What Are The Benefits Of Blackcurrants?
Blackcurrants can protect your digestive, circulatory, nervous, and excretory systems. These fruits have been extensively studied for their anticancer properties.
1. Have Anti-inflammatory Effects
Inflammation may cause heart, liver, and kidney diseases. It may also induce arthritis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc.). Including foods rich in anti-inflammatory compounds in your diet can prevent/reduce the severity of this phenomenon.
Anthocyanins are a class of polyphenols predominantly found in blackcurrants. Blackcurrant extracts suppress the activation of pro-inflammatory components in your immune system.
These molecules target specialized cells like macrophages. This prevents several inflammatory disorders from worsening.
2. Soothe The Stomach And Aid Digestion
These berries are abundant in flavonoids. These phytochemicals have been shown to cause smooth muscle relaxation. Blackcurrant extracts could relax contractions in the GI tract, according to animal studies.
Studies confirm the antispasmodic activity of these fruits. Quercetin, myricetin, and other flavonoids inhibit spasms in the stomach and intestines. Also, blackcurrant leaves have been used in folk medicine to treat diarrhea.
3. Boost Kidney Health
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of blackcurrants prevent chronic kidney disorders. They protect your excretory system from inflammation and infections. The extracts also inhibit the formation of kidney stones.
Blackcurrant juice/tea makes your urine more alkaline (increases its pH). It also promotes the excretion of excess citric acid and oxalic acid from your body. If not, these two acids can react to form kidney stones when left to pile up.
A hundred grams of black currants have about 4.3mg of oxalate. That makes these fruits safe for individuals with kidney disorders and bladder stones.
4. Lower Blood Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol elevate the risk of cardiovascular, liver, and other metabolic disorders. Research shows that diets rich in anthocyanins cause a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL levels. They also increase serum HDL (good) cholesterol levels.
Animal studies with blackcurrant extracts are supporting evidence of this effect. Subjects treated with this extract showed significantly lower cholesterol levels than the untreated/control ones.
Moreover, blackcurrant juices are abundant in antioxidants. These juices prevent the oxidation of lipids in your body.This way, they can prevent/delay the onset of obesity and chronic conditions like atherosclerosis and Alzheimer’s.
5. Have Antidiabetic Effects
Blackcurrant has anthocyanins like cyanidin 3-rutinoside, delphinidin 3-glucoside, and peonidin 3-rutinoside. When consumed in fair amounts, these phytochemicals improve insulin sensitivity, particularly in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes (like α-Glucosidase and pancreatic α-amylase) are the targets of anthocyanins. They block the activity of these enzymes. As a result, the rapid breakdown of carbohydrates is slowed down. Ultimately, anthocyanins can prevent sudden spikes in your blood sugar/glucose levels.
6. May Help Manage Eye Disorders
The black currant anthocyanins improve the functions of your eyes/vision. These molecules increase the blood flow in the optical nerves and eyes. Regular consumption of such foods and supplements may decelerate the loss of vision or related symptoms in patients with glaucoma.
Anthocyanins may have positive effects on chronic eye ailments. These include diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusion, and retinal artery occlusion.
These active molecules are absorbed and transferred beyond the blood-retina barrier when taken orally. They reach various parts of the ocular tissues and preserve their function. Thus, blackcurrants or their extracts can slow down the effects of aging and disease on the eyes.
7. Protect Your Brain
Like vitamin C, black currant extract inhibits lipid peroxidation in your body. Experimental studies report about 65% inhibition, thanks to its antioxidant capacity. This activity is most beneficial in protecting your central nervous system (CNS).
In the absence of this effect, free radicals accumulate in your system. Free radicals are known to trigger neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s diseases.
Usually, the accumulation of free radicals leads to inflammation of the brain cells (neurons). Blackcurrants reduce neuroinflammation because they contain anti-inflammatory molecules. A cumulative effect of these properties causes improved memory, learning, and cognitive abilities.
8. May Promote Liver Health
Alcohol abuse causes permanent changes in the structure and function of liver cells. The proteins and phospholipids get structurally modified. This may have a direct effect on the liver’s functionality.
Another problem that stems from alcohol abuse is the formation of free radicals/reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS can react with phospholipids in the liver cell membranes and trigger inflammation.
Adding polyphenol-rich foods like blackcurrants to your diet can pause/stop such detrimental effects. Blackcurrants protect the structural lipids and proteins from the attack by ROS.
In several animal studies, the skins of these berries show anti-proliferative effects on cancerous liver cells.
9. Repair And Nourish Skin
Various skin diseases arise due to inflammation, infections, or aging. They leave you with dry skin, lesions, itching, redness, scabs, etc. Atopic dermatitis is an example of a serious skin condition seen in children and adults.
Your skin would need intense repairing and conditioning in such cases. Clinical studies discovered a specific polysaccharide in blackcurrants that exerts anti-inflammatory effects. This molecule controls the production of inflammatory compounds by your immune system.
Blackcurrant seeds contain good amounts of fatty acids, like linolenic acid. Their oil suppresses the inflammation mediators in your skin. So, blackcurrants and seed oil can nourish and nurse your skin to health without any side effects.
10. Possess Antimicrobial Properties
Recent studies have reported potent antiviral properties in the leaves of wild blackcurrants. Their extracts can particularly eliminate Influenza A viruses (IAV) that cause highly contagious human diseases. The typical symptoms of IAV infections are fever, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, and nasal inflammation.
The leaf extracts prevent the entry and internalization of these viruses at the molecular/genetic level. The essential oil of these leaves also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Active compounds like caryophyllene, sabinene, terpinolene, ocimene were identified in this oil. Escherichia coli, Streptococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes are a few microbes susceptible to blackcurrant seed oil treatment.