Black currant is a berry rich in nutrients, universal and filled with healthy compounds, the benefits of black currant may be underestimated by many people around the world.
In recent decades, a lot of research has been conducted confirming that black currant has antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, may be useful for slowing the growth of cancer cells, improving immunity and even preventing eye diseases. This sour berry must be included in the diet of healthy eating.
Not only can you enjoy this fragrant berry, using it raw, it can also surprise you with its delicious taste as a filling in baking or jam. And if you want to receive a mega dose of useful substances and vitamins of black currant, then eat only one capsule with black currant oil. So you eat a real concentrate of nutrients of this wonderful berries.
Nutritional value and nutrients in black currant
Known for its scientific name Ribes nigrum, black currant belongs to the gooseberry plant family. This shrub is widely distributed in Russia and in some parts of Northern and Central Europe. It grows well at low temperatures typical of these regions and countries.
Blackcurrant bush can produce up to 5 kg of dark purple edible berries every year. The berries have a tart taste and can be eaten raw. They can also be used to make fragrant jams, jellies and juices.
Black currant is a nutritious berry, that is, it contains few calories, but many important nutrients. Especially a lot of vitamin C.
100 grams of raw black currant contains approximately:
Caloric value: 70,5 kcal
Carbohydrates : 17,2 gr.
Protein : 1.6 gr.
Fat : 0.5 gr.
Vitamin C : 203 mg (338%)
Manganese : 0.3 mg (14%)
Iron : 1.7 mg (10%)
Potassium : 361 mg (10%)
Magnesium : 26.9 mg (7%)
Phosphorus : 66 , 1 mg (7%)
Vitamin E : 1.1 mg (6%)
Calcium : 61.6 mg (6%)
Vitamin A : 258 IU (5%)
Copper : 0.1 mg (5%)
Thiamine : 0 , 1 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.1 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid : 0.4 mg (4%)
The benefits of black currant
Let us single out six useful properties of black currant for human health, which have scientific evidence.
1. Black currant is rich in anthocyanins
Deep purple pigment of black currant due to its high content of anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are plant pigments that produce a red, purple or blue hue, depending on their pH.
Black currant contains a large number of different anthocyanins, and some studies show that it contains up to 15 unique types.
In addition to their role as a plant pigment, anthocyanins also have many health promoting properties. Studies have shown that anthocyanins can play a role in cancer prevention, heart health, obesity, and even diabetes.
They also act as antioxidants – compounds that neutralize harmful free radicals that damage cells and also prevent the development of chronic diseases.
Like black currants, other products rich in anthocyanins include berries, eggplants , red cabbage, and grapes. Inclusion of a large amount of these products in your diet will undoubtedly have a beneficial effect on your health.
2. Black currant can help reduce the growth of cancer cells
One of the most impressive benefits of black currant is its strong effect on cancer. Some studies have shown that because of the high content of anthocyanins, black currant extract can help slow the growth of cancer.
It has been proven in one study that blackcurrant extract helps inhibit the growth of liver cancer cells. Another study found that black currant extract blocked the spread of breast and endometrial cancer cells.
Studies published in the Journal of Medicinal Food have shown that black currant extract can also be effective in killing cancer cells of the stomach and esophagus.
3. Black currant is good for eye health.
Glaucoma is a disease that causes blurred and distorted vision and can sometimes lead to blindness. The disease is usually the result of damage to the optic nerve that connects the brain to the eyes.
Some studies have shown that compounds found in black currants can help prevent the development of glaucoma and improve the health of your eyes.
In a study conducted by the Department of Ophthalmology at Sapporo Medical University in Japan and published in the journal Ocular Pharmacology and Therapy, it was proved that patients using glaucoma black currant extract reduced the level of endothelin-1, a type of hormone that affects the development of glaucoma.
Another two-year study, also conducted at Sapporo Medical University, showed that black currant anthocyanins helped reduce vision loss and improve blood flow to the eyes in patients with glaucoma.
When used in combination with traditional eye disease treatments, black currant can be effective in improving the organs of vision and preventing vision loss.
Blueberry and persimmon fruit also have excellent eye-improving properties .
4. Black currant strengthens the immune system
Black currant is extremely rich in vitamin C. 100 grams of raw black currant can provide you with a triple dose of vitamin C you need daily.
Vitamin C is well known for its immunomodulatory properties. Studies show that vitamin C can shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections and protect against malaria, pneumonia and diarrheal infections, among others.
One review of the Department of Public Health at the University of Helsinki in Finland consisted of 12 studies and showed that adding vitamin C to the diet reduced the prevalence of the common cold by 91% and reduced the incidence of pneumonia by 80–100%.
Vitamin C also works as an antioxidant that helps prevent tissue damage caused by the effects of harmful free radicals, and may even reduce the risk of developing tumors, heart disease and stroke.
To achieve the most effective results, eat black currants with other foods high in vitamin C, such as fruits and vegetables, so that your immune system is strong.
5. Black currant protects against bacteria and viruses.
In addition to its powerful antioxidant abilities, black currant also contains antimicrobial properties that can help protect against harmful bacteria and viruses.
A study conducted in 2012 in Japan, published in the journal Microbiology and Immunology , showed that black currant extract with a concentration of less than 1% can block the growth of several strains of viruses, including adenovirus and influenza virus – by more than 50%! An extract of 10% concentration is able to block 95% of these viruses from sticking to the surface of cells in the human body.
Another study by the microbiology department at Asahikawa Medical College in Japan showed that treating influenza strains with a concentrated amount of black currant extract can completely suppress the growth of the virus.
Other studies have shown that black currant oil can be effective against H. pylori bacteria, a type of bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers, abdominal pain and nausea.
Black currant can also be helpful in treating other types of diseases caused by bacterial infections such as whooping cough.
6. Black currant can prevent herpes
Herpes is a widespread viral infection that affects millions of people on the planet. Symptoms of the virus may differ from each other. But the main manifestation remains blisters on the lips or around the mouth or painful, itchy genital sores in others. Some studies show that compounds found in black currants can help kill the herpes virus, which causes both oral and genital herpes.
A study published in Phytotherapy Research found that black currant extract stopped the herpes virus from sticking to the cells and prevented the spread of the virus.
In combination with traditional procedures and other natural remedies, such as L-lysine and zinc, black currants can be a useful addition to the diet to prevent herpes outbreaks.
How to eat black currants
The berries of black currant have an intense sour taste and can be eaten both raw and cooked. Because of their astringent taste, many prefer to slightly sweeten them using a natural sweetener, such as stevia. Black currant berries can also be brewed in tea or used to add to cereals, smoothies, cooking jams or as a filling in baking.
To consume a concentrated dose of all the beneficial nutrients found in black currants, you can also try black currant oil. Black currant oil is produced as a food supplement in the form of capsules. It is a good source of gamma-linolenic acid, such as omega-6 essential fatty acids, and is adopted to improve skin and hair health. Look for capsules containing at least 45 mg of gamma linolenic acid and with minimal addition of other ingredients and take 500 mg twice a day.
Possible harm to black currants
- Black currant can cause an allergic reaction in some people, especially those who are sensitive to salicylate, to the combination of certain plants. If you have any symptoms, such as a rash or swelling after eating black currants, you should immediately stop eating and consult a doctor.
- Black currant seed oil can also cause side effects for some people. These include: increased flatulence, headaches and diarrhea.
- Those taking phenothiazines, a type of antipsychotic medication, should not eat black currants, as this may increase the harmful risk of side effects from the medication.
- In addition, black currants can slow down blood clotting. If you have a hematopoietic disorder or you are taking a blood clotting drug, such as Warfarin or Heparin, you should consult your doctor before eating black currants. You should also not eat blackcurrant before surgery, as this may increase the risk of bleeding.
Final Thoughts on Black currant
So, we considered the benefits and harm of black currants for the human body. Let’s sum up:
Black currant contains a small number of calories, but many different nutrients, especially vitamin C.
Black currant has strong antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help prevent infection and chronic diseases and contribute to many beneficial aspects of health.
It has also been proven that black currant prevents eye disease, reduces the growth of cancer cells and even blocks the manifestation of the herpes virus.
You can enjoy these sour berries as raw, and use them in cooking or try black currant oil to quickly consume all the “squeeze” of nutrients of nutritious black currant.