WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE
We are berry mad about blackcurrants, but we think you should be too, just take a look at these great ways blackcurrants can keep you healthy and well. This little purple powerhouse is a brilliant way to supercharge your diet and blackcurrants are delicious too!
Find yourself slumping at your desk mid-afternoon? Try swapping your energy drink for a fruity blackcurrant tea. Rich in anti-oxidants, research has shown that blackcurrant extract can help people stay more alert, reduce mental fatigue and even work with greater accuracy while under significant mental stress.
A recent trial by the Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences at Chichester
Anthocyanins in blackcurrants can guard against
Vitamin C is important for our immune system, keep yours
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Blackcurrants help to increase the levels of good bacteria,
WHAT’S IN BLACKCURRANTS?
“Most people are unaware of the nutritional benefits of the great British blackcurrant. Blackcurrants are an excellent source of anthocyanins, important health-promoting antioxidants, known to help protect against ill-health, especially cancer and heart disease. Eating blackcurrants or drinking blackcurrant juice as part of a healthy diet, is an easy, natural way to improve your antioxidant intake and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
Registered Dietitian, Luci Daniels
Like most fruits, blackcurrants contain a lot of water, but they are also bursting with a wide variety of important antioxidants, fibre and energy. They may be small, but blackcurrants are one of the richest natural sources of important antioxidants like anthocyanins and Vitamin C. Blackcurrants have more than three times the vitamin C of oranges and anthocyanin levels second only to some types of blueberry (Bibliography Ref: 1).
These anthocyanins can help fight against cardiovascular disease, ageing, joint inflammation, eyestrain, urinary infections, kidney stones and even cancer.
WHY ARE LOCAL BLACKCURRANTS BETTER FOR ME?
Blackcurrants grown in the British Isles have a distinctive profile. It’s the anthocyanins in blackcurrants which give them their rich, dark colour. Our blackcurrants have been bred to maximise the deep, rich, purple colour which indicates higher levels of anthocyanins.
ARE ALL BLACKCURRANTS THE SAME?
No they are not – different varieties of blackcurrant bush have different characteristics and produce different strains of fruit. Where and how bushes are grown also affects the composition of the berries.
The composition of blackcurrants varies a lot depending on how ripe they are – levels of sugars, fruit acids and anthocyanins generally increase as the fruit ripens.
WHAT ELSE IS GOOD FOR ME IN THE BLACKCURRANT?
As well as high levels of Vitamin C and other antioxidants, blackcurrants contain soluble and insoluble fibre as well as important carbohydrates to give you energy.
Soluble fibre helps to slow down the release of nutrients, particularly glucose, into the blood stream, which is healthier for the body.
Insoluble fibre speeds up the movement of food through the large intestine. This will help keep you regular and make you feel full, maybe even helping to reduce the risk of cancer.
Blackcurrants also contain fructose and glucose to give you energy.
WHAT ABOUT BLACKCURRANT JUICE?
Drinking blackcurrant juice is an easy way to get all that blackcurrant goodness in you during the non-harvest season. Blackcurrant juice is usually concentrated before it is used in drinks.
WHAT NUTRIENTS DO THEY CONTAIN?
Blackcurrants contain a wide variety of nutrients. They are widely known as being a good source of vitamin C, providing nearly three times the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) in a 100g serving.
Blackcurrants are a source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps slow down the release of nutrients into the bloodstream (particularly glucose), and insoluble fibre helps us feel full and speeds up the movement of food through the large intestine.
They also provide energy, mainly as fructose and glucose and the seeds contain essential fatty acids: fats that play vital roles in the body, but that the body can’t make itself.
As well as containing useful levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre, some blackcurrant phytochemicals (substances made by the plant) are said to have other health benefits. The main group of blackcurrant phytochemicals that are linked with these benefits are the antioxidants.
The composition of blackcurrants varies a lot depending on what stage of growth the berries are at. Levels of sugars, acids and anthocyanins change during berry development, generally increasing as the fruit ripens. There are also differences between varieties and even the same varieties grown in different regions.
NOTE: There are one thousand milligrams (mg) in one gram (g) One million micrograms (µg) in one gram (g) One billion nanograms (ng) in one gram.
McCance & Widdowson, The Composition of Foods, 5th Ed, RSC & MAFF
Souci, S.W., Fachmann, W., Kraut, H., Food Composition and Nutrition Tables, 2002, 6th Medpharm GmbH 2000
Moyer, R.A., Hummer, K. E., Finn, C. E., Frei, B., Wrolstad, R. E., Anthocyanins , Phenolics, and Antioxidant Capacity in Diverse Small Fruits: Caccinium, Rubus and Ribes, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2002 (50), 519-525
Määtä. K. R., Kamal-Eldin, A., Törrönen, A. R., High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) Analysis of Phenolic Compounds in Berries with Diode Array and Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectomeric (MS) Detection: Ribes Species, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2003, (51) 6736-6744
Wu, X., Gu, L., Prior, R. L., McKay, S., Characterization of Anthocyanins and Proanthocyanidins in Some Cultivars of Ribes, Aronia, and Sambucus and Their Antioxidant Capacity, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2004 (52) 7846-7856 Stewart, D., Deighton, N., Davies, H. V., SCRI Annual Report 2000-2001, Antioxidants in soft fruit, pp 94-98
Toldam-Andersen, T.B. & Hansen, P.: Growth and development in black currants (Ribes nigrum). III Seasonal changes in sugars, organic acids, chlorophyll and anthocyanins and their possible metabolic background. Journal of Horticultural Science 72: 155-169.
A.I.J.N. Code of Practice for Evaluation of Fruit and Vegetable Juices. Association of the Industry of Juices and Nectars from Fruits and Vegetables of the European Economic Community.