BLACKCURRANTS - The new super food
Sitting on the back of the blueberry super-food craze, the humble British blackcurrant is having somewhat of a revival. With most of the country’s blackcurrant production going to either Ribena or Danish bacon – they use it as an edible ink for printing the words ‘Danish Bacon on their food – the current fashion for any food that has credible medical benefits has started to see a change in the blackcurrants fortunes.
Recent research has shown that the blackcurrant is “…bursting with more health-promoting antioxidants than most other vegetable and fruits, including blueberries…” Not only do they contain more vitamin C 'weight for weight' than a fresh orange, they are also packed with high levels of vitamins too. Research has also shown that these high levels of potent antioxidants have beneficial effects against a range of illnesses and conditions including heat disease, Alzheimer’s and the super-bug MRSA. Blackcurrants also contain several rare nutrients, like GLA ( Gamma Linoleic Acid, a very rare Omega-6 essential fatty acid) and MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors).
The high levels of anthocyanins that are found in blackcurrants are also shown to be beneficial in warding off ailments including heart disease, cancer, again - Alzheimer’s disease (2006 Tuft’s University Study), diabetes and high blood pressure. But using blackcurrants to treat illness isn't a new phenomenon as they been used since the middle-ages to treat bladder stones, liver disorders, coughs, chest ailments, urinary problems, and various skin conditions
Once an illegal berry in the United States, blackberries have now been proven to have higher levels of antioxidants, and range of vitamins and minerals than virtually any other fruit - including blueberries and pomegranates - for health-giving qualities.
Eating fresh blackcurrants or drinking blackcurrant juice is an easy way to get access to these health promoting natural chemicals but if you are buying them from the supermarket then you will need to be aware that the longer these fruits stay on the shelves - the further the vitamins levels inside the fruit will drop. Worst still, if you are buying blackcurrants in a carton of refrigerated smoothie you will see on the packet that they have been pasteurised to maintain their freshness. Unfortunately the pasteurisation process also destroys many of the natural health giving enzymes and proteins that are contained within the fruit. The truth is that – at least with regards to blackcurrants - the fresher they are, then the better they are for you, and if you want the freshest crop then you can do no better than growing them in your very own garden.
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