Supporting what mothers in New Zealand have known for a long time, new research is adding more depth to the understanding that New Zealand blackcurrants support people wanting to keep getting the most out of life.
Scientists at Plant & Food Research (New Zealand), in collaboration with Northumbria University (UK), have shown that consumption of a juice made from New Zealand blackcurrants can produce a short-term effect on physiological processes which may be associated with a positive mood. A second study has further shown New Zealand blackcurrant juice consumption before exercise increased the desire to exercise for longer. Both outcomes can be associated with increased motivation and sustained exercise.
“As people live longer, foods and ingredients that will support a healthy lifestyle are becoming increasingly in demand,” says Dr Roger Hurst, Science Group Leader Food & Wellness at Plant & Food Research. “Our research over the last few years suggests that New Zealand blackcurrants can support multiple aspects of an active lifestyle – providing people with the right mind set and motivation to exercise as well as supporting the inherent health benefits of regular exercise.”
The first study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, showed a complete reduction in the activity of monoamine oxidase-B (MAO-B) – an enzyme that degrades the ‘happiness’ hormone dopamine – within 45 minutes of consumption of a New Zealand blackcurrant juice, before slowly returning to near baseline levels 24 hours later.
The second study, presented at the Innovations in Food Science and Human Nutrition conference, showed that while undertaking a gentle walking exercise (designed to not result in any exercise exertion) study participants who consumed New Zealand blackcurrant juice voluntarily exercised for longer and reported a more ‘positive’ mood during the exercise. The participants also had reduced levels of MAO-B.
Previous research by Plant & Food Research has found that anthocyanin-rich extracts from New Zealand-grown blackcurrants improve exercise recovery by managing exercise-induced oxidative stress and inflammation, improving immunity and minimising muscle damage.
The unique benefits of New Zealand blackcurrants stem from the high anthocyanin content created due to New Zealand’s distinctive climate and high UV environment.
As more research emerges New Zealand blackcurrants brands are rapidly emerging supporting mental health and active lifestyles. There are multiple products available to meet consumers different preferences including frozen and freeze dried berries, powders, extracts, drinks and supplements.
Keep an eye out in 2019 as more research is released that reinforces the very real benefits of eating New Zealand blackcurrants and more New Zealand blackcurrant products can be seen on the shelves.