.
Cape gooseberries have high amounts of pectin, which are great for making jams, jellies and juice; they can also be added to muffins, pie-fillings, sauces and salads, or dried and turned into raisins. Pectin is a type of fiber found in some fruits and vegetables. Incorporating fiber into your diet can help reduce constipation, diverticulosis (bulging pouches that develop in the large intestine) and hemorrhoids. It also offers protection from certain cancers, helps regulate weight and decreases blood cholesterol levels. Males between the ages of 14 and 50 should consume 38 grams of fiber each day, while men over the age of 50 should consume 30 grams. Women between the ages of 19 and 50 should consume 25 grams of fiber each day, and women over 50 should consume 21 grams. Note that excessive amounts of fiber or drastic increases in fiber intake can have negative consequences including gas, abdominal discomfort or diarrhea.
The holidays are officially over. But who says you can’t party all year round? Kick off your Fiber Friday Fiesta with a little Cape Gooseberry Pico De Gallo. Its colorful and zesty flavor is a great appetizer that can be topped with your favorite tortilla chips.
For the die-hard grillers, try dressing your salmon or grilled chicken with some salsa. If you don’t enjoy cooking your salmon on the grill in the middle of winter, you can still top it with this salsa. Try cooking your salmon in the dishwasher. Here’s how.
Written by: Nadine Brooks, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about the Wellness Workdays Dietetic Internship.