More than one fruit goes by the name “currant.” You have the red, white, or black berry that grows on shrubs and the tiny dried and seedless Zante grape, similar to a raisin. Whichever version of the currant you choose, you’re sure to reap health benefits.
Currants offer protection from cancer and heart disease, and strengthen the immune system. Read on to learn how.
Types of Currants
The Zante grape, which came to be called “currant” because it hails from Corinth, Greece, provides a boatload of fiber. A cup of these dried fruits gives you 9 grams.Red and white currants are merely different colors of the same variety. A cup of these sweet berries provides nearly 5 grams of fiber. However, the healthiest currant of all might be the black currant, which is loaded with vitamin C. It’s also a good source of potassium and ellagic acid, a substance that fights cancer.
Try any one of these currants, and you’ll see an improvement in your current health. Why Currants?
Cancer fighter – If you eat currants, you don’t have to worry about getting enough vitamin C. Half a cup of black currants contains over 100 mg of vitamin C, which is well over the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). That means plenty of punch in your fight against cancer.Vitamin C defeats free radicals that can damage your cells and cause cancer. It also boosts your immune system so your body can fight the disease.
Studies have linked vitamin C to lower risks of cancer in several areas of the body, including the bladder, breast, colon, prostate, stomach and throat. The ellagic acid within black currants also fights cancer, especially in the lung, liver, skin and esophagus. The high fiber content in the Zante grape is another potent cancer fighter, since fiber is known in the medical field for defeating the disease. You can get more fiber by eating more fruits and vegetables.
Heart disease blocker – Dried fruits provide a greater concentration of nutrients. That means that dried Zante currants launch a concentrated attack on heart disease. A cup of these dried babies has almost 3 times as much potassium as a banana. Potassium, especially in combination with a low sodium diet, helps keep your blood pressure down. It also lessens your chances of having a stoke. Add all that fiber, which lowers your cholesterol and reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke, and you have a tiny but potent heart helper.
Immune system builder – There may be good reason why Scandinavians sometimes drink hot red or black currant juice to treat colds and flu. With the heavy dose of vitamin C they provide, currants offer a lot of protection. Health experts say that there’s not enough evidence to conclude that vitamin C prevents colds, but it does cut down on how long you’re sick.
It can also help you recover from more serious respiratory problems, like pneumonia and bronchitis. Just 200 mg a day, which is equivalent to about a cup of black currants, is enough to show some improvement. It’s because this powerful antioxidant vitamin helps to boost your body’s natural defenses. Black currants also contain gamma-linolenic and alpha-linolenic acids, which increase immunity by reducing the amount of prostaglandins the body creates as you age.
You can’t go wrong with currants. Eat more of them and give your body a fighting chance against disease invasions.