Health benefits of black currants
Blackcurrants have significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called anthocyanins. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of blackcurrants have potential health effects against cancer, aging, inflammation and neurological diseases.
Black currants have anti-oxidant value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity- ORAC) of 7950 per 100g. One of the highest among fruits after chokeberries, elderberry and cranberries. The ORAC value for red currants is 3387.
These berries are an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. 100 g of fresh currants provide more than 300% of daily recommended intake values of vitamin C. Research studies have shown that consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps body develop immunity against infectious agents and also help scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals from the body.
Black currants are very good in vitamin-A and flavonoid anti-oxidants such as beta carotene, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin levels. These compounds are known to have antioxidant properties. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining integrity of mucus membranes and skin, and is also essential for vision. Also, consumption of natural fruits rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh blackcurrants are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish and required for metabolism.
They also contain good amounts of minerals iron. 100 g currant berries provide about 20% of daily recommended levels. Iron is an important co-factor for cytochrome oxidase guided cellular metabolism. It is also required for red blood cells production in the bone marrow.
Black currants are also very good source of other important minerals like copper, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and potassium which are very essential for body metabolism.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.41 g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||4.3 g||11%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.398 mg||8%|
|Vitamin A||230 IU||7.5%|
|Vitamin C||181 mg||301%|
Selection and storage
Black currants season lasts from July till October. If the fruits are to be stored at all, they should be picked dry. Damaging the fruits can be avoided by picking up the whole string by its stem, taking care not to damage the spur.
Fresh currants have dark purple in color, almost black, with a glossy skin and a persistent calyx at the apex. Avoid berries that are soft, shriveled skin and with cuts/bruises with leaking juice. If not used immediately, store them in the refrigerator where they keep fresh for several days.
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