These home-grown, deep purple-black, shiny skinned berries, pack a serious punch when it comes to health benefits. So why is it that they are not a staple in the British diet?
Blackcurrants are bursting with phytonutrients (active compounds found in plants, shown to benefit humans when consumed).Blackcurrants are especially rich in vitamin C and contain good levels of vitamin A, and the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.
Blackcurrant’s special plant nutrients include flavonoids, the pigments that give the plants their colour. One type, the anthocyanins protect fruit from the damaging effects of oxidation.
It is now known that these special nutrients also protect human cells and tissues from free radical damage and are estimated to have five times the antioxidant activity of vitamins C and vitamin E. These protective mechanisms may contribute to the blackcurrant’s particular anti-cancer properties.
Blackcurrants’ vitamin C and anthocyanin content are especially effective at supporting the health of our body tissue; including our bones, skin, ligaments and tendons. Moreover, they improve the function of our blood vessels and may reduce the risk of developing conditions such as varicose veins, haemorrhoids and atherosclerosis.
Studies have also found that anthocyanins can help raise the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut and consequently contribute to a healthy functioning digestive system, which is important for so many aspects of our health.
Blackcurrants can be enjoyed in muffins, crumble or compote; blended into sorbets or smoothies or juiced for its nutrients. Why not start your day with a high fibre, antioxidant boost by combining porridge oats, cinnamon, mixed seeds and a variety of berries topped with your British blackcurrants?
My weekly ‘Nutritional Nugget’ written for Fields to Fork Organics
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