Study Claims Blackcurrant Is No 1 ‘Superfruit’

BLACKCURRANTS

The humble blackcurrant is the ultimate “superfruit” which can help fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s, new findings show.

The berry is far more nutritious than more exotic fruits such as goji berries and blueberries, favoured by celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna, and has the benefit of being home-grown, scientists claim.

Research by Dr Derek Stewart, of the Scottish Crop Research Institute (SCRI), has found the blackcurrant contains greater levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than 20 other fruits tested.

Crucially the amount of antioxidants means that eating blackcurrants can help prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, eye strain, MRSA and diabetes, among other ailments.

The study looked at 20 fruits and measured the levels of antioxidants and the nutritional value. In the majority of cases the blackcurrant outperformed its rivals.

Dr Stewart, the head of the quality, health and nutrition programme at SCRI, said: “The motivation for the research came from the huge publicity surrounding superfruits, coupled with the lack of consumer knowledge and understanding of what a superfruit is or what a fruit must contain. We wanted to find out which fruit came out on top. And blackcurrants can claim to be the number one superfruit.”

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Purple Cored Carrots

PurpleSunDob

Check out this eye catching vegetable, a strikingly purple carrot going by the name of “Purple Sun”. Unlike some other varieties its purple pigment goes from skin to core meaning it’s jam packed with anthocyanins, these basically are what cause the antioxidant effect blue berries and black currents have. The pointed roots of this carrot with rounded shoulders are a great improvement on the older purple carrots, producing uniform roots with strong disease resistance, its purported to have a superb sweet flavour too. These can be harvested as baby carrots or grown onto full size.

Height:
30cm (12″)

Spread:
15cm (6″)

Sowing Months:
March to June

Position:
Full sun

PurpleSuns

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Blackcurrants May Reduce Symptoms Of Asthma

Blackcurrantsone.spoon

Chemical compounds in blackcurrants can reduce inflammation and help breathing in some types of asthma, New Zealand researchers have found.

Researchers at the agency Plant & Food Research tested a range of blackcurrant varieties in vitro, and found that many reduced a key step associated with allergy-induced asthma.

Analysis of the successful varieties suggested the ability was tied to the ratio of two anthocyanins within the berries.

Science Group Leader Dr Roger Hurst said: “The consumption of some fruit types have been shown to reduce symptoms in allergy-induced asthma but this research has provided more insights into the likely bioactive compounds in fruit that are responsible.”

He added: “In the future we may be able to develop foods based on the correct balance of these compounds that can be consumed as safer, natural alternatives to assist conventional drug treatments for asthma and other allergic conditions.” 

The findings are published in the journal Food & Function.

Original article: http://www.hortweek.com/Edibles/article/1281588/chemical-compounds-blackcurrants-reduce-symptoms-types-asthma-researchers-say/

I’ll be posting more on “anthocyanins” in the very near future, really quite fascinating stuff.

Only ever tried an Orange Carrot? Why?

Carrot

In some regions of the world you can still naturally find white, yellow, red and purple carrots, this is the spectrum of colors carrots used to have but today in most countries carrots tend to be just orange. Why is that then?

Allegedly they are orange for entirely political reasons: in the 17th century, Dutch growers are thought to have cultivated orange carrots as a tribute to William of Orange – who led the the struggle for Dutch independence – and the color stuck. A thousand years of yellow, white and purple carrot history, was wiped out in a generation.

Although some scholars doubt if orange carrots even existed prior to the 16th century, they now form the basis of most commercial cultivators around the world. Presumably crosses between Eastern (purple), Western (white, red) and perhaps wild carrots led to the formation of the orange rooted carrot sub species. Turkey is often cited as the original birthplace of the hybrids (or mutations) of the two groups.

Whatever the origins, the Long Orange Dutch carrot, first described in writing in 1721, is the forebear of the orange Horn carrot varieties so abundant nowadays. The Horn Carrot derives from the Netherlands town of Hoorn in the neighborhood of which it was presumably bred. All our modern, western carrots ultimately descend from these varieties.

In fact the different colour pigments have have different health benefits also, colours like Purple are reported to have more antioxidant effects (anthocyanins). I will post more on that soon but for now don’t just stick to what the supermarkets or veg shops are providing, create something new yourself.

So why not try something different next year, break the mold and get something you can’t just pick up somewhere. Brighten up that plate a bit and enjoy all the variety in colors on offer.

The Read Seed Catalogue may be somewhere to pick up those seeds (and support) but they are widely available now really.