Blackcurrants the best fruit of all

Researchers in the UK say when it comes to health giving properties the blackcurrant is more nutritious than any other fruit.

The common, garden blackcurrant may lack exotica and be unfashionable but it nevertheless packs a punch with the highest levels of health-boosting antioxidants.

Antioxidants are natural compounds believed to enhance the body's ability to fight a range of illnesses from heart disease to cancer.

According to researcher Dr. Derek Stewart the blackcurrant is the healthiest fruit of all.

He has arrived at this conclusion by comparing the properties of 20 popular fruits, which was motivated by the amount of publicity surrounding so-called super-fruits and a dearth of consumer knowledge.

Stewart wanted to find out which fruit came out on top and he did so by analysing the findings of dozens of research papers published by other scientists; he says blackcurrants can claim to be the number one superfruit, followed by blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and pomegranates.

The fruits studied ranged from good old apples and oranges, to apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, mangoes, melons, oranges, passion fruit, peaches, pears, pomegranate, raspberries and strawberries.

The tests which were conducted at the Scottish Crop Research Institute near Dundee, showed that blackcurrants are particularly rich in a type of anti-oxidant called anthocyanins which is responsible for the fruit's dark colour.

Blackcurrant's health benefits are not in fact a novel issue as the fruit has been used by herbalists since the middle-ages to treat bladder stones, liver disorders and coughs.

Because of the blackcurrants' high vitamin C content the fruit was made into a cordial which was given free to children during the Second World War.

The fruit, like cranberries is rather tart and does need the addition of a little sugar to render it more palatable, especially for children.

Blackcurrants are seasonal and are harvested in July and August in the UK.

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