How to boost your immune system: An unexpected fruit could arm your antiviral defences

A strong and healthy immune system is key to ward off infections to keep you feeling fit and well. Which unexpected fruit could boost your immune system?

Demonstrating impressive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this fruit has been found to boost “innate immune defences”.

Pharmacist Mike Wakeman spoke about the importance of anthocyanins – found in blackcurrants.

“We’re just beginning to understand how vital these are in terms of maintaining our wellbeing,” he began.


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“These are sometimes referred to as ‘lifespan essential nutrients’.”

Anthocyanins are part of a group of micronutrients known as polyphenols.

It gives blackcurrants their purple colour and is behind their health-boosting abilities.

Mr Wakenman continued: “Most people’s consumption of polyphenols isn’t as high as it should be.”

Research carried out by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research suggested eating blackcurrant “bolsters the first line of defence against ‘opportunistic infection’, which include seasonal viruses and bacteria.”

Scientists at Fukushima Medical University School of Medicine, and the Leprosy Research Center and National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, also found that the anthocyanins contained in the fruit had antiviral effects against a range of diseases.

With the coronavirus pandemic gripping the nation, there’s no better time to boost your immune system than now.

Nicki Bundock, of UK-based CurraNZ which uses New Zealand blackcurrants to produce a high-potency anthocyanin supplement, said: “People are clearly looking for something to give them a better chance of staying healthy as possible during these difficult times.

“Anthocyanins are key to the antiviral properties [in] blackcurrants.

“New Zealand blackcurrants boast particularly high levels of anthocyanins due to two major factors: their exposure to increased levels of UV light in the southern hemisphere and the cold winters.”

Aside from supplement form, blackcurrants are available in stores and online to order.

While people are spending more time at home, it’s a great time to experiment in the kitchen.


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You could try to create your own blackcurrant jam – perfect to slather on toast, crumpets, scones and in between sponge cakes.

Then there’s the option of making a berry crumble, blackcurrant sorbet or blackcurrant pie.

Blackberries can even be bought as dried fruit – great for sprinkling on your morning cereal.

Dried blackcurrants are a healthy snack option while chilling out at home too.

Health benefits of the berry

Blackcurrants carry four times the amount of vitamin C than oranges.

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is responsible for repairing body tissues and boosting the immune system.

Additionally, blackcurrants are antiseptic, antitoxic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.

Help to keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy and varied diet and exercise.

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