New Zealand blackcurrants good for the brain

Berry good news!

Research has shown that New Zealand blackcurrants are good for keeping us mentally young and agile; a finding that could have potential in managing the mental decline associated with aging populations, or helping people with brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or depression.

The research, conducted by scientists at Plant & Food Research (New Zealand) in collaboration with Northumbria University (UK), showed that compounds found in New Zealand blackcurrants increased mental performance indicators, such as accuracy, attention and mood.

According to a media statement released by Plant and Food Research:

“This study is the first to look at the effects of berry consumption on the cognitive performance of healthy young adults,” says Dr Arjan Scheepens, the Plant & Food Research scientist who led the study. “Our previous research has suggested that compounds found in certain berry fruit may act like monoamine oxidase inhibitors, similar to a class of pharmaceuticals commonly used in the treatment of both mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease. This research has shown that New Zealand-grown blackcurrants not only increase mental performance, but also reduce the activity of monoamine oxidases.”

This data has been be published in scientific papers and further data that explores blackcurrant’s potential role in brain health is expected from the researchers soon (2016).

“Understanding what, and how, foods affect mental performance could lead to the development of new foods designed for populations or situations where mental performance or mental decline is a factor, such as older people or those suffering from stress, anxiety or other mood disorders. This research shows how New Zealand blackcurrants can potentially add value, both for the food industry and for people looking for foods that naturally support their own health aspirations” says Professor Roger Hurst, Science Group Leader Food & Wellness at Plant & Food Research.

Read the full Press Release from Plant & Food Research here or read the Blackcurrant Research here.

Research indicates that New Zealand blackcurrants may improve brain health by enhancing mood, reducing mental fatigue and improving focus.

A bit about Barker’s of Geraldine and blackcurrants

Barker's Tru-Fruit Blackcurrant Juice

Barker’s Tru-Fruit Blackcurrant Juice

Barker’s has been linked with blackcurrants since the early 1980’s when we launched our first blackcurrant juice. Our juice comes from squeezed blackcurrants and not from blackcurrant concentrate -that’s a big difference because squeezed blackcurrants ensure our beverages retain maximum flavour and high levels of antioxidants and all their associated health benefits. Additionally, Barker’s Squeezed Blackcurrant syrups great taste can be attributed to a special blend of Canterbury grown Ben Rua and Magnus variety of blackcurrants.

Blackcurrants really do have amazing health benefits – they are packed with a range of healthy compounds, including massive doses of the antioxidant, vitamin C – about four times more vitamin C than oranges and 16 times more than blueberries. The value of vitamin C is already well understood to contribute to reduction of tiredness, normal immune and psychological and neurological function, protection from free radical damage and more. They also contain high levels of polyphenols, particularly anthocyanins – compounds that give the berries their intense deep purple colour and may underpin many of their beneficial health properties.

The great news is that Barker’s, who are committed to supporting the health of Kiwis only use 100% NZ blackcurrants in our fruits syrups, juices and preserves and we are now pleased to announce that from June 2016, Barker’s Unsweetened Blackcurrant Juice will contain 100% squeezed Blackadder blackcurrant variety.


  • Watson, A. W., Haskell-Ramsay, C. F., Kennedy, D. O., Cooney, J. M., Trower, T., & Scheepens, A. (2015). Acute supplementation with blackcurrant extracts modulates cognitive functioning and inhibits monoamine oxidase-B in healthy young adults. Journal of Functional Foods, 17, 524-539. Retrieved from scientific paper.