Red Currant Health Benefits and Nutrition

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Red Currant: A Healthy, Tart Berry

Red currants may be small, but they are tiny essential vitamin, mineral and antioxidant powerhouses that can help you look youthful, feel great and stay healthy and nourished.

Red currants are simultaneously sweet and immensely tart berries with a flavour similar to blackberries. They aren’t quite as popular as other berries because they’re too tart to eat by themselves; however, they shouldn’t be discounted—they provide health benefits and are rich in antioxidants, as are most other berries. Their lovely, rosy appearance makes them popular decorative pieces and garnishes in various cuisines around the world.

These tiny berries are often made into jams, desserts and drinks, and they are used in alternative medicine due to their highly nutritious nature. Next time you buy red currants, add them to your smoothies, juices or sauces to make the most of this beautiful fruit.

Red currants look absolutely gorgeous—their tiny, round fruit hangs in bunches like grapes, and they have an enticingly rich red tinge.
Red currants look absolutely gorgeous—their tiny, round fruit hangs in bunches like grapes, and they have an enticingly rich red tinge. | Source

Red Currant Nutrition Facts

NutrientHealth Benefits% Daily Value
PotassiumStabilizes blood pressure and promotes cardiovascular health7%
FiberPrevents constipation17%
ProteinBuilding blocks of life, important in the growth and maintenance of every cell in the body2%
Vitamin CStrengthens the immune system and prevents free radical damage in body cells68%
Vitamin B6Necessary for new skin cell formation5%
MagnesiumNecessary for the transmission of nerve impulses, detoxification and energy production3%
IronEssential for the formation of red blood cells5%
CalciumImportant in the formation of strong bones and teeth3%

Nutrition per 100 g of red currant berries (data sourced from USDA)

These beautiful berries are popularly used as garnishes in food.
These beautiful berries are popularly used as garnishes in food. | Source

Quick Facts

  • A mature red currant bush can produce up to 4 kg of fruit each summer.
  • Red currants are native to parts of Western Europe and Asia.
  • White currants, which come from the same plant, are often marketed as different fruits, but they are actually albino versions of red currant.
  • 100 g of red currant contains 56 calories.
  • These are fat-free and cholesterol-free berries.

Health Benefits

1. They Can Help Create Beautiful Skin. All berries are packed with nutrients that are beneficial for the skin. Red currants, in particular, are rich in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that fights free-radical damage in skin cells. Vitamin C can also help with skin cell regeneration and is known to promote healing from harmful UV ray damage, although more research needs to be done on this topic. This makes red currants a great food to add to your skincare routine.

2. They Assist in Blood-Cell Formation. Red currants are rich in iron, which is an essential element for the formation of red blood cells. Red blood cells constitute 40–45% of the total composition of blood and carry out the work of transporting blood and other nutrients to various cells and organs in the body. Low iron levels can have many consequences that may be avoided by consuming iron-rich foods, including fruits like red currants.

3. Red Currants Help to Strengthen the Immune System. Red currants are rich in vitamin C, which bolsters and nourishes the immune system, reducing the risk of being affected by viral and bacterial infections. It not only helps to prevent common colds, but it also gives the body the ability to fight against the formation of certain kinds of cancers. Vitamin C also plays an antioxidant role in the respiratory tract; thus, it may prove to be a source of relief for asthmatics and those suffering from allergies.

Cranberries look a lot like red currants.
Cranberries look a lot like red currants. | Source

4. They Can Aid With Constipation. Packed into these tart, tiny red berries is a fairly large dose of fiber. Fiber is an essential part of a balanced diet that promotes regular bowel movements by soaking up water in the lower digestive tract and cleaning and pushing out waste. It bulks up the colon and triggers bowel movements. Fiber prevents constipation, which is rampant in today’s society due to the prevalence of refined and virtually fiber-free junk food.

5. Red Currants AreHeart-Healthy Fruits. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral that plays an important role in cardiovascular health. It also helps prevent hypertension and lowers blood pressure. Potassium is also great for other organs, including the kidneys, and it may also reduce the risk of strokes.

Buying & Storage

  • Select red currants that are firm and vibrant in colour. Soft and soggy berries are probably too ripe or spoiled.
  • Once you purchase the berries, refrigerate them until you’re ready to eat or display them—they will keep fresh for up to a week.
  • Red currants can also be frozen to be used when they’re not in season. If you’re concerned that they’ll spoil before you use them, simply pop them in the freezer.
  • I never knew red currants would be so tart, and I simply bought them for their gorgeous red colour and cuteness. I ended up using them as a garnish, sneaking some into a fruit smoothie and sprinkling some in my morning Greek yogurt and granola.

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