CURRANTS – Nutritional Profile
Currants are dried, seeded, black grapes that have been dried. The drying process protects most of the nutritional content of the currants apart from the vitamin C content which starts to degrade as soon as the fruit is picked.
They provide a good source of vitamins, energy and nutrients. By weight they contain up to 72% sugar and are also high in antioxidants.
A single portion, of 100g, contains 79g of carbohydrates, and 59g of fructose and glucose type sugars and 3g of protein. The portion also contains 2.3g of vitamin C, 0.12g of Vitamin E and 3.5mcg of Vitamin K. There is a good mix of B group vitamins also found with 0.106mcg of thiamine, 0.125mcg riboflavin, 0.766mg of niacin, 0.174mg of vitamin and 5mcg of folate.
There is also a significant selection of trace elements and minerals including calcium (50mg), iron (1.88mg),magnesium (32mg), phosphorus (101mg), potassium (749mg), sodium (11mg), Zinc (0.22mg), copper (0.318mg), manganese (0.299 mg) and selenium (0.6mcg).
CURRANTS – Health Benefits
Eating any type of fruit will have health benefits but research has identified some that are more specific to eating currants.
Phenols, found in currants are known to limit damage to cell walls that are caused by oxidisation processes and the effect of this is to limit the risk of certain cancers appearing. Polyphenic phytonutrients present also have both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties which make them useful for lowering fevers by killing the bacteria causing problems. Currants also contain a polyphenolic antioxidant called catechin which is an effective blocker of the process leading free radicals to cause cancer cells to grow.
Postmenopausal women, and to a lesser extent older men, run the risk of bone damage as a result of osteoporosis. Currants contain boron which and studies have shown that it serves to replace many of the effects of oestrogen and has the effect of significantly slowing down bone degradation, delaying the onset of osteoporosis.
Age Related Macular Degeneration is a condition that affects sight in older people and can in extreme cases result in blindness. Recent studies have shown that the phytonutrients present in currants can reduce the incidence of the condition by up to 36% and that three daily portions of fruit has a greater impact on the condition than three portions of vegetables. In addition phytonutrients, in particular olenic acid, are known to be excellent at promoting good oral health with healthy gums.
Currants are quite high in calories and as they are very low in fat content make a good addition to any diet where weight gain is a goal and this can be particularly useful with young children who are attracted to their small size.
The fibre in currants is dried out and after eating will absorb water in the colon. This helps to alleviate the signs of constipation in the colon and help solve the problem.
For people with anaemia, they high iron content provides a They contain a high proportion of iron and as readily available and easily consumed remedy to the problem.
CURRANTS – Product History
Currants are peculiar to the UK market. They are similar to raisins and sultanas in that they are grapes but they come from small, black seeded grapes that have a particularly intense flavour when dried. They come from Greece and as they are dried most of the nutrients are retained with the exception of some of the Vitamin C which is degrades very quickly without drying.
Traditionally grapes are sun dried to produce currants but drying technologies now cater for the massive volume of the fruit that is required to meet demand on the British market.