What Makes the New Zealand Blackcurrant Superior to Others?
Blackcurrants are a nutritional powerhouse, containing higher levels of minerals and vitamins than other so-called “superfruits” such as bilberries and blueberries.
They contain high levels of calcium, zink, magnesium, potassium and according to the New Zealand Blackcurrant Cooperative, New Zealand blackcurrants have 30 times more vitamin C than other berries.
What makes New Zealand blackcurrants superior when compared to blackcurrants from other regions? To find out, let’s take a closer look at the farms where they are grown.
What Makes New Zealand Blackcurrants Superior?
New Zealand strictly regulates the blackcurrant industry to ensure a superior, quality product that gives them the reputation of being the world’s best producer of berries.
Blackcurrants are currently grown on 56 farms in New Zealand. But out of all these farms, only the Just The Berries farm has been growing berries without the use of chemical pesticides for the last 10 years. Instead, they rely on the use of fish oil, kelp and compost tea as methods of pest control.
Another reason for the unrivaled quality of the berries is “the clean, unpolluted environment found in New Zealand and the special varieties bred here”, boasts New Zealand Blackcurrants Incorporated.
Breeding programs focus on “enhancing heath qualities” and “natural pest and disease resistance”. Just The Berries explains that blackcurrants “grown in New Zealand’s cold winters, long sunshine hours and strong UV rays in summers…produce much more phytochemicals (important plant chemicals such as anthocyanins)” than those grown in other areas.
The varietal grown here called Ben Ard has considerably higher levels of anthocyanins than those grown in Europe.
For 3 generations, the Eder family of the Just The Berries farm has been growing berries in the Christchurch, Waipara region of New Zealand and their production center is located in Palmerston North, New Zealand.
Just The Berries Ben Ard farm is the greatest producer of blackcurrants in New Zealand with an annual output of 1,200-1,500 tons of berries. These berries are of premium quality with impressive nutritional value:
- Anthocyanins – 1150mg-1300mg/100g
- Vitamin C – 400mg-500mg/100g
- Polyphenols – 1300mg-1800mg/100g
These antioxidant rich and pesticide free berries are the only ones used in Vision Smart Center blackcurrant products, ensuring the highest quality product.
Blackcurrant is commonly used to help with problems such as blood flow, eye health, immune system, kidney and intestinal health.
Several studies reported on by Dr. Eddie Shiojima as noted below, have shown the result of supplementation with blackcurrant.
Effects on Peripheral Blood Flow
A study was performed to evaluate the effects of anthocyanins on peripheral blood flow. Four women with a history of poor blood circulation were given either a cassis drink containing 50mg of anthocyanins or a placebo.
The women were evaluated using thermography for return of blood flow to the affected hand, after soaking one hand in 10 degree Celsius cold water.
In those tests, participants who had ingested the cassis drink, body temperature of the hand returned to normal after 10 minutes, whereas in the placebo test group, body temperature had not improved even after 15 minutes.
It is theorized that blackcurrant anthocyanins improve health by increasing blood flow, thereby improving circulation, reducing capillary permeability, and resulting in vasorelaxation of the blood vessels.
Improvement in Under Eye Circles and Skin Tone
Since the main cause of under eye circles is diminished blood circulation, improvement in blood flow will decrease the darkening of skin underneath the eyes.
When blood flow is reduced, it is poor in oxygen, resulting in darker colored blood.
This darker colored blood combined with thinner skin under the eyes, can result in dark circles associated with fatigue and lack of sleep.
This theory was tested on a group of 33 healthy women.
Blood flow to the eyelids were evaluated via a Doppler test, as well as an assessment of the coloration and darkness of skin surrounding the eyes was performed using a Mexameter.
Participants were given either a cassis drink containing 50mg of anthocyanins or placebo drink. After 15 minutes, the control group that consumed the cassis drink showed considerable improvement in the blood flow below the eyes and after 60 minutes, there was a lightening of the darkened areas under the eyes. 2⁄3rds of the participants also reported improvement in self-perceived under the eye circles.
Less Fatigue and Eye Strain
Blackcurrant has also shown to mitigate the effects of fatigue felt in the upper body and waist after performing computer tasks for 2 hours or more.
21 participants self-evaluated the effects after drinking a cassis drink containing 50mg anthocyanins versus a placebo.
There was less head, eyes, arms, shoulder and waist fatigue reported from the group ingesting the cassis drink.
Improved Athletic Performance and Recovery
Athletes were evaluated for effectiveness on muscle fatigue and recovery, as well as higher performance levels after ingesting blackcurrant.
The study of athletes ranged in sport exertion levels from that of basketball and soccer players, to triathletes and marathon runner.
59% of those consuming the cassis drink reported improvement in muscle fatigue during and after performance, and a whopping 77% reported improvement in muscle damage, fatigue and recovery. 77% also reported general improvement in life, such as less fatigue on waking, less dry eyes and eye strain, plus less fatigue and tiredness.
Blackcurrant extract can exhibit positive effects on gut microflora, and can decrease a known colon cancer enzyme due to its rich supply of phenolic substances.
These substances have beneficial properties that can act as an anti inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial and antioxidative.
Bacterial enzyme B-glucuronidase is suspected to be an enzyme responsible for increasing the risk of colon cancer. Blackcurrant powder has been shown to decrease the activity of B-glucuronidase. As a prebiotic, blackcurrant powder also promotes friendly gut bacteria.
A study of the guts of rats showed a 31% inhibitory action of B-glucuronidase on those fed the blackcurrant powder.
Why Choose New Zealand Grown Blackcurrants?
Supplementation with New Zealand blackcurrant products has an abundance of positive health effects such as:
- Improved circulation
- Diminished under-eye circles and darkness
- Decreased muscle fatigue and eye strain
- Greater energy and increased muscle recovery
- Healthier gut microflora
And New Zealand blackcurrants are proving to be greatly superior to blackcurrants grown elsewhere, in part due to the nutrient rich volcanic soil and the fantastic weather full of sunny days found there.
These elements mean that New Zealand blackcurrants have higher antioxidant levels and mineral and vitamin content than those grown in other regions as shown below:
Anthocyanin Levels in New Zealand Blackcurrant Versus Those Grown in Other Regions
New Zealand Ben Ard blackcurrant – 1,383mg/100g
North American blackcurrant – 411mg/100g
European blackcurrant – 281mg/100g
Russian blackcurrant – 158mg/100g
These higher levels of anthocyanins yield strong anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects that make New Zealand blackcurrants superior to those grown in other countries.
Vision Smart Center specializes in New Zealand blackcurrant supplements that are specially formulated for vision and brain health. Click here for more information about the quality products we offer or contact us below for more information.