Kiwi blackcurrants in the News

Secret revealed : Which fruit may give a longer life?

Not only are New Zealand blackcurrants packed with flavour, it seems that, regardless of how you consume them, they are also bursting with goodness. Research indicates that they may have many amazing nutritional and therapeutic benefits and that’s why Barker’s only use New Zealand blackcurrants in our fruit syrups, juice and preserves.

So, check out the latest and greatest interesting blackcurrant research and articles, making headlines internationally:

Vitamin C in blackcurrants

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient and a powerful antioxidant required for a wide range of metabolic reactions in the body. It cannot be made by the body so must be consumed regularly in our diet. The value of vitamin C is already well understood to contribute to reduction of tiredness, normal immune and psychological and neurological function, and protection from free radical damage and more.

Many consumers are already aware of the massive doses of vitamin C levels in blackcurrants – about four times more vitamin C than oranges and 16 times, or more, than blueberries. But did you know that blackcurrants also contain high levels of polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins – compounds that give the berries their intense deep purple colour. These anthocyanins and the high vitamin C levels may underpin many of their beneficial health properties, as discussed in this UK newspaper article and backed up by heaps of research.

All in all, the number of positive health effects that may be attributed to this little berry are tremendous; from supporting normal immunity and cardiovascular health to enhancing brain function and aiding athletic performance. Additionally, blackcurrants are a skin-friendly fruit as anthocyanins and vitamin C may reinforce and strengthen the collagen to firm and tighten skin.

Blackcurrants contain whopping doses of vitamin C – about 4 times more than oranges and 16 times more than blackberries.

Blackcurrants and brain health

Exciting Kiwi research carried out by scientists at the New Zealand institute Plant & Food Research, working in collaboration with Northumbria University in the UK, looks at the effects of blackcurrants on brain health.

The scientists designed a study in which 36 adults were given either 250ml of blackcurrant juice, 250ml of blackcurrant extract or a placebo drink, before participating in a series of challenging metal performance tests.

The researchers illustrated that after consuming unpasteurised juice made from the Blackadder variety (the variety found in Barker’s Unsweetened Blackadder Blackcurrant juice) attention was improved. Furthermore, following the consumption of a refined blackcurrant extract with high amounts of the antioxidants anthocyanins, mood was enhanced and mental fatigue reduced.

It appears that blackcurrants may act as a mono amine oxidase inhibitor, and may prevent depletion of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
READ FULL article here

Research indicates that New Zealand blackcurrants may improve brain health by enhancing mood, reducing mental fatigue and improving focus.

UK researchers discover eating NZ blackcurrants may enhance sports performance

There is growing evidence that New Zealand blackcurrants may be beneficial for endurance athletes wanting to improve their training and performance. In one of the most recent studies by UK Professor Mark Willems, it was found that competitive cyclists, who had consumed blackcurrants for a week, made a significant improvement to their race times.

According to Willens, there is evidence to show that the high number of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanin, in New Zealand blackcurrants is at the heart of the research.

Anthocyanin ensure a healthy response by the body’s defences against free radicals, which are produced during exercise and can interfere with the normal function of muscles and cause fatigue. New Zealand blackcurrants appear to have about 1.5 times more of this antioxidant capacity than blackcurrants from other parts of the world.

Professor Willems says that one of his team’s most startling findings was a significant drop in lactate in blackcurrant eating cyclists, exercising at different intensities. Increased lactate levels are associated with muscle fatigue. He said that you would normally only get lower lactate values like that after weeks or months of training.

NZ blackcurrants when used as an ergogenic aid, may enhance sports performance

The researchers also explored the potential impact of eating blackcurrants on sportspeople such as rugby and tennis players who do short bursts of anaerobic exercise. Professor Willems says the results were promising, with athletes that had eaten blackcurrants for seven days being able to perform more sprints.

The research built upon work done by New Zealand scientists at Plant and Food Research in Palmerston North, NZ.
Further research on New Zealand blackcurrants by Willems and his team, which has been published in international journals indicate that properties in blackcurrant may also reduce muscle damage and inflammation after a bout of high intensity muscle contractions – such as bicep curling, and improve running sprint recovery. Hence NZ blackcurrants when used as an ergogenic aid, may enhance sports performance.

More great news for us here at Barker’s of Geraldine who are committed to supporting the health of Kiwis and only use 100% NZ blackcurrants in our fruits syrups, juices and preserves.

READ MORE New Zealand Road Cyclist article here and  article here

Blackcurrants have the potential to enhance sports performance by reducing factors such as muscle damage, inflammation and fatigue.

  • Ashwin Gopalan, Sharon C. Reuben, Shamima Ahmed, Altaf S. Darvesh, Judit Hohmann, Anupam Bishayee. The health benefits of blackcurrants. Food & function 2012, 3, 795-809.
  • New Zealand Blackcurrant Cooperative Ltd. (2016). Antioxidants in Blackcurrants. Retrieved from
  • The Concise New Zealand Food Composition Tables 11th Edition 2014. Retrieved from
  • Watson, A. W., Haskell-Ramsay, C. F., Kennedy, D. O., Cooney, J. M., Trower, T., & Scheepens, A. (2015). Acute supplementation with blackcurrant extracts modulates cognitive functioning and inhibits monoamine oxidase-B in healthy young adults. Journal of Functional Foods, 17, 524-539.
  • Willems, M. E., Myers, S. D., Gault, M. L., & Cook, M. D. Beneficial physiological effects with blackcurrant intake in endurance athletes (accepted version IJSNEM). International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism.
    Perkins, I., Vine, S., Blacker, S. D., & Willems, M. E. (2015). New Zealand Blackcurrant Extract Improves High-intensity Intermittent Running (IJSNEM accepted version). International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 25(5), 487-493.