FREQUENTY ASKED QUESTIONS
ARE BLACKCURRANT BERRIES KNOWN BY ANY OTHER NAMES?
Yes, the blackcurrant berry is known by many names. It’s spelled by some people as two separate words: Black Currants or just simply as Currants. In many parts of the world, blackcurrant is known as cassis. The formal name for this blackcurrant berry species is Ribes nigrum L., while herbalists call blackcurrants Quinsy Berry. Other common pseudonyms for blackcurrants are Forgotten Super fruit, the Forbidden Fruit, the King of Berries and the Ultimate Super fruit.
WHAT MAKES BLACKCURRANT BERRIES BLACK?
Blackcurrant berries are rich in an important family of red-purple colored anthocyanin compounds in their skin, which play an important role in overall health. The red-purple color is so deep and vibrant that it often appears black, a key representative of blackcurrants’ anthocyanin density. Valuable to human health, these anthocyanins also provide natural protection for the berry.
DOES CONSUMING FOODS, BEVERAGES OR SUPPLEMENTS MADE FROM BLACKCURRANT BERRIES CONTRIBUTE TO MY RECOMMENDED DAILY SERVINGS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?
Absolutely. Blackcurrant berries not only have a mild sweetness that is good for energy, but they also contain many vitamins and minerals, making blackcurrants an important part of a balanced diet. Nutritionists recommend that a healthy diet should be diverse in color, and blackcurrant berries are one of a limited range of fruit and vegetables belonging to the purple-blue group.
WHAT HEALTHY MOLECULES ARE PRESENT IN BLACKCURRANTS?
Blackcurrant berries are a nutritional treasure chest, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, with moderate quantities of vitamin B1I (thiamine), vitamin B3 (niacin) and calcium. At the same time, they are low in calories and sodium. Blackcurrants have the highest vitamin C content of all temperate fruits, and have higher antioxidant activity than most other fruits, including blueberries. Blackcurrant berries also contain catechins, flavonoids and other bioflavonoids, organic acids, and phenolic phytochemicals. The intake of such compounds has previously been linked to skin firming effects and a reduction in coronary heart disease, cancers and numerous other health benefits.
WHAT ANTHOCYANINS CAN BE FOUND IN BLACKCURRANT BERRIES?
Four anthocyanins: delphinidin-3-rutinoside, cyanidin-3-rutinoside, delphinidin-3-glucoside, and cyanidin-3-glucoside make up 98% of blackcurrant anthocyanins. Eleven other anthocyanins compile the remaining 2%, including petunidin and malvidin glycosides. Other phenolic compounds found in blackcurrants include quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol, gallic acid, hydroxycinnamic acid and p-coumaric acid.
HOW HAVE BLACKCURRANT BERRIES BEEN USED AS HERBAL MEDICINE?
The herbalist term for blackcurrant is Quincy Berry due to its positive affect on throat and mouth ailments, and for its ability to strengthen gums. The use of blackcurrant berries as an herbal medicine emerged in the Middle Ages, and by the 18th century, physicians and herbalists across Europe were using blackcurrants for numerous alternative medicine purposes. Blackcurrant berries were used for treatment in various intestinal conditions, typhoid fever, gout, rheumatism and for infections of the mouth, skin and urinary tract. By the early part of the 20th century, dried blackcurrant tea was used as an astringent for diarrhea, dysentery, mouth inflammations, to prevent scurvy and stop bleeding, while blackcurrant syrups were used for coughing and lung ailments.
CAN BLACKCURRANTS KEEP ME FEELING AND LOOKING YOUNGER FOR LONGER?
Recent studies have determined that cellular damage caused by free radicals and oxidants promotes ageing and many related symptoms. Blackcurrant berry’s’ extremely high antioxidant activity is believed to protect us from free radical damage, thus eliminating wrinkles, reducing skin elasticity, and offering a more youthful appearance.
CAN BLACKCURRANT BERRIES PREVENT URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS?
Ongoing research is beginning to prove that blackcurrants assist in the reduction of urinary tract infections, similar to cranberries.
HOW DOES THE NEW ZEALAND BLACKCURRANT INDUSTRY ASSURE THAT ONLY QUALITY BLACKURRANT BERRIES ARE EXPORTED?
The New Zealand Blackcurrant industry has a well established cooperative configuration designed to guarantee that only the highest quality blackcurrant products are exported. New Zealand is recognized as having one of the most technologically advanced agricultural industries in the world, and legislation provides and regulates structure, which ensures good administration, growing practices, state-of-the-art research, development and proper marketing of blackcurrant berry products.