EXPERTS from the health and sports nutrition sectors confirmed the exciting potential of New Zealand blackcurrants at the official launch of CurraNZ in London on Tuesday.
Presenter and fitness fanatic Vogue Williams (left), the new face of CurraNZ, hosted a superb Q&A session for media, covering topics of functional nutrition, fitness and wellness trends.
Dr Nathan Lewis, lead scientist and performance nutritionist at the English Institute of Sport, commenced proceedings by revealing how the early CurraNZ performance studies captured his interest in blackcurrants as a new multi-functional nutritional intervention for athletes.
Now entering his fourth Olympic cycle with the EIS, Dr Lewis revealed: “The science on the blackcurrant polyphenol product CurraNZ is robust and there are clear benefits for using it for endurance and team sport performance and recovery. We have observed CurraNZ to be effective in reducing inflammation in athletes under going heavy training who aren’t recovering as we would like. We have used various polyphenol strategies over the years, and I believe there’s a big role for CurraNZ to play in the health and wellbeing – not only for athletes – but the general population too.”
Hannah Sheridan, who introduced the blackcurrant supplement to Tottenham Hotspurs’ program this season, revealed: “I use CurraNZ amongst my athletes to help them perform at their peak and recover quickly and effectively. During periods of intensified training such as pre-season or at altitude camps, athletes require a higher intake of anti-oxidants, which is where CurraNZ plays a huge role in recovery.”
Other panellists Lilly Sabri (fitness influencer and physiotherapist) and Lauren Armes, (editor of WellToDo), discussed emerging trends and changes in consumer behaviour in the health, fitness and supplement markets.
Lauren identified that consumers are looking for transparency from brands and products that are backed by credible science. “Brits have their own consensus on dietary fads and will generally take a skeptical standpoint and ask whether a food is a marketing fad or a real wellness product. Superfoods have to be functional and create a change in peoples’ lifestyles.”
On this theme, Hannah revealed how CurraNZ helps athletes overcome barriers: “While full-time footballers can train, recover and focus on their nutrition, other athletes aren’t so fortunate.
“Lifestyle can be a real barrier. Athletes may have to hold down a job and train twice a day but this means they can’t eat at the right times or the right type of food. Using CurraNZ has the added benefit on top of nutrition for providing recovery and performance outcomes.”
Assessing the functional food market sector specific to athletes, Dr Lewis said:
“Beetroot has shown benefits on performance but no clear benefits on recovery. Whereas the likes of tart cherries have shown benefits on biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress and recovery of muscle function post exercise, but no direct effects on improving performance.”
"With CurraNZ you have a benefit on recovery although more research is needed in this space, and a clear impact on performance thus far. The science is robust, albeit it in it’s infancy, and is only going to grow. For this reason I use CurraNZ with any athletes I work with, pre- and post-exercise.”
Here’s a quick roundup of the other tips and insights revealed by our panelists:
Dr Nathan Lewis
"We look after the health of athletes and nutrition is central to that. We monitor a whole host of things as athletes move through heavy training phases and optimize their systems. We mitigate risks in athletes and use strategies supported by science".“The science on CurraNZ is robust and there are clear benefits to be using it for performance and recovery. CurraNZ is very effective in reducing inflammation and recovery and helping protect the athlete. We have used various antioxidant strategies over the years. I believe there’s a big role for CurraNZ to play in health and wellbeing – not only for athletes – but the general population too.”
"CurraNZ is the only product on the market that has harnessed the power of the blackcurrant that can be so conveniently consumed. Blackcurrant use is certainly an area that is set to grow and I have no doubt this supplement will increasingly become part of elite sports nutrition in the coming years.”
“Finally, it is worth noting, that the CurraNZ performance studies were conducted without the restriction of the participant’s polyphenol intake, and thus the participants replicated their normal training diets in the research. This is what we refer to as having ecological validity and is an important consideration. This approach in the CurraNZ studies contrasts with the cherry studies, as participants were placed on low polyphenol diets, which is not the typical diet for an athlete, and certainly raises the question of whether cherries would be as effective when consumed under typical dietary conditions by the athlete.”
‘Periodise your meals. Eat carbs closer to your exercise when your metabolism is higher otherwise excess energy will be stored as fat. Be clever about when and what you eat”.
“Some Olympic sports are heavily affected by funding, which affects what (nutrition products) they can buy into. This is an issue in some sports as you can’t keep training if you aren’t having the right nutrition’.
“I workout in the morning, it helps keep me motivated for the rest of the day, not only eating well, but staying alert too. At the end of the day, you can be tired and not do it. If you’ve eaten one bad thing, it seems to spiral, but working out motivates you to eat well.”
"There are extremes (exercise techniques) on social media and a lot people are using incorrect form which will lead to injuries. Be careful. Listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right, stop and correct it’
‘I’ve worked with elite footballers through to normal people like us. We all suffer the same thing, no matter what ability or biology – DOMS. My followers on Instagram ask me a lot about how to speed up recovery and be able to work out the next day. We need to prevent DOMS in every way possible from the right nutrition and supplements, foam rollers and protein.’
‘The main thing with fitness is goal setting. A lot of the time people go for a short-term goal but then dip once they’ve hit it. I always promote a lifestyle change, a long-term goal – it’s the same with food.’
Lauren Armes (Founder/Editor, Welltodo)
"Fitness is infiltrating every sector. More people are going on fitness holidays. Technology is enhancing this and brands are leveraging fitness into the idea of friendship, community and forming connections that empower us to live better lives."
"There’s a proliferation of information available to consumers and they want to know what goes into products and what’s behind the marketing fluff."