Blackcurrants help keep brain sharp, NZ research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 29th June 2015

BlackcurrantNew research has found that some New Zealand grown blackcurrants may help keep the mind young and agile.

Findings backed by a group of scientists, based in New Zealand and the UK, appear in an article in Volume 17 of the Journal of Functional Foods co-authored by Dr Arjan Scheepens, a senior research scientist at the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research located in Auckland. The findings was based on a study of 36 healthy young adults with some given two types of New Zealand blackcurrant juice whilst others were given a placebo.

After drinking the juice, participants undertook a number of cognitive tests where it was found that those who drank the juice had better attention, mood and less mental fatigue.

The scientists say the results of the study could lead to additional functional food that will help an ageing population and those suffering Parkinson’s disease.

“This study is the first to look at the effects of berry consumption on the cognitive performance of healthy young adults,” said lead researcher Dr Arjian Scheepens.

“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 show that New Zealand-grown blackcurrants not only increase mental performance, but also reduce the activity of monoamine oxidases,”  said Dr Scheepens.

One of the types of juices used in the study was produced from the New Zealand ‘Blackadder’ blackcurrant berry and was determined to be the berry which could help those with Parkinson’s disease.