Taken on a regular daily basis, blackcurrant powder has been show to provide a range of health and performance benefits, including increased concentration, improved cardiovascular functioning and improved muscle recovery.
Black currents have been used for centuries by traditional healers to help a variety of ailments such as arthritis, liver disease, kidney stones, gout, inflammation of the mouth, stomach and bowel disorders, lung ailments, fatigue, and as a diuretic. But is has only been in the last few decades that researchers have been backing up these long held health claims with hard evidence.
It’s not that black current didn’t possess amazing healing properties till science decided to study them. It’s more a case that now research is being funded to study certain foods and boy are the scientist coming out with some amazing results!
Although it is rather silly to reduce the benefits of a food to 1 or 2 ingredients, when you design a study it helps to focus your attention on the superstar components. When it comes to black currents, they contain extremely high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C but the super star of this berry is the anthocyanin present in the skin of the fruit. Although all types black currents have some of the highest levels of anthocyanin content of any berry, it is the New Zealand black current that comes out on top.
New Zealand black currant have been found to contain 1.5 times more anthocyanin that black currents grown anywhere else in the world. New Zealand’s pristine environment, unpolluted air, high ultraviolet light intensity, and specially bred varieties results in our berries having some of the highest anthocyanin levels in the world. An exciting feature about the health benefits of black current is that in studies, all forms from juice, jam, powder and capsule showed similar blood concentration results, meaning that the health benefits of black current can be delivered in many different way to suite each person.
Local and international researchers have conducted several human trials and have found that the parts of the body most affected by black currant are:
- Circulatory Health
Studies have identified a compound in black current that reduces inflammation caused by allergy induced asthma. In addition, the same compound acts as an immune booster for the lung tissue helping to inhibit the influenza virus.
Which may help people who suffer from compromised immune systems and are prone to chronic lung infections. Or anyone really who just wants some extra protection during cold and flu season.
Anthocyanin from black current was given to trial participants to help improve night vision and to see if eye fatigue caused by over use, was reduced. At even the modest dose of 50mg per day, those in the group taking black currant extract had a significant improvement in night vision acuity.
In addition people who get eye fatigue from sitting in front of computers all day benefited from 50mg of black currant anthocyanin’s a day.
Those in the group given the placebo showed significant deterioration in refractive index indicating visual fatigue. In people who suffer from glaucoma positive changes in intraocular pressure as well as prevention of deterioration of the visual field have been reported.
There has been much research conducted on black currant and brain health. Black currant has been found to increase blood flow to the brain by helping to dilate intracerebral blood vessels.
Good blood flow to the brain is extremely important to maintain brain health, in addition proper blood flow to the brain tissue can help to reduce symptoms and progression of degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Certain compounds in black currant have also been shown to help improve mood and alter concentrations of brain neurotransmitters that play a large role in mood balance.
Due to its ability to increase blood flow throughout the body, black currant’s health benefits can be found in many different organ systems. For example, because of the increased blood flow to the muscles, black currant helps to prevent the build up of lactic acid after exercise, which thus aids in a speedier recovery as well as a boost in normal immune response to regular exercise.
Increased blood flow benefits the heart and cardiovascular system, but black currant also has been shown to reduce inflammation in blood vessels which helps to ward off atherosclerosis and constriction of the vessels the bring blood to the tissues.
Black currant is LIKELY SAFE when used as food, or when black currant berry or seed oil is used appropriately as medicine. Not enough is known about black currant dried leaf to be able to rate its safety.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking black currant if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Bleeding disorders: Black currant might slow blood clotting. There is some concern that it might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Low blood pressure: Black currant can lower blood pressure. In theory, taking black currant might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.
Surgery: Black currant might slow blood clotting. There is concern that it might increase the risk of extra bleeding during and after surgery. Stop taking black currant at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
None are recorded.
Source: NzHealthFood, http://www.nzhealthfood.com/news/health-benefits-of-blackcurrant-powder/