New Zealand blackcurrants have been found to be good for the brain

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Researches have discovered that blackcurrants in New Zealand are good for helping to stay mentally young and agile.

A study, conducted by scientists at Plant and Food Research in New Zealand in collaboration with Northumbria University in the UK, shows that compounds in the blackcurrants increase mental performance indicators such as accuracy, attention and mood.

The research also shows that juice from a specific blackcurrant called Blackadder reduces the activity of a family of enzymes called monoamine oxidases, which regulate serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

These chemicals are known to affect mood and thinking and are the focus for treatments of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and mood disorders, including stress and anxiety.

Results of the research are published in the Journal of Functional Foods.

“This study is the first to look at the effects of berry consumption on the cognitive performance of healthy young adults,” says Arjan Scheepens, the Plant and Food Research scientist who led the study.

Understanding how foods affect mental performance could lead to the development of new foods designed for situations where mental performance or mental decline is a factor such as older people or those suffering from stress, anxiety or other mood disorders.

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