Blackcurrants hailed as new 'super-fruit'

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WHILE New Age nutritionists wax lyrical about the benefits of Tibetan Goji berries and Acai from the Amazon it seems the greatest superfood has been lurking at the bottom of the garden all along.

The humble blackcurrant has been hailed as a miracle food after a new study reveals it has higher levels of antioxidants and vitamin C than almost any other fruit.

Blackcurrants came out above more exotic blueberries and pomegranates for health-giving qualities in a study by the Scottish Crop Research Institute.

Researcher Dr Derek Stewart said: "New superfoods may be seen as trendy but this is a fruit which grows in the UK and which has incredible levels of vitamins and minerals.

"The combined beneficial composition and impact in health-related studies mean that blackcurrants can claim to be the No 1 superfruit."

In terms of antioxidants, blackcurrants come first, followed by blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and pomegranates, and have more vitamin C than any other fruit.

Whereas 120g of Goji berries will cost around 4, you can buy the same amount of blackcurrants for less than 50p.

Blackcurrants also have an ancient history as a healing food, being used to treat chest ailments, liver complaints and urinary problems.

About 95 per cent of all blackcurrants grown in the UK are sold for use in the popular cordial Ribena.

But growers hope popularising the health-giving properties of the fruit will encourage a resurgence of other uses.

Blackcurrants can be used as an ingredient in smoothies, and in sweet sauces and are a key ingredient in the classic British dessert, summer pudding.

Lisa Miles, a nutritionist from the British Nutrition Foundation, said the best advice was to eat as balanced a diet as possible, including a variety of fruits and vegetables.

She said: "There is no real scientific definition of a superfood. It has been used by people who are promoting particular foods."

But she added: "These foods can be helpful and campaigns like this can be helpful in encouraging people to try different fruits and vegetables."