Do Blackcurrants Have Mental Health Benefits?
In addition to their cognitive and heart health benefits, the mental health benefits of blackcurrants are an added bonus. Research has shown that blackcurrants can improve mood, attention, and energy. Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.
We know that blackcurrants have health benefits, especially related to cognitive performance, heart health, and the microbiota-immune axis. Research suggests that these tart berries also have mental health benefits.
Though they do not always manifest themselves in ways we can see, mental illnesses affect many and should be taken seriously. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness ranging in degree from mild to moderate to severe. Treatment may vary per mental health disorder, but scientific findings confirm that nutrition can play a critical role.
Mental Health: Does Food Play a Role?
Good nutrition supports more than physical health. It’s also important for mental health.
We spoke to Judy Ho, Ph. D., a triple board certified neuropsychologist better known as Dr. Judy on the TV show The Doctors, about the link between food and mental health.
“Research shows that what we eat matters for brain and emotional health,” says Ho. “Foods impact the nervous system and nutrients influence neurotransmitter availability in the brain, and therefore can impact our mental well-being and cognitive performance.”
Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.
The science behind why certain foods affect mental well-being? Neurotransmitters, which are often referred to as the body’s “chemical messengers,” explains Ho. “They are molecules used by the nervous system that carry, boost, and balance signals between neurons and other cells in the body. They influence mood, alertness, attention, stress reduction, muscle movement, heart rate, and bonding with other humans, just to name a few of their important functions!”
To put it simply: Certain foods have been known to increase the production of neurotransmitters, such as norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, which can play a role in mental health and mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.
How Nutrition Impacts Mental Health
There are a variety of factors that can affect mental health, and nutritional deficiencies is one of them. There is an increase in scientific literature that confirms the link between food and mental health.
Researchers have evidence that supports the following:
- Children who consume a diet high in sugar and fast food yet low in fruit, vegetables, and fatty fish are more likely to have symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Making dietary adjustments, such as eating less junk food and more produce, fish, and legumes, may help adults with depression achieve remission
- Dietary micronutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, can improve a variety of mental health functions
There is also evidence that chemical imbalances (a.k.a. low neurotransmitter levels) contribute to symptoms of depression. How to treat chemical imbalances? This is an age-old question. Antidepressants are one option, but they aren’t always effective. Some sources recommend a healthy diet as another treatment option. Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.
Mental Health Benefits of Blackcurrants
So, we know that food can affect mental well-being, and we’ve covered the scientific reasons why that is. What about blackcurrants specifically? Their brain health benefits have been studied and proven, and their mental health benefits may be just as remarkable.
If you’ve ever sat down to write a research paper or focus on an intensive task, you already understand the importance of a sharp, laser-focused mind. Promising research shows that among the mental health benefits of blackcurrants is their ability to improve attention.
“One research study of 36 adults found that people who drank blackcurrant extract juice prior to doing difficult cognitive tasks felt that their attention and mood were improved and mental fatigue reduced compared to a control group that drank a placebo juice,” explains Ho. “Although research is just beginning, this suggests that blackcurrants may serve an important function in mood regulation and warding off cognitive decline.” Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.
Mood is an important part of mental well-being, and blackcurrants may be able to help. “Studies have shown that blackcurrants may help regulate serotonin and dopamine concentrations in the brain,” says Ho. “Both of these chemicals affect mood, sense of well-being, management of stress and anxiety, and ability to focus.”
While energy levels sound like a physical trait — we all feel physically fatigued sometimes — there’s also a mental aspect of energy. Scientific findings have confirmed a connection between mental disorders like depression and fatigue. Another reason to drink blackcurrant juice is for the energy boost and reduced mental fatigue.
4. Reduced stress
Blackcurrants are a rich source of antioxidants, which may be useful in improving stress levels as well as mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Experiencing stress is an inevitable part of day-to-day life, but some mental health disorders are stress-induced. There are many health benefits of antioxidants, and a notable mental health benefit of antioxidant-rich blackcurrants is their positive influence on stress.
The research on the mental health benefits of blackcurrants is still in its beginning stages, but the findings are promising. We will know more in time, but now, we do know that blackcurrants can boost attention, mood, energy, and neurotransmitter levels. This may translate into a more balanced state of mind. Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.
You may have noticed that the method used in many scientific studies is blackcurrant juice. If you’d like to try this for yourself, we recommend Pejrina Blackcurrant Fruit Drinks. They’re packed with blackcurrants, so they’re rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Enjoy! Mental health benefits of blackcurrants.