Looking back at the relevant bibliography as regards currants (black corinthian raisins), we can discover
important findings from laboratory studies (in vitro) about their nutritional content as:
- Currants are a fair source of antioxidant polyphenolic ingredients.
- They dispose anticancer activity.
- They have antimicrobial and antibacterial activity as well as vasodilatory activity.
- They contain in enormous quantities trace-elements such as magnesium, zinc and potassium.
- Given that the raisins consumed with their peel, they have high percentage of dietary fibers, higher than this of the most fruits (it is less only than of some leafy vegetables). Dietary fibers function as substrate for beneficial bacteria in the colon, giving so currants prebiotic properties that help proper bowel function but also prevent cholesterol biosynthesis.
- The sweetness of currants is due to their high content in fructose, which has a very low glycemic index (19) compared to glucose (100) and as a result currants have a moderate glycemic index (55-63).
- Currants’ sugars are not in the form of crystals thus can “encapsulate” other ingredients, antioxidants, flavoring substances, and to protect them.
- The antioxidant behavior of currants remains stable – and in some cases even increased – during cooking food.
Apart from the really important discoveries in the laboratory scale (in vitro), it must be demonstrated by clinical studies (in vivo), the potential positive effects of eating currants on human health.
For this purpose, the Currants (Corinthian Raisins) Cooperative (S.KO.S.) started in 2009 (in collaboration with recognized scientific institutions like the Harokopio University of Athens, Laiko Hospital of Athens, etc.) to finance from its own resources, research program and clinical studies to illustrate the components of currants and its beneficial properties on humanhealth.
Since November 2009 the above project has been included in the NSRF 2007-2013 and co-financed by national and EU funds. In particular, the GSRT (Management and Implementation Agency for RTD and Innovation Activities, Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture & Sports) and the European Regional Development Fund,finance part of the project.
The action above is an innovation that has not been done before for a GREEK product!
The first results of these clinical studies show that:
- People who ate currants on a daily basis, consumed and 100-150 fewer calories overall during the day.
- Secondly that the group of …currants showed a significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure of about 5.5 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg)-This decrease is even better than that achieved by many drugs!
- There was also an increase of total antioxidant capacity of blood plasma – highly important parameter since it offers a “shield” against cardiovascular events and cancer. Finally, there was a reduction by 8 units per liter of blood (U / l) of the oxidized form of “bad» LDL cholesterol – a highly atherogenic form of LDL.
- There were no differences in what concerned the levels of blood glucose and glycated hemoglobin, which indicates that currants had no negative impact on the diabetic course of volunteers.