For centuries, blackcurrants have been considered one of nature’s super fruits and nutritious foods.
For generations, mothers have considered blackcurrants a trusted source of natural nutrition for their families, and traditional healers have used blackcurrants to treat a variety of ailments and winter ailments. But it’s only in recent decades that scientists have begun seriously studying the therapeutic and protective benefits of this remarkable fruit.
Clinical trials have shown that regular consumption of black currants can reduce muscle stiffness and fatigue, improve kidney function, increase blood flow and circulation, improve brain function, asthma and eye function, reduce visual fatigue, etc. Ongoing research programs around the world continue to explore how and why blackcurrants are beneficial in so many areas of health and wellness.
This article gives you a brief introduction to the antioxidants found in black currants, so that the next time you read about them on the back of a buck label, you'll know more about some of the ingredients in black currants that may support your health.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are thought to protect the body from free radicals, which can damage cells, weaken immunity, and negatively impact our health. While the body has its own natural defense mechanisms against free radical damage, antioxidants absorbed through diet may aid its defenses. Test results showed that blackcurrants contained more antioxidants than all 24 other fruits tested using the same method. These high antioxidant levels appear to make blackcurrants a healthy fruit choice. The following antioxidants are the main antioxidants found in black currants:
- Anthocyanins, which give blackcurrants their gorgeous deep purple color, are extremely potent antioxidants. Anthocyanins belong to a group of chemicals called polyphenols found in plants, which are thought to have important health benefits. Research continues to show that polyphenols may help prevent health problems such as cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Numerous studies have shown that blackcurrants are an important source of anthocyanins, with concentrations four times higher than those of other common fruits.
- Vitamin C is also a very powerful antioxidant. The value of vitamin C to health and wellness has been extensively researched and understood. It helps with the growth and repair of tissues in the body, making collagen, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels—including making skin, healing wounds, and repairing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Since it is not produced naturally by the body and it is water-soluble (meaning your body does not store it), it must be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet. Blackcurrants are known to contain high amounts of vitamin C – about four times as much as oranges and 16 times as much as blueberries!
Since most blackcurrants are consumed as juice, it is important to know that blackcurrant antioxidants appear to be very stable and remain active after processing into juices, jams, and wine.