As powerful antioxidants, blood-flow promoters and anti-inflammatory agents, blackcurrants offer fantastic health benefits as we age and are an important ‘purple’ fruit to support longevity and wellbeing.

Blackcurrants have a unique combination of red and blue anthocyanins that are not present in any other fruits or vegetables. These potent compounds can activate the human body’s naturally occurring antioxidants and other defence systems, allowing it to better handle everyday stressors, increased activity and age-related health issues. Here, clinical pharmacist, Mike Wakeman from www.curranz.com runs through some of the blackcurrant’s spectrum of actions that can benefit the over-50s and support longevity.

#1. HEART HEALTH – Turn back the arterial health clock by 10 years
According to the British Heart Foundation. 6 million Brits suffer from heart and circulatory diseases, which cause of more than a quarter of all deaths – that’s 160,000 each year.

There are twice as many people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK than with cancer and Alzheimer’s disease combined.

Dietary patterns are key culprits in the development of cardiovascular disease. Studies have suggested that the anthocyanin component of berries offer comprehensive protection against a multitude of cardiovascular risk factors.

Several studies have highlighted that CurraNZ born out of New Zealand blackcurrants 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 stiffness, 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. There are currently around 850,000 people with dementia in the UK and projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040. There are over 42,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK and 209,600 will develop it this year, that’s one every three minutes.

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 cognition, protecting against cognitive decline in old age and helping keep the brain healthy.

#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 inflammation.

Chronic inflammation is linked to the development of many serious diseases such as heart disease, Type II Diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions, 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 exercise.

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 flow, and reoxygenation in tissues during exercise, 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 vessels 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 vessels.

#5. IMMUNITY 
Blackcurrants have a unique combination and high concentration of red and blue anthocyanins – not found in other fruits – that activate the human body’s naturally occurring antioxidant and other defence systems allowing it to better handle everyday stressors.

Studies have shown they help maintain circulating neutrophil function, 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 flu.

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