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Black Currant

Quick Points of Interest

  • Excellent source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.
  • Excellent source of calcium and iron.
  • Very good source of phosphorus, Vitamin B1 (thiamine), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and Vitamin B3 (niacin).
  • Rich in phytochemicals called anthocyanins.
  • One serving of black currants (100 grams) contains only 28 calories Weight for weight.
  • Black currants contain three times as much Vitamin C as oranges.
  • A 100 gram serving contains 200 mg of Vitamin C, which is 500% of your RDA.

The History of Black Currants

Currant seeds have been found in prehistoric Danish sites. It is speculated that the Vikings may have named their Newfoundland settlement, Vineland, not for the grapes growing there, but for the wild currants found there. Currants belong to the genus Ribes. The name "currant" may actually have been derived from a city in Greece, called Corinth, which shipped small raisins called currants throughout Europe. Currant cultivation has been practiced in Europe since the 1500's, possibly earlier. Red, black and while currants were all cultivated during the Sixteenth Century in Denmark, Holland and around the Baltic Sea. The first American Colonists began growing currants by the late 1700's.

During the Second World War there was a big push on to grow black currants in many countries in order to provide a substantial source of Vitamin C, which would keep people healthier. This led to the commercial production today which is mostly used for juice. Ribes are native to cooler climates of the Northern Hemisphere. Asia, Europe and North America all have native species. Today, nearly all large scale ribe production is concentrated in Russia and Europe.

The Benefits of Black Currants

Black Currants rank first over all in Calcium and Iron content over all fruits. Calcium can prevent cardiovascular disease by lowering cholesterol, muscle cramps, possibly preventing colon, endometrial and pancreatic cancers, bone loss associated with osteoporosis and preclampsia during pregnancy. Calcium is also vital in the strong formation of bones and teeth, and is needed for muscular growth and contraction. Iron is needed for the production of hemoglobin, oxygen content in the blood, is essential for enzymes, maintaining healthy immune systems and for energy production.

Black currants are also an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C has been known to prevent cancer of the colon, bladder, lung, cervix, pancreas, esophagus, mouth, stomach and breast due to it's antioxidant activity. (It protects against free radicals) Vitamin C is also used to combat atherosclerosis, blood clotting and bleeding, infections, cataracts, glaucoma and colds and flu.

Classification:

Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Family: Saxifragaceae

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