Do you eat enough blackcurrants?

Do you eat enough blackcurrants?

Blackcurrants have long been regarded as a superfruit, commonly renowned for their rich antioxidant content which has been proven to help keep us healthy. Proven benefits include the reduction of cancerous tumours, alleviation of eye strain, muscle inflammation and cold and flu due to their high vitamin C content.

And these Superfruits don’t stop there; research from all over the world now indicates that the humble Blackcurrant has proven values against the three main stress inputs to the human body: dietary stress, physical stress (especially sport related) and mental stress. 

1.    Blackcurrants vs Dietary Stress

Scientists in Finland have discovered that berries such as the blackcurrant may be linked to reducing the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome - the medical term for a combination of major degenerative conditions diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

The Department of Biochemistry & Food Chemistry at the University of Turku in Finland, launched a study which compared the effects of lifestyle intervention with and without berry products on the risks associated with metabolic syndrome.

The study found that those who incorporated berries within their diet significantly reduced the levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) – high levels of ALAT usually indicate a damaged liver. The 23% decrease in the ALAT value in the berry group showed significant signs of enhancing liver function. In the long term, this reduction could contribute to a decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

2.    Blackcurrants vs Physical Stress 

Lactic acid has long been the major villain when it comes to limiting performance during exercise. Lactic acid is a byproduct of metabolism, which builds up in the muscles and blood during vigorous exercise. The more you exercise, the higher your lactate threshold. Once you exceed this threshold, the activity rapidly becomes more difficult and unpleasant. This has a negative effect for sports people as in the short term they may be unable to exercise and their performance compromised.

A recent trial by the Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences at Chichester University completed a clinical trial, testing the effects of Sujon™ Berryfruits on lactate accumulation. 

The research showed clear, unequivocal results, that taking the blackcurrant powder lowers lactate accumulation during the cycling trials for triathletes, without affecting performance. Intake of the Sujon blackcurrant powder was associated with a substantial reduction in lactate during sustained cycling, and lactate accumulation at aerobic capacity.

3.    Blackcurrants vs Mental Stress 

As well as dietary and physical stress, research also shows that an extract of blackcurrants enriched in antioxidants can help people stay more alert, reduce mental fatigue and work with greater accuracy while under significant mental stress.  This benefit from blackcurrants is due to them having higher concentrations of the compounds needed to combat fatigue than any other fruit.

Scientists recommend that taking an enriched blackcurrant extract before performing stressful mental tests should help maintain accuracy. The recent study conducted by Plant & Food Research in New Zealand concluded that those who increased their intake of blackcurrants significantly reduced their mental fatigue.

British blackcurrants are grown and bred especially for their high level of anthocyanins, which gives them their deep purple colour, and whilst they can only be found fresh during the season, which starts this week in Britain and lasts until October, their health benefits can be reaped all year round in the form of blackcurrant juices, cordials, yoghurts and frozen fruit.

It doesn’t just stop there either, British Blackcurrants are proven to help protect against:

Colds and flu

Blackcurrants, weight for weight, have a higher vitamin C content than an orange. A daily dose of vitamin C can reduce the length and severity of colds and flu.


Drinking blackcurrants can help reduce the frequency, severity and duration of urinary tract infections. The proanthocyanidins found in Blackcurrants can successfully interfere with the bad bacteria that causes cystitis.

Eye strain

Blackcurrants increase blood flow to parts of the retina and reduce susceptibility to eye fatigue and eye strain.

Cancerous tumours

American scientists have recently discovered that the humble blackcurrant may be inextricably linked to the reduction of cancerous tumours.


Bioactive compounds in blackcurrants possess properties which protect the brain and may help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.


Blackcurrant juice can alter human responses to sugar intake and beneficially alter blood glucose levels which is very beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes.

If you’re looking to get a blackcurrant health boost, why not try these delicious blackcurrant energy bars that are sure to get you through that mid-afternoon slump too.

Blackcurrant energy bar

Prep 20 minutes

Cook 55 minutes - 1 hour

Makes 18

You will need:

A 20cm square tin, lightly oiled

350g fresh or thawed from frozen blackcurrants

100g caster sugar

100g soft brown sugar

200g butter

275g rolled porridge oats

75g pistachios, roughly chopped

75g ready-to-eat figs, chopped into small pieces

100g plain flour

zest of 1 lime

3 tbsp golden syrup


Preheat the oven to 200C/fan180C/gas 6. In a wide-based pan, gently melt the butter for a few minutes.

Take a large bowl and mix together the oats, flour, sugar, pistachios, figs and lime zest, then stir in the melted butter and golden syrup until combined and the oats are evenly coated.

Pour half the flapjack mixture into the base of the prepared tin, then add a middle layer of the blackcurrants, followed by the remaining oats, pressing each layer into an even surface as you go.

Place in the oven for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden and starting to crisp at the sides.

Leave to completely cool on a wire rack before cutting into 18 bars.

Store in an airtight container. 


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