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Recent Studies on the Advantages of Corinthian Currants

Recent studies conducted specifically for the Greek Corinthian Currants from the Agricultural Cooperatives' Union of Aeghion, in collaboration with universities in Greece and abroad, have shown their high nutritional value.

Corinthian currants are an excellent source of antioxidants / polyphenolics (flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins, resveratrol) with high antioxidant content. Corinthian currants have a great advantage over other types of fruit and raisins because they come from black grapes which are considered far more superior than white grape varieties in antioxidants and especially anthocyanin. Drying the grapes is a process done in mild environmental conditions in the mountains of Greece with a little or no destruction of their vitamins and antioxidants.

Corinthian currants are consumed with their dark-colored bark, which is full of anthocyanins and other antioxidants, and has a high ratio surface/mass due to their small grain size. The shell is reach in dietary fibers creating a substrate for beneficial bacteria in the colon, and giving to currants prebiotic properties, thus promoting good bowel function and preventing the biosynthesis of cholesterol.

Corinthian currants are an excellent source of trace elements such as zinc, magnesium, iron and especially potassium. Their content in potassium helps regulate blood pressure much more than other fruits which are considered excellent sources of potassium, such as bananas.

Clinical studies conducted under the supervision of the Department of Nutrition-Dietetics, of Harokopeio University, demonstrated that the bioavailability of micronutrients of raisins exist in the blood as well as great antioxidant capacity.

The glycemic index of raisins is moderate as well as its diabetic, much lower than many other fruits, making the consumption of Corinthian currants suitable even for specific groups of patients. The sweetness of raisins comes from the high content of fructose (35 wt%). In other words, it is a very sweet fruit that does not cause an increase in blood sugar when consumed in normal amounts.

Volunteers who consumed raisins in every day basis had no weight gain, instead a slight decrease. This is probably due to the feeling of saturation caused by raisins, they are rich in fiber, as well as their sweetness.

Published studies made in vitro demonstrated that extracts of currants affect significantly the increase of apoptotic tumor cells in the stomach and colon while research continues with the effect of raisins in other cancer cell lines.

Corinthian currants were administered under proper medical supervision to patients with Diabetes Mellitus Type II and the results showed that consuming a certain quantity does not increase blood glucose, significantly reduces blood pressure and significantly increases the antioxidant capacity of blood.

A clinical study conducted to healthy volunteers-smokers showed that eating a small amount of currants reverses the effect of oxidative stress to which their body is undergoing because of smoking. Oxidative stress is considered as a key factor for the occurrence of serious diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

New major clinical studies carried out on the effect of currants on the fatty infiltration of the liver and in atherosclerosis, have shown the excellent effect currants have concerning these diseases. These surveys are prepared for patients with the same syndrome as well as in animal models, in collaboration of Agricultural Cooperatives' Union of Aeghion, School of Medicine, University of Athens, Institute of Biomedical Research of the Academy of Athens and the Department of Nutrition-Dietetics, of Harokopeio University.

These ongoing investigations as well as the previous mentioned, have already been published in refereed journals and highlight the nutritional value of this exquisite product, an ancient dry fruit, a unique product of mountainous Greece with unique nutritional value.