What is Black Currant: Uses, Health Benefits and Harms, Side Effects, Juice, Tea

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Black currants are healthier, and sometimes larger, and more aromatic, and sweeter than red ones. This is probably why it is much more popular not only among gardeners, but also among buyers. It is known that these bright, colorful fruits have a beneficial effect on the health, well-being and daily tone of a person. Recent innovative scientific research confirms not only antimicrobial, but also anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties of this berry.

There are contraindications, specialist advice is needed

 

What is Black currant: Uses, Health Benefits and Harms, Side Effects, Juice, Tea

 

Black currant: composition and calorie content

When it comes to the composition of black currant, every second person will say about the predominance of vitamin C. This is not at all surprising, because this berry is among the top ten plant sources in terms of the amount of vitamin C in the composition, since it contains 181 mg per 100 grams. To provide a daily intake of ascorbic acid in the diet, it is enough to consume only 20 grams of fresh fruits.

An interesting fact for those who need to know exactly how much vitamin C is in black currants: the concentration is much higher in unripe fruits than in ripe ones, because as it ripens, the amount of vitamins decreases, and if the berry is overripe, there are practically no vitamins in it.

Vitamin C is significantly higher in the buds, flowers and leaves of the bush, which is why these parts of the plant are often recommended in folk medicine.

Vitamin E (1 mg in 100 grams of fresh fruit) is the second most abundant vitamin, which is known for being responsible for the proper functioning of the reproductive system and slowing down the aging process. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B5.

 

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Note! The exact amount of substances (minerals, vitamins) directly depends on:

  • climate (in the hot season, the amount of “usefulness” decreases by about 25%),
  • places of collection (in cold northern regions there is more vitamin C in berries).

In the list of minerals, potassium is in the first place: 322 mg in 100 grams of fresh fruits, which is almost 15% of the daily value of an adult. Black currant is useful for the body by the presence of phosphorus (59 mg) and calcium (55 mg). But most often their action is not based on individual effects, but on a synergistic effect, which manifests itself due to the complex action of all components that systematically enhance the effect of each other with constant use of the product.

If you are interested in the question of how many calories are in black currants, then the answer is simple: there are only 63 kcal in 100 grams of fresh berries. This is a very low indicator, therefore, among the main properties, one can also note assistance in getting rid of excess weight.

 

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Useful properties of black currant

Thanks to vitamin complexes and microelements, the plant has special healing properties. Eating fruits fresh, as well as in the form of juice or decoction, will help to “survive” the period of vitamin deficiency, increase appetite, and improve metabolism. The benefits of black currant for the human body are manifested in the treatment of diseases of the stomach and intestines, it also helps to raise the level of hemoglobin in the blood, plus it has the following effects on the human body:

  • diuretic,
  • tonic,
  • vasodilator,
  • blood-purifying,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • diaphoretic.

The invaluable properties of black currant were noticed in antiquity, when healers began to treat or alleviate the symptoms of the most complex ailments with its help. Modern medicine also often uses all parts of this shrub for medicinal, prophylactic, and therapeutic purposes. Black currant has an excellent taste, therefore, using these berries, you combine business with pleasure – enjoy the taste and strengthen the body .

 

Medicinal properties

Undoubtedly, there are harm and health benefits in black currant, so before you start using it for health purposes, it is important to find proven, reliable sources about its medicinal properties. In this article, we have collected all the relevant research and scientific facts, so let’s take a closer look at how black currant is useful for our body.

 

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For the cardiovascular system

Adding berries to your daily diet helps to normalize cholesterol levels in the body, increasing good and minimizing bad. It activates blood circulation and reduces the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Plus, due to the presence of potassium and gamma-linolenic acid in the composition, it helps to lower blood pressure and prevent the formation of blood clots on the inner walls of blood vessels. Also, due to the large amount of anthocyanins, which not only give a deep, rich color to the berry, it is extremely good for the prevention of diseases of the heart and arteries.

 

With diabetes

This brightly juicy berry is a low glycemic food that helps prevent spikes in blood sugar and is beneficial for people with diabetes. It is known that the amount of carbohydrates consumed affects the level of glucose in the blood, and the sugars contained in fruits are represented by fructose and glucose. When consumed in their natural, pure form, fructose does not increase sugar levels in the body.

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100 g of black currant berries contain 7.3 g of carbohydrates, and 7.7 g – in red. For comparison: 100 g of chocolate contains 30 grams of carbohydrates. That is why the consumption of these berries can be recommended for patients with diabetes .

 

For eyes

Ophthalmologists recommend vitamins C and A for dry, burning and itchy eyes, so the benefits of black currant in this matter are undeniable. Its use will help moisturize the fundus of the eye, slow down the deterioration of vision from old age or injury, and get rid of the unpleasant symptoms of eye fatigue during the day. Due to the presence of antioxidants, the berry is considered the best prevention of cataracts, plus it can reduce eye pressure in people with

 

For joints

The berry contains gamma-linolenic acid , which is the prototype of an omega-6 fatty acid that helps reduce inflammation in the body in case of joint diseases. Blackcurrant helps reduce pain in rheumatoid arthritis and restores mobility to joints. The berry is good for arthritis because it contains anthocyanins. These components help to reduce inflammation, reduce the effects of the disease on the body.

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An important fact! Anthocyanins are sensitive to heat treatment as well as light. Therefore, you need to be careful that the constituent substances do not lose their beneficial, healing properties. When using, try to control the interaction of anthocyanins with the external environment.

 

For the gastrointestinal tract

Among the medicinal properties of black currant, one can note the benefits for the gastrointestinal tract. With frequent disorders of the digestive system, it is used in the form of a decoction of dried berries for the purpose of treatment. Plus, due to the high amount of antioxidants and compounds such as phytonutrients, anthocyanins and tannins in the composition, it prevents the likelihood of inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

Also, this berry helps in increasing beneficial microorganisms in the intestines, which means it helps to improve the functioning of the entire digestive system.

 

For the reproductive system

The anthocyanins in black currant are beneficial for men’s health, as a large amount of flavonoids helps to minimize the risk of erectile sexual dysfunction in the stronger sex. Also, berries and leaves of black currant are indispensable for the genitourinary system as an excellent diuretic to increase urine output. Plus, black currant contains proanthocyanidins, which are important for the health of the female reproductive system. These substances kill bacteria that cause cystitis and similar diseases .

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For skin and hair

Adequate intake of vitamin C helps build and maintain levels of collagen, a youth-friendly protein found in hair and skin. Plus vitamin A promotes the production of sebum and is responsible for good hydration of the hair. Therefore, the great benefit of black currant for the body of women is that it helps to rejuvenate the skin and improve the condition of the hair . Many experts recommend blackcurrant masks as a preventative treatment for acne. In particular, black currant oil is a proven, reliable aid in the fight against hair breakage, created by nature.

 

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For immunity

Black currant is a true “doctor” capable of restoring the strength of a weakened body after suffering ailments and strengthening the immune system. The vitamin and mineral composition of these wonderful berries helps in the development of the child’s body and supports the health of an adult. The use of black currants in the menu guarantees protection from viruses and flu. Plus, it helps to get rid of the virus that causes oral and genital herpes, as the berry prevents the herpes from adhering to the cells and prevents the spread of the disease in the body.

 

Benefits for women

Broths based on blackcurrant buds and leaves soothe the beautiful half of humanity with nervous breakdowns, depression, headache or menstrual pain, insomnia . The benefit of black currant for women is that it normalizes sleep, as it is rich in magnesium, and magnesium is a mineral that is directly related to improving the quality, duration and tranquility of a night’s rest. Plus, it also helps regulate metabolism and reduce the risks of sleep disturbance and anxiety.

 

Benefits for pregnant and lactating women

There is scientific evidence that the addition of blackcurrant seed oil to the diet of pregnant and lactating mothers reduces the incidence of atopic dermatitis in breastfed babies. Although the maximum daily intake of berries is no more than 75 grams, during pregnancy it is allowed to increase the dose to 150 grams per day, but only on the recommendation of the supervising doctor.

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The use of black currant in medicine

Even in Ancient Russia, this plant was harvested in advance and used in the treatment of diseases. Now more are used pharmaceutical options from the pharmacy based on this berry, which help to solve the problem of vitamin deficiency and fever during a fever. Also, the use of black currant in old age helps to prevent atherosclerosis, because in its composition salicylic acid is a natural analogue of aspirin.

In the form of decoctions, it is used to relieve symptoms:

  • colds
  • digestive problems and diarrhea,
  • diseases of the kidneys and urinary system.

Also in ancient times, scrofula in babies was treated with a decoction from the rudiments of a leaf of a currant culture, and now they are used in cosmetology and as a hemostatic agent.

 

Use in traditional medicine

From the leaves and buds of black currant, infusions are prepared, which are used as a disinfectant, diaphoretic, antiseptic and diuretic for diseases of the kidneys and bladder caused by inflammation and metabolic disorders in the body. The plant helps in the treatment of various diseases and copes with them in a short period of time.

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A decoction of bush leaves is advised to drink to strengthen the immune system, this is especially true for those who are often sick. Such drinks tone up, make up for the lack of vitamins in the body . Black currant has also gained popularity in the treatment of skin diseases. Tinctures, ointments, decoctions effectively help with dermatitis, allergies, rashes, eczema and lichen.

 

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Folk recipes with black currant

  • For diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic, anti-inflammatory action, use fresh juice from berries (50-100 g three times a day) or a decoction or jelly from fresh and dry fruits.
  • For the prevention of atherosclerosis, older people are advised to mix fresh berries with sugar in proportions 1: 2 and drink once a day.
  • In case of urolithiasis, dysbiosis, constipation, hemorrhoids, pour 20 g of dry currant berries with a glass of boiled water, leave for 15 minutes and consume half a glass 5 times a day.
  • To increase immunity, dried fruits of rose hips and black currants are taken in proportions of 1: 1, filled with hot water in a proportion of 1: 2, infused in a closed container until cooled, in order to drink half a glass daily.
  • With gastritis with low acidity, enterocolitis, bronchitis, it is better to drink fresh currant juice 2/3 cup 3 times a day.
  • For chronic tonsillitis, sore throat, laryngitis, or pharyngitis, dilute blackcurrant juice in half with clean still water and gargle throughout the day.
  • To alleviate the fever, 50 g of buds and shoots of a currant culture are crushed, 500 ml of boiling water is poured (you can in a thermos). Drink in a warm form, 150 ml 3-4 times a day.
  • In order to prepare a healing tea for colds or flu, take 2 tablespoons of crushed leaves, pour 500 milliliters of hot water. Then you should let the tea brew for 10-15 minutes and drink in small sips throughout the day.

To get the most out of black currants, it is preferable to eat them fresh or harvest them without heat treatment, for example: freeze, dry or grind with sugar. Such blanks can be used to make healthy sauces, fillings and medicines all year round.

 

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Science of the benefits of black currant (research)

  • Clinical study at the University of Eastern Finland completed in 2020. The study examined the effect of black currant on post-meal glucose and insulin concentrations. In addition, the level of cytokines and free fatty acids was checked.
  • In 2012, an article was published on the medical portal PubMed on the topic “The health benefits of black currant.” The author of the work is Ashwin Gopalan of the Department of Cancer Treatment and Chemotherapy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Northeastern Ohio University of Medicine in the United States.
  • In 2010, a scientific article was published on the topic “Anthocyanin-rich black currant extract inhibits the growth of human hepatocellular carcinoma cells.”
  • The biochemical properties of fresh and frozen black currants and juices were studied by Boban Djordjevic of the University of Belgrade.
  • Determined the chemical characterization and biological profile of black and red currants by Gordana Zdunich and Dejan Plevlyakusic from the Institute for Medicinal Plants Research.
  • In 2013, biologically active substances of new varieties of black currant were studied by Myasishcheva N.V., Artemova E.N.
  • Deborah Esposito of the Institute of Plants for Human Health, North Carolina State University (USA) conducted a study on the effect of blackcurrant anthocyanins on reducing weight gain and improving metabolism in mice.
  • A work on the addition of blackcurrant seed oil to the diet of nursing mothers to reduce the risk of atopic dermatitis in infants has been published on the medical-scientific portal.
  • Research has been released on the Oxford Academy website on the effects of blackcurrant seed oil supplementation on the immune system of the elderly.

 

Contraindications and harm of black currant

Despite the benefits, black currant is harmful, since its fruits have the following contraindications:

  • You can not use decoctions, juices and other options for preparing berries in large quantities, as they can form ulcers, gastritis and other gastric diseases.
  • Although it is good for the liver, its use is completely prohibited for hepatitis.
  • If there are problems with rapid blood clotting, then it is worth remembering that black berry helps to speed up this process.
  • Possible manifestations in the form of rashes and allergies with individual intolerance to the components.

 

How to choose and use it correctly?

It is worth choosing a berry harvested from late July to mid-August. To keep it safe and stored for a long time, it is better to harvest in dry weather, pick it with branches and transport it in baskets or boxes. The container for berries should be low and wide enough so that the berries are not “squeezed”.

The healthiest option for eating black currants is raw. The maximum daily allowance is 50–75 grams. It is actively chosen for the preparation of compotes, fruit drinks, jelly, juices, decoctions and teas. Also in cooking, various versions of syrups, jellies, marshmallows, fillings for sweets and pastries are made from it.

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How to preserve black currants

Unlike leaves, which can be harvested almost all year round, currant berries are harvested once, and only some varieties can yield twice a year. It is better to eat or process berries picked in the rain, because excess moisture leads to rapid deterioration of the product.

When the currants are harvested according to all the rules, then it can be stored:

  • fresh in the refrigerator or frozen in the freezer;
  • dry indoors;
  • pureed with sugar (confiture);
  • canned in jars for the winter.

An important fact! If the processing of berries is planned in the next two weeks, then at temperatures up to 12 ° C and average humidity, they will not have time to deteriorate. Therefore, it is better to keep them in the refrigerator at this time.

 

Freezing

For competent freezing of black currants for a year in advance, it is important to observe the following cycle of actions:

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  1. Buy or collect on your own the most selected fruits (large, without damage), rinse and dry.
  2. Spread out evenly in one layer; if you have to increase the number of layers, then make a plastic layer between them.
  3. The freezing process takes from 12 to 20 hours, and preferably all 24.
  4. Then pour the frozen berries into a plastic or paper bag and store in the freezer. The shelf life of such fruits is up to 12 months.

 

Drying

To dry the berries, it is necessary to sort out, wash and dry thoroughly, then lay them evenly in one layer. You can dry it in the air, in a special dryer for berries or in an oven preheated to 60-70 degrees for about 4 hours. Transfer the dried berries to an airtight jar or just a bag. Store only in a dry place at room temperature. This is an effective way to preserve vitamins and minerals, but it is still recommended to give preference to storage in the form of freezing, since some of the nutrients are irretrievably lost during drying.

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