Our Blackcurrants

What gives New Zealand blackcurrants the edge?

berries on bushNew Zealand provides the perfect environment for growing blackcurrants. Independent research has shown that our high levels of UV sunlight and long sunny days provide the perfect conditions for our currants to develop their deep, rich colour.

Blackcurrants contain high levels of antioxidants and anthocyanins which protect the body from the action of free radicals.

It is this which causes our berries to have higher levels of Vitamin C, antioxidants and anthocyanins than other berries and fruits.

 

How our blackcurrants compare with other fruits

 

Loaded with Antioxidants

Blackcurrants contain high levels of antioxidants such as flavonoids, beta-carotene and polyphenolics, which protect the body from the action of free radicals.

Free radicals are created as a by-product of the body’s own metabolic process of combining oxygen with food to create energy, and are necessary in small quantities. However, they are also absorbed into the body through cigarette smoke, food additives and other pollutants. It is when they become present in larger quantities that they become detrimental to health and cause tissue damage.

The body’s own natural defence mechanisms can eliminate these free radicals, but it is thought that antioxidants within our diet can greatly aid that process.

Antioxidant levels in New Zealand blackcurrants compared with other fruits
(units: ┬Ámol TE/g)

Chart reproduced from New Zealand Blackcurrant Co-operative
1 Source: Xianli Wu et al. 2004. Lipophilic and hydrophilic antioxidant capacities of common foods in the United States.
Journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52: 4026-4037

 

High Anthocyanin Levels

It is the anthocyanins in blackcurrants which give them their deep, rich purple colour. These anthocyanins posses high levels of antioxidant properties, and it is thought that blackcurrants contain the highest levels of anthocyanins than almost any other fruit or vegetable.

Anthocyanin levels in fruit1 (units: mg anthocyanin/100g)

test graph

Chart reproduced from New Zealand Blackcurrant Co-operative.
1 Source: Xianli Wu et al. 2006. Concentrations of anthocyanins in common foods in the United States and estimation of normal consumption.
Journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry 54:4069-4075

 

Typical Vitamin C levels in common fruit (unit: mg/100g)

vitamin c chart

Chart reproduced from New Zealand Blackcurrant Co-operative.
1 Source: NZ Food Composition Database, Crop & Food Research, New Zealand
2 Source: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Nutrient Database
3 Source: New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research (previously Hort Research) study

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and antioxidant required by the body to carry out many of its basic metabolic fuctions. However, our bodies can neither produce nor store Vitamin C, and so it must be regularly absorbed through our diet.

Many people today are aware of the importance of Vitamin C for general health and well being, and also of the many foods that contain it. Amongst them, blackcurrants have been proven to supply one of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C of all fruits and vegetables.