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Blackcurrant: Uses, Benefits and Nutritional Value

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Introduction

Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) is an edible berry grown in different parts of the world, majorly in Europe and Asia. This plant is a part of the Gooseberry family and is available in many different varieties, including white currant, red currant, and pink currant. During summer, the shrub bears fruit, and once they ripen, they turn into glossy, purple berries which can be eaten and used for cooking, making drinks and herbal medicine. Blackcurrants have a strong, tart taste due to the presence of high levels of tannins in them. The berry tastes sweeter when eaten dried, they are nutrient-rich berries, contain phytonutrients, vitamins, essential fatty acids, and minerals and have the highest antioxidant value. 

Blackcurrant

Nutritional Value of Blackcurrant:

Listed below is the nutritional value of 1 cup / 112 gms of blackcurrants: 

Energy71 Kcal
Carbohydrates17.23 g
Protein1.57 g
Water91.8 g
Total Fat0.46 g
Calcium62 mg
Iron1.72 mg
Zinc0.3 mg
Copper0.096 mg
Magnesium27 mg
Phosphorus66 mg
Potassium361 mg
Sodium2 mg
Vitamin C202.7 mg
Vitamin A258 IU
Vitamin E 1.12 mg
Vitamin B-60.074 mg
Thiamin0.056 mg
Riboflavin0.056 mg
Niacin0.336 mg

I came across certain studies suggesting that blackcurrants contain anthocyanins and antioxidant properties. These bioactive compounds might help in increasing ocular blood flow in patients suffering from glaucoma.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Blackcurrant:

Blackcurrants are known and widely consumed for the following health benefits- 

  • It has high vitamin C content and is a powerful antioxidant
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties
  • It may help strengthen the immune system
  • It may have antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiseptic potential
  • It may have anti-cancer effects
  • It may aid in healthy digestion
  • It may improve brain health and cognitive abilities
  • It may boost muscle and bone health
  • It may have anti-diabetic effects
  • It may promote weight loss
  • It may be good for lung health
  • It may help improve vision and eye health
  • It may help decrease plaque buildup 
  • It may be good for kidney and liver functioning
  • It may be responsible for lowering blood pressure and promoting a healthy heart 
  • It may be beneficial for skin health

Potential uses of Blackcurrant:

Blackcurrant is a powerhouse of nutrients, it is loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, has low-fat content and offers several health benefits.

Potential use of blackcurrant as an antioxidant:

Blackcurrants have antioxidants in abundance, including anthocyanins, which are responsible for giving the berries their dark colour and help fight off free radicals in the body. Anthocyanins in blackcurrants may even help to slow the development of certain types of cancer. These antioxidants effectively boost the immune system, allowing your body to shield you against several infections and viruses. Due to oxidative stress, many heart diseases are triggered and consuming blackcurrants daily may help improve your overall heart health.

Potential use of blackcurrant for the heart:

Blackcurrants have flavonoids and strong antioxidant properties, which may help maintain cardiovascular health. Blackcurrants are rich in anthocyanins which cause a decrease in total cholesterol and LDL levels, they also increase serum HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Oxidative stress leads to cell damage and causes heart problems, eating blackcurrants may be helpful, it has anti-inflammatory properties and shows a significant decrease in arterial pressure. The magnesium content in them is also responsible for good heart health. Heart conditions are quite serious and must be timely diagnosed. Get yourself checked by a doctor from time to time and seek medical treatment if required.

Potential use of blackcurrant in diabetes management:

Black currants have high levels of manganese, which is an essential mineral that may help regulate blood sugar levels. The phytochemicals present in blackcurrants may improve insulin sensitivity, and anthocyanins block the activity of carbohydrate-metabolizing enzymes and slow down the rapid breakdown of carbohydrates to regulate blood glucose levels. However, the potential benefits of blackcurrant need to be studied further, and people suffering from diabetes must follow the instructions of a qualified doctor.

Potential use of blackcurrant for the liver:

Blackcurrants are polyphenol-rich foods and may effectively protect the structural lipids and proteins. Blackcurrants cannot be considered a reliable cure for liver disease, but they may help aid healthy liver functioning.

Also Read: Elderberry Benefits: A Deep Dive into Its Research-Backed Health Effects

How to Use Blackcurrant?

Blackcurrant can be consumed in various forms, such as:

  • Fresh Fruit
  • Dry Fruit
  • Blackcurrant teas and infusions
  • Desserts
  • Puddings
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Syrups
  • Smoothies
  • Savoury dishes
  • Yogurt
  • Mojitos
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Blackcurrant seed oil

Blackcurrants are flavourful, they can be eaten in various forms, and they are part of many sweet or savoury dishes. Adding sugar or honey can make them taste sweeter and be prepared as desserts. They are also used to make jams and syrups. Blackcurrant seed oil is extremely useful; it is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and is effective for arthritis, being used as a base or carrier oil in medicine. The oil is also used in the preparation of skincare products due to its anti-ageing and anti-inflammatory benefits. It helps repair tissue damage, works wonders for acne and eczema, moisturises skin, enhances hair growth and makes your nails look beautiful and nourished. 

It is necessary to speak with a certified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. You must never discontinue or replace any ongoing medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal supplement without consulting a certified doctor. 

Side Effects of Blackcurrants:

Blackcurrants are beneficial for your health, they are considered safe when consumed within limits. 

  • Allergies caused due to blackcurrants are rare, but if you are allergic to apricot, raspberry, or pollen, you may be allergic to blackcurrants. Consult the doctor if you experience food allergy symptoms like rashes, skin irritation around the mouth, or nausea.
  • Blackcurrants slow down blood clotting. People who take blood-thinning medication must not consume them or their oil before surgical procedures. Blackcurrant seed oil increases the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. 
  • It may lower blood pressure, if you have hypertension or take blood pressure medication, avoid eating blackcurrants. 
  • They have a very high vitamin C concentration and may cause gastrointestinal disturbances if it remains unabsorbed, and may also contribute to the formation of kidney stones.

 Therefore, always ensure that you get in touch with a doctor before adding blackcurrants to your diet.

Based on some studies, blackcurrants contain two bioactive compounds, monoamine, and anthocyanin. These compounds might help in improving cognitive functions. Thus, I would recommend eating blackcurrants if you want to have a sharp brain!

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Precautions to Take With Blackcurrants:

Blackcurrants should always be consumed in moderate amounts as part of the daily diet. Any excess consumption will cause soft stools, mild diarrhoea, and intestinal gas. If a person is pregnant and breastfeeding, it is advised to consult the doctor before consuming blackcurrants. 

People who are using blackcurrant seed oil for skin or hair must always do a patch test first. One must avoid taking blackcurrant seed oil with anticoagulant drugs and discuss the benefits and risks of it with a doctor beforehand.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. Is it safe to eat blackcurrants every day?

Yes, if you want to derive the health benefits of blackcurrants, you must eat them every day. However, you must eat them in recommended doses only and exceeding the daily intake may cause some side effects.

Q2. Can pregnant women eat blackcurrants? 

Yes, eating blackcurrants during pregnancy is beneficial, it will provide vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and many other nutrients essential for the development of the fetus and the mother. However, to be safe, you may consult the doctor. 

Q3. Do blackcurrants aid in weight loss?

 Blackcurrants can help you feel full for a long time. These can be a healthy pick for people on a weight management diet.  More studies and research are being conducted to understand their full potential.

Q4. Can blackcurrants be eaten before or after working out? 

Yes, you may eat blackcurrants before working out as it provides adequate energy and may help you reach your fitness goals faster, or you may eat blackcurrant after working out as it promotes blood flow.

Q5. Do blackcurrants have high vitamin C content? 

Yes, blackcurrants contain four times the amount of vitamin C than oranges.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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