Red fruits are full of mysteries and good surprises. The pigments that give them their typical color are also remarkable allies of our health.
Blackcurrant extracts taken in drink improve cognitive functioning, mood, and attention in young adults, according to a study, which gives the peach. Still it must be a blackcurrant juice and not a syrup with blackcurrant aromas.
This is the first study on the effects of berry extracts, in particular blackcurrant, on the cognitive performance of healthy young adults. Researchers at the Institute for Plant & Food Research, in Auckland (New Zealand), cultivated their own blackcurrant to assess the potential of its components. In their study, 36 participants aged between 18 and 35 and in good health consumed either 250ml of a blackcurrant extract drink enriched with anthocyanins, blackcurrant juice grown by the researchers, or a placebo drink Cassis.
Anthocyanins are pigments that give their typical color to red fruits, the color range tints the “red fruits” from bright red to midnight blue depending on the type of pigment.
In a better mood after a blackcurrant juice drink
The researchers then assessed the mental performance of the participants, namely their accuracy, attention and mood. The results show that the 2 drinks containing the berries are followed by better mood, better attention and less brain fatigue than after the control drink.
Blackcurrant: a regulator of serotonin and dopamine
Blood tests also show that drinks with blackcurrant extracts, with or without added anthocyanins, reduce the activity of monoamine oxidase, an enzyme that regulates cerebral concentrations of serotonin and dopamine. According to the authors, this discovery could well help prevent altered mental status, stress, anxiety, depression and even Alzheimer’s disease.
Watson AW et al: Acute supplementation with blackcurrant extracts modulates cognitive functioning and inhibits monoamine oxidase-B in healthy young adults Journal of Functional Foods, 524-39p, doi:10.1016/j.jff.2015.06.005