The power of antioxidants in blackcurrants

Blackcurrants have been valued as one of nature’s super fruits and nutritious foods for centuries.

For generations, mothers have regarded blackcurrants as a trusted natural source of nourishment for their families and traditional healers used them for a broad range of ailments and winter malady’s. But it’s only in recent decades that scientists have caught up and begun to seriously investigate the healing and protective powers of this remarkable fruit.

Clinical trials have indicated that regular consumption of blackcurrants may reduce muscle stiffening and fatigue, improve kidney function, increase blood flow and blood circulation, improve brain function, asthma, and eye function, reduce visual fatigue and more. On-going research programmes in New Zealand and around the world continue to explore how and why blackcurrants may be beneficial in so many areas of health and wellness.  

This article gives you a brief look at the antioxidants found in blackcurrants, so that next time you read about them on the back of a Barker’s label, you will understand more about some of the constituents of blackcurrants that may support wellness.

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are thought to protect the body against the action of free radicals which can damage cells, weaken immunity and play a negative role in our health. While the body has its own natural defense mechanisms against free radical damage, antioxidants absorbed through diet may aid its defense. Test results, show blackcurrants have more antioxidants than all the other 24 fruits tested by the same method.  These high antioxidant levels seem to be what makes blackcurrants such a healthy fruit choice. The following antioxidants are the key ones found in blackcurrants: 

  • Anthocyanins give blackcurrants that gorgeous deep purple colour and are extremely effective antioxidants. Anthocyanins belong to the group of chemicals found in plants that are called polyphenols and they are understood to have important health benefits.  Research continues to build evidence that polyphenols may help prevent health problems such as cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Numerous studies it has been shown that blackcurrants are an important source of anthocyanins with concentrations up to four times more than in other common fruits tested.
  • Vitamin C, is also a very powerful antioxidant. The value of vitamin C to health and wellness is much researched and understood. It helps with the growth and repair of tissues in the body, making collagen, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and blood vessels – including the making of skin, healing of wounds and repairing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth.  As it can’t be made naturally by the body, and as it is water-soluble (meaning that your body doesn’t store it) it must be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet. Blackcurrants are known to including massive doses of vitamin C – about four times more vitamin C than oranges and 16 times more than blueberries!
Since most blackcurrants are consumed as juice, it’s important to know that blackcurrant antioxidants appear to be very stable and remain active after processing into juice, jam and wine.

Your easy daily dose of goodness

Barker’s have a range of delicious ways you can keep up your recommended dietary intake of vitamin C.

  • A bottle of Barker’s Squeezed NZ Blackcurrant fruit syrup contains over 750 blackcurrants and one 200ml serve contains 100% of the recommended dietary intake of vitamin C.
  • Berrylife, a blend of blackcurrants and boysenberries (both extremely rich in antioxidants) has no refined sugar and is sweetened with concentrated pear juice. One 200ml serve contains twice the recommended vitamin C daily intake.
  • A bottle of Barker’s Unsweetened Blackcurrant Juice contains no less than 950 squeezed blackcurrants and is 99% purely blackcurrant. Tart to the palette, we recommend a ‘daily shot’, undiluted, or you can dilute one part with up to 7 parts water.
Mixed with Greek yoghurt and drizzled over your morning muesli, added to your breakfast smoothie or as a refreshing glass…there are many ways you can enjoy Barker’s Blackcurrant fruit syrups and juice.

Clinical trials have indicated that New Zealand blackcurrant have some of the highest antioxidant levels – with up to four times more anthocyanins than other common fruits and about. four times more vitamin C than oranges and 16 times more than blueberries!

Barkers and New Zealand Blackcurrants

New Zealand has a strong place in the global blackcurrant scene due to its high quality fruit and being such a compact, well researched industry. Barker’s uses locally grown and squeezed Canterbury blackcurrants that are bottled on the corner of the original family farm.

  • Ashwin Gopalan, Sharon C. Reuben, Shamima Ahmed, Altaf S. Darvesh, Judit Hohmann, Anupam Bishayee. The health benefits of blackcurrants. Food & function 2012, 3, 795-809.
  • New Zealand Blackcurrant Cooperative Ltd. (2016). Antioxidants in Blackcurrants. Retrieved from
  • NZ Blackcurrant Cooperative Ltd. (2016). Health Benefits of Blackcurrants – a review of the research. Retrieved from