45-day Paleo/Zone challenge is coming up and people tend to have difficulties figuring out what good carbs to pick, something that’s easy to pack, digest, and of course with the most health benefits. There are so many options, but what to pick? The answer is easy. You can never go wrong with berries. Let’s take a closer look at black and redcurrants for example, that could be easily found at local farmer markets and Whole Foods.
Blackcurrant doesn’t only taste good, but it is one of the healthiest berries available due to its high nutritional values. It is a popular berry during summertime, native to Central and Northern Europe and Siberia. Chinese and European folk medicine both claim dozens of traditional uses for blackcurrants as a curative.
Health benefits of blackcurrant
1. Improves energy level.
Blackcurrant proves beneficial as it increases the energy level. It is a good food that enhances the recovery process, thus reduces injury.
2. Boost your cardiovascular health.
Blackcurrant contains a high amount of flavonoids which proves the best nutrient that promote cardiovascular health. It also contains a good quantity of Omega 3. It has shown to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL) level in the blood. It improves the blood flow towards the heart and reduces the risk of the heart attack, stroke and hypertension.
3. Contain Anthocyanins and Flavonoids: Blackcurrants contain a high amount of anthocyanins, a phenolic flavonoid phytochemical. Anthocyanins are one of the compounds that make black currants uniquely powerful in antioxidants, and flavonoids like betacarotene, zeaxanthin, and cryptoxanthin help lower the risk of certain cancers, neurological diseases, slow the aging process, and fight inflammation.
4. High Antioxidant Content: The antioxidant value (ORAC – Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of blackcurrants is 7950 Trolex Equivalents per 100gm which is 4th highest after chokeberries, elderberries and cranberries.
5. High in Vitamin C: Blackcurrants are rich sources of vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant too. Consuming 100 gm of fresh blackcurrants gives you more than 300% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
6. Vitamin A
7. Rich in Vitamins: There are several essential vitamins in fresh blackcurrants like vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine).
8. Rich Source of Iron: Blackcurrants also contain a significant amount of iron. 100gm of blackcurrant gives you around 20% of the daily recommended dose of iron.
Blackcurrants are quite tart, but these amazingly healthy berries are a great choice for a snack or main meal.
The redcurrant, on the other hand, is native to parts of Western and Eastern Europe. The tart flavor of the redcurrant berry is slightly greater than the blackcurrant; however, they have the same approximate sweetness.
Health benefits of redcurrant
1. Energy Production: A cup of redcurrants carry 10% of manganese, an important cofactor in certain enzymes responsible for energy production as well as antioxidant protection.
Ø Assistance in RBC Production: Redcurrants contain iron and copper, essential for blood cell production.
Ø Bone Strength: Redcurrants also contain good amount of vitamin K, necessary for maintaining calcium in the bones. A cup of redcurrants gives you 15% of RDA of vitamin K.
2. Lower Glycemic Index: Redcurrants have lower glycemic index than most other foods, since the sugar in this fruit is absorbed slowly in blood and thereby prevents blood sugar crashes, sugar spikes, sugar cravings and mood swings.
3. Fights Infection: As a cup of redcurrants has 77% of RDA of vitamin C.
4. Assists in red blood cell formation
5. Reduces the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease: Like all red fruits and vegetables, redcurrants contain lycopene, a carotenoid that reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease.
6. Protection of Mouth: Redcurrants are useful in a number of oral cavity issues.
7. Helps to improve digestive health: Redcurrants provide fiber which improves digestion and eliminates constipation by improving bowel movement.
8. Removes Toxins.
In conclusion, redcurrants and blackcurrants may be small looking berries, but they are actually tiny powerhouses of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are key to looking young, feeling great, and keeping healthy. Give these berries a try and you won’t be disappointed.