Recognizing black currants as an antioxidant will open your eyes to the remarkable contributions of this nutrient-dense, versatile berry. Although it has been in use for countless centuries, newer scientific studies are just confirming that black currants indeed possess antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant qualities. This suggests that these sour berries can slow cancer growth, improve immunity, and even prevent eye defects.
Apart from the fact that they make nutritious whole snacks on their own, black currants present a unique deliciousness to every edible, ranging from glazes to baked foods. And if you would rather supplement, a capsule of this sour berry oil is more than enough to enjoy its impressive benefits.
In this blog, we will discuss the nutritional profile of black currants, go through its benefits, and look at ways through which it can be used.
Nutritional Profile of Black Currants
Black currants, scientifically called Ribes nigrum, is a member of the gooseberry plant family, originating from Siberia, Central and Northern Europe.
Formerly earmarked as the “forbidden fruit” in the US (as it was believed to spread fungus), black currants are now cultivated even in commercial quantities across the nation, special thanks to the recent discoveries made on it. In fact, in a single serving, black currants exceed your daily vitamin needs.
An analysis by the United States Department of Agriculture reported that 112 grams – an approximate cup – of black currants would furnish the body with the following nutrients:
- 70.5 calories
- 17.2 g of carbohydrates
- 1.6 g of protein
- 0.5 g of fat
- 258 units of vitamin A (5% DV)
- 361 mg of potassium (10% DV)
- 203 mg of vitamin C (338 % DV)
- 66.1 mg of phosphorus (7% DV)
- 61.6 mg of calcium (6% DV)
- 26.9 mg of magnesium (7% DV)
- 1.7 mg of iron (10% DV)
- 1.1mg of vitamin E (6% DV)
- 0.4 mg of pantothenic acid (4% DV)
- 0.3 mg of manganese (14% DV)
- 0.1 mg of copper (5% DV)
- 0.1 mg of thiamine (4% DV)
- 0.1 mg of vitamin B6 (4% DV)
4 Benefits Of Black Currants As An Antioxidant
With such a robust nutritional profile, much is expected of black currants, and thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint. This tart berry, without doubt, contains several nutrients, which are key to many processes in the body. Let’s discuss the commonest 4 of these benefits.
A Rich Source Of Anthocyanin
Black currants have rich levels of anthocyanin, which is visible in its deep purple skin. Typically, anthocyanin is responsible for the purple, blue, and red hue that color plants according to their PH. Black currants boast about 15 distinct types of anthocyanin, meaning that there are so many benefits to gain from this sour berry.
Asides its role as a plant pigment, anthocyanin is highly beneficial to health. Different studies have suggested that it is one of the primary reasons that black currants are associated with improved cardiovascular health and weight-loss, even diabetes. A couple of researches has also reported that anthocyanin is effective in cancer treatment, as it helps to inhibit the growth and spread of free radicals.
May Combat Cancer
One of the most prominent contributions to health is its potential ability to combat cancer, as many studies have reported.
Recently, the North Eastern Universities, Colleges of Medicine & Pharmacy, North Eastern Ohio, conducted test-tube research studying the effects of anthocyanin on cancer, and the results claimed that the plant pigment could prevent the growth of free radicals in the body.
Also, a Japanese study reported that an extract of black currants helped to prevent the spread of endometrial and breast cancer cells in women between 40–59. Lastly, the Journal of Medicinal Food recently mentioned black currants as a food that may eliminate cancer cells in the stomach and esophagus.
Provides Support To The Eyes
Often, as a result of age or an unhealthy lifestyle, the optic nerves tend to deteriorate. Note that optic nerves refer to the nerves connecting the eyes to the brain. This deterioration has been identified to be the chief cause of glaucoma, which is a group of eye illnesses, usually leading to distorted or blurred vision and, occasionally, total blindness.
Fortunately, research has established that some compounds, especially anthocyanin, in black currants can support eye health and prevent glaucoma. The Journal of Ocular Pharmacology and Therapeutics published a Japanese experiment recently. In the end, it was reported that black currants extract significantly reduced the levels of endothelin-1 in the body, which is a hormone whose presence is often associated with glaucoma development.
Boosts Immune Function
Black currants are amazingly rich in vitamin C. As a matter of fact, a cup of black currants provides your body with three times the amount that it needs in a day.
As you may know, vitamin C has reputable anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting qualities. A series of studies established that supplementing with vitamin C could shorten the expected recuperation duration for infections affecting the respiratory tract, as well as prevent diarrhea, pneumonia, malaria, and a couple of other illnesses.
According to a recent review by the University of Helsinki Public Health department, supplementing with vitamin C reduced the incidence of pneumonia by 80–100% and that of the common cold by an unbelievable 91%, judging by 12 different studies.
How To Use Black Currants
The first thing to note when shopping for black currants across supermarket shelves is that they are different from Zante currants, which are ordinary, dry Black Corinth grapes.
Black currants have a very sour taste, and they can be eaten ordinarily or on other foods. However, due to their intense tartness, you’ll find many people preferring to sprinkle some natural sweetener on black currants.
Alternatively, you can brew black currants into tea or just throw a ball or two in your baked goods, jams, shakes, juices, and sauces.
If capsules are your thing, then take at least 1000 milligrams daily.
Takeaways On Black Currants As An Antioxidant
The health contributions of black currants as an antioxidant are remarkable. Apart from the 4 points above, black currants can also be used to prevent herpes and as protection against pathogens. The fruit is widely available, and its capsules affordable. So, nothing is stopping you from accessing these excellent qualities.