by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Did you know that black currants used to be banned in the United States? I kid you not. Despite being a beloved snack in Europe for centuries, these small, purple-black berries were illegal in the US for quite a while.
However, black currants are finally making a comeback, and for a good reason! These little powerhouses are packed with nutrients and offer a range of health benefits. So, if you haven’t tried black currants yet, it’s time to give them a chance and discover why they’ve been so popular across the pond for so long.
Black currants are small, flavorful berries that are not only delicious but also pack a serious health punch. These berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them an excellent addition to any diet. In fact, black currants are often considered a superfood due to their many health benefits.
In this article, we are going to dive deeper and discuss the health benefits of black currant and why you should consider adding them to your nutrition plan.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It is recommended that you speak with your doctor before you change your nutrition plan or add any type of supplement to your nutrition regimen.
The Nutritional Value of Black Currants
One cup of raw black currants has the following nutritional value:
- Calories: 71
- Sodium: 2.2mg
- Carbohydrates: 17.2g
- Protein: 1.6g
- Potassium: 361mg
- Vitamin C: 46mg
- Iron: 1.7mg
5 Health Benefits of Black Currants
Are you looking for a fruit that can benefit several aspects of your overall health? Look no further than black currants! Here are five of the important health benefits associated with black currants.
1. Boost immune health
Did you know that black currants are packed with antioxidants, especially vitamin C? These powerful compounds, along with anthocyanins found in black currants, can help give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off infections and viruses. Including black currants in your diet provides your body with a tasty and natural way to help bolster your defenses and keep your health on track.
Black currant leaves have a variety of beneficial and healthy properties, such as:
According to a study, black currant supplements can improve the immune response in people who work out regularly. These individuals were also found to be able to exercise harder and for longer periods of time. Another study, including healthy older adults, showed that black currant seed oil enhanced the immune system.
2. Anti-inflammatory properties
Inflammation may lead to heart, kidney, and liver diseases. It may also cause arthritis, neurodegenerative disorders, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Foods that are rich in anti-inflammatory compounds can avoid/reduce the severity of these diseases and disorders.
Anthocyanins are a type of polyphenol that can predominantly be found in black currants. Black currant extracts subdue the activation of pro-inflammatory elements in your immune system.
Black currants contain gamma-linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that can reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have shown that gamma-linoleic acid can also ease joint pain and stiffness in people with arthritis.
3. Help reduce cancer growth
When it comes to fighting cancer, black currants could be helpful. These berries are packed with anthocyanins, which are compounds that may have the ability to slow down cancer growth. While more research is needed to fully understand the extent of black currant’s anticancer properties, the early studies are promising.
So, by adding black currant extract to your diet, you may be giving yourself an extra boost in the fight against this disease.
According to a study, black currant extract helped to curb the growth of liver cancer cells. Another study in Japan showed that black currant extract inhibited the spread of endometrial and breast cancer cells. Other research has shown that black currant extract may also be beneficial in killing off stomach and esophageal cancer cells.
4. Good for skin health
While scientific research on black currant seed oil and its effectiveness in treating skin conditions is limited, the National Psoriasis Foundation recommends the oil as a potential aid in easing psoriasis symptoms. When taken orally, black currant seed oil may effectively reduce the growth and development of psoriasis patches.
Additionally, when applied topically to dry, itchy, or stinging skin, the oil may provide relief. Although further research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of black currant seed oil for skin health, it may be a promising natural option for those looking to manage psoriasis symptoms.
5. Help treat glaucoma
Scientific research has explored the potential benefits of currants in treating glaucoma, a condition that can cause blindness due to damage to the optic nerve. A study has demonstrated that the anthocyanin compound present in black currants may promote an increase in ocular blood flow, thereby potentially slowing the progression of the disease.
While further research is needed to fully understand the extent of black currant’s effectiveness for treating glaucoma, the findings are promising and may offer a natural approach for those seeking to manage the condition.