What are the benefits of blackcurrant?

Clinical Trials & Research

New research investigates the benefits of blackcurrant and the potential of this sweet-and-sour fruit to regulate blood sugar.

Rich in a variety of different vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, including vitamin C, folate, and potassium, fruit is great for the body and can produce a variety of health benefits.  This can help the body repair injuries, promote the healthy function of blood and organ systems, and provide energy.  In addition, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help to maintain healthy body weight; most fruits are rich in satiety-promoting fibre, and low in calories and dietary fat.

Recent research is focusing on the potential health benefits of berries.  Not only are they tasty, darker-coloured berries in particular contain many lesser-known compounds that could help with improving the health of a variety of body functions.  One category of these compounds is called anthocyanins; these are a type of flavonoid found in tea, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and red wine. 

Interestingly, anthocyanins have demonstrated the potential to protect against several different diseases in research studies.  One predisposing factor for a variety of diseases, including diabetes, is high or unstable blood sugar.  One study conducted by the University of Eastern Finland and the Savonia University of Applied Sciences investigated whether anthocyanins extracted from blackcurrants were associated with decreased blood glucose levels.  A study was performed, and the findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

The study group included 26 healthy adults, consisting of 22 women and 4 men. They consumed three different solutions at three different times: one containing sugar, one containing sugar and blackcurrant puree, and one containing sugar, blackcurrant puree, and fermented quinoa.  All three solutions had 31 grams of sugar each.  Blood samples were taken prior to the consumption of solutions where the participants fasted, as well as in 15-minute intervals up until three hours after consumption.

Both blackcurrant products resulted in a less severe spike in blood sugar than the solution containing only sugar.  Both blackcurrant products were also associated with a decreased spike in free fatty acid levels in the blood. 

The results of this study suggest that consumption of blackcurrant with a meal high in simple sugars could potentially reduce the resultant spike in blood sugar.  More research is needed to determine the significance of this relationship, as well as determine whether this decreased rise in blood sugar levels could potentially reduce the risk of type two diabetes. 

References:

EurekAlert! (2020 December 3). American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved 2020 December 9, from https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-12/uoef-baf120320.php

Lappi, J., Raninen, K., Vakevainen, K., et al (2020). Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) lowers sugar-induced postprandial glycaemia independently and in a product with fermented quinoa: a randomized crossover trial. British Journal of Nutrition, 1(28). Doi:10.1017/S0007114520004468

Lila, M. (2004). Anthocyanins and Human Health: An In Vitro Investigative Approach. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology 2004(5): 306-313. Doi: 10.1155/S111072430440401X

USDA ChooseMyPlate. (n.d.). The United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2020 December 9, from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/eathealthy/fruits/fruits-nutrients-health

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