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The black currant is a species of berry and is the fruit of Ribes Nigrum, a perennial plant that is native to Asia and northern Europe. It’s a small round fruit (1 cm in diameter) that is very dark purple in colour – so dark in fact, it’s almost black (hence the name). It has long been touted as a healthy fruit with medicinal uses dating as far back as the middle ages where it was used to treat bladder stones and general flu symptoms.
Many studies have actually shown black currants to be one of the most potent fruits with regards to all around nutrition. It has been shown that black currants contain more nutrients per 100g than blueberries, cherries, mangoes and oranges just to name a few. This isn’t your typically glamorous exotic super fruit but it goes to show that hard-to-find, obscure fruits aren’t always the healthiest.
The black currant can either be eaten raw, be consumed as black currant juice or as flavouring for sweets, energy drinks and sometimes dairy products such as yogurts. You may even find extracts of the fruit present in dietary supplements!
Black Currant Nutrition
The reason why the blackcurrant is regarded as a superfruit is due to its rather high concentration of nutrients. The fruit contains an exceptionally high concentration of Vitamin C – up to 302% of your RDA per 100g – which is almost 6 TIMES the amount you would get in an orange! Furthermore, blackcurrants are absolutely loaded with minerals. You’ll find iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and calcium – all which are necessary for vital bodily functions.
Health Benefits of Black Currants
Blackcurrants also come with a long list of health benefits. Ground-breaking scientific research has revealed that the phytochemicals (chemicals that may have biological significance but are not established as essential nutrients) present in black currants have the potential to inhibit inflammation mechanisms which tend to lead to conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
There exists a supplement that is derived from black currants that has proven effective against a myriad of conditions. The supplement is black currant seed oil and its capabilities are nothing short of miraculous. The oil is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamin E. A pilot study revealed that the oil reduced the incidence of atopic dermatitis (an inflammatory skin condition common in newborns) in breastfed newborns when the oil was supplemented over a period of two years. Furthermore, it has been shown to relieve symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Other names for Black Current include: Cassis, Feuille de Cassis, Gadelier Noir, Groseille Noir, Grosella Negra, Huile de Pépins de Cassis, Nabar, Paper, Ribes Nigri Folium (Black Currant Leaf), Ribes Nero, Ribes nigrum.