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Move Aside Strawberries: Here are 7 Desi Berries That are Cheaper!

Are strawberries your go-to berries? There are many Indian berries too that are yummy – but are sadly ignored.

Updated
Chew On This
5 min read
You’ll be surprised at just how light they are on your wallet.
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Berries are tiny but they’re laden with so many health benefits that today researchers are focussing on them with a micro lens to understand how much they can help. Few things are clear already: that besides a huge amount of good-for-us fibre and an overload of nutrients (vitamins and minerals), these berries also deliver the magic ingredient that we need truck loads of – antioxidants.

And that’s why blueberries, goji berries, acas berries, cranberries and even strawberries are right up there on the super foods pyramid.

That said, exotic (and expensive) is NOT the only route to score these superlative benefits. There are many Indian berries too that deliver – but are sadly ignored. Perhaps because no one has smartly marketed them yet?

You’ll be surprised at just how light they are on your wallet.

Below are listed 7 easily available, inexpensive Indian berries – and three reasons for each to be added to your diet:

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Rasbhari

The tarty rasbhari is one of the most potent forms of vitamin C that you can eat.
The tarty rasbhari is one of the most potent forms of vitamin C that you can eat.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

1. The tarty rasbhari is one of the most potent (and delicious) forms of vitamin C that you can eat.

2. It is packed with antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytochemicals like anthocyanins, pelargonidins, gallic acid, cyanidins, coumaric, catechins, kaempferols, ellagic acid, ferulic acid and salicylic acid. In fact, it has an ORAC (depicts the total antioxidant capacity of a food) of 4,900 units per 100g, which is exceptionally high.

3. It helps with weight loss thanks to its high fibre content, and also high levels of manganese that boost the basal metabolic rate (the amount of energy we burn while at rest)

Amla

It supports liver function, fortifies the lungs and helps detox our systems.
It supports liver function, fortifies the lungs and helps detox our systems.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

1. Also known as the Indian gooseberry, amla is an alkaline food – which is why it helps balance the stomach acid levels and make the gut alkaline. (An alkaline gut is essential for overall health and vitality.)

2. It supports liver function, fortifies the lungs and helps detox our systems. It also boosts our immune system and helps increase the white blood cell count in the body, which helps keep seasonal viruses away.

3. Besides being a rich source of vitamin C, calcium, B complex vitamins and iron, it also packs in a difficult-to-find trace mineral chromium, that has a therapeutic value for diabetics.

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Phalsa

Phalsa is a cooling food that makes it perfect for summers.
Phalsa is a cooling food that makes it perfect for summers.
(Photo Courtesy: Flickr)

1. This really tiny, dark purple berry that beautifully balances sweet and sour flavours reminds everyone of blueberries. It is extremely rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamin C and also contains anthocyanin flavonoids which are considered protection against cancer.

2. It is high in potassium and low in sodium so a good friend of our hearts, and besides protecting our hearts it also purifies the blood and regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

3. Phalsa is a cooling food that makes it perfect for summers. It helps purify the blood and deliver a detoxed body and glowing skin.

Karonda

The fruit also shows anti-diabetic potential and is a blood sugar stabiliser, besides working as a guard against liver damage.
The fruit also shows anti-diabetic potential and is a blood sugar stabiliser, besides working as a guard against liver damage.
(Photo: iStock)

1. These tiny, pink-coloured berries with tiny seeds at the core are sour but taste delicious when eaten with a sprinkling of rock salt. Eat more of these as they are a great source of natural fibre called pectin that helps combat high cholesterol and high triglycerides – while also helping to prevent colon cancer and prostate cancer.

2. The fruit also shows anti-diabetic potential and is a blood sugar stabiliser, besides working as a guard against liver damage.

3. Also helps prevent anaemia as it is a good source of iron.

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Kokum

Garcinol, an active constituent present in kokum, is anti-carcinogenic.
Garcinol, an active constituent present in kokum, is anti-carcinogenic.
(Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

1. It’s great for our digestion and cools the body during summers. It also contains hydroxycitric acid (HCA) that acts as an appetite suppressant.

2. It is loaded with magnesium, potassium and manganese that protects against heart disease and also aids in control of blood pressure.

3. Garcinol, an active constituent present in kokum, is anti-carcinogenic.

Jamun

This fruit is very low on calories and is completely fat-free making it a perfect choice for those watching calories.
This fruit is very low on calories and is completely fat-free making it a perfect choice for those watching calories.
(Photo: iStockphoto)

1. This is a proven anti-ageing food, thanks to the multiple antioxidants it delivers. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of jamun (also called blackberry and Java plums) is 2,036 units.

2. This fruit is very low on calories and is completely fat-free making it a perfect choice for those watching calories.

3. Jamun is hypoglycaemic – eating it helps keep the blood sugar stable, and this makes it a popular diabetes-preventive food.

4. Its high iron content makes it a must-eat food for those prone to anaemia.

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Ber

Rich in calcium, it helps strengthen the bones, muscles and teeth.
Rich in calcium, it helps strengthen the bones, muscles and teeth.
(Photo Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

1. Also called Indian Jujube, the ber is mostly sweet, with a hint of sourness and a sharp crunch to it. The high amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A in ber fruits make it a great anti-oxidant which also helps boost the immune system.

2. Rich in calcium, it helps strengthen the bones, muscles and teeth.

3. It can help fight Alzheimer’s by helping fight cell degeneration and aiding in cognitive functioning of the brain.

(Kavita Devgan is a weight management consultant, nutritionist, health columnist and author of ‘Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People’.)

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(For more stories on diets and nutrition, follow FIT)

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