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    Healthy-ageing special: Why blackcurrants are beneficial for the over-50s

    on March 15, 2021

    AS powerful antioxidants1, blood-flow promoters2,3,4,5 and anti-inflammatory6,7,8 agents, blackcurrants offer fantastic health benefits as we age and are an important ‘purple’ fruit to support longevity and wellbeing.

    In this fully referenced article, we explain how blackcurrant's potent compounds can activate the human body’s naturally occurring antioxidant and other defence systems, allowing it to better handle everyday stressors, increased activity and age-related health issues.

    Here, we run through some of blackcurrant's spectrum of actions that can benefit the over-50s and support longevity41.

     

    1. HEART HEALTH

    According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare9, more than 1 in 4 deaths were due to cardiovascular disease in 2018 and there were more than 1.2 million hospitalisations for cardiovascular disease in 2017-2018. 

    Dietary patterns are key culprits in the development of cardiovascular disease10. Studies have suggested that the anthocyanin component of berries11,12,13,14 offer comprehensive protection against a multitude of cardiovascular risk factors. 

    Several studies have highlighted that CurraNZ15,16 can offer older adults clinically-relevant cardio-protective effects, by reducing blood pressure, increasing blood flow and making blood vessels healthier.

    Just one week’s intake of CurraNZ reduces arterial stiffness16, and can turn back the clock ten years for arterial health. The compounds in CurraNZ naturally help reduce the consequences of ageing on the body’s blood vessels and arteries.

     

    2. BRAIN HEALTH

    Berries may offer a powerful defence for brain health, with neuro-degenerative decline a huge concern in the ageing population.

    Whilst the exact number of Australians suffering from dementia is not known, an estimate puts the figure at between 400,000 and 459,000 (2020). Alzheimer's may account for up to 70% of diagnosed cases.17

    Research has shown that the antioxidant properties of blackcurrants, combined with their effect on blood flow and inflammation, are powerful guardians for maintaining memory and cognition44, protecting against cognitive decline in old age and helping keep the brain healthy18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,25,26,27,28,29.

     

    3. ACHES, PAINS AND INFLAMMATION

    Anthocyanins and flavonoids in blackcurrants are considered nature’s biological response modifiers. They promote beneficial inflammatory events while helping control and suppress harmful, chronic inflammation31,35,35,36,37,38,39,40.

    Chronic inflammation is linked to the development of many serious diseases such as heart disease45,46,47, Type II Diabetes42 and neurodegenerative conditions43, but a healthy diet and lifestyle can help keep inflammation under control. 

    The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of blackcurrants are excellent for reducing inflammatory-associated aches and pains, as well as those associated with exercise30, 32,33, 34. Blackcurrants are outstanding for embracing an active lifestyle, whether you’re a keen gardener, runner, golfer, walker, or just love keeping up with the grandchildren.  

    The anthocyanins in CurraNZ also increase blood flow2,3,4,5, and reoxygenate tissues during exercise48,49, meaning muscles don’t have to work so hard, suffer less fatigue and can recover more quickly.

     

    4. CIRCULATION

    The body’s blood vessel network suffers from wear and tear as people get older, with arteries and veins becoming inflamed, clogged with fatty deposits and suffering from general congestion.

    Blackcurrant compounds relax the body’s blood vessels2,4,5, thereby allowing for greater circulation and delivery of blood, oxygen and nutrients to all the extremities of the body.

    Anthocyanins also reduce inflammatory markers and help maintain the integrity and healthy function of blood vessels8,12,13,14.

     

    5. IMMUNITY

    The combination and high concentration of red and blue anthocyanins in blackcurrants activate the human body’s naturally occurring antioxidant and other defense systems30,32,33, allowing it to better handle everyday stressors.

    Studies have shown they help maintain circulating neutrophil function33, which are the body’s first responders to infection.


    By supporting the immune system, blackcurrants help promote the body’s first-line defences which reduce the chance of picking up opportunistic infections, such as colds and flu51.

     

    References 

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    2. New Zealand Blackcurrant Alters Physiological Reponses and Femoral Artery Diameter during Sustained Isometric Contraction. Matthew David Cook, Stephen David Myers, Mandy Lucinda Gault and Mark Elisabeth Theodorus Willems, June 2017 Nutrients 2017, 9(6), 556; doi:10.3390/nu9060556
    3. Cardiovascular function during Supine Rest in Endurance-Trained Males with New Zealand Blackcurrant: A Dose-Response Study, Matthew David Cook, Stephen David Myers · Mandy Lucinda Gault · Victoria Charlotte Edwards · Mark Elisabeth Theodorus Willems, 1 3Eur J Appl Physiol (2017) 117:247–254DOI 10.1007/s00421-016-3512-x
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