How exercise and blackcurrants can play supporting roles in our mental wellbeing

How exercise and blackcurrants can play supporting roles in our mental wellbeing

NEARLY one in four adults are affected by anxiety or depression every year and, while the number of people with mental health problems hasn’t changed significantly, it seems the pressures of modern-day living are making it harder for people to cope.

With over 8 million cases of anxiety reported in the UK every year, coupled with depression, the awareness around mental health problems is achieving greater prominence. There’s no denying the urgent need for paying greater attention to our mental wellbeing.

International World Mental Health day on October 10 is a perfect opportunity to highlight the value of exercise for supporting our mental health – and how blackcurrants can play their part in helping us cope with everyday stress.

Even just half an hour of exercise is a great mood-improver

While exercise, on its own, is not a treatment for clinical depression, studies show that even a single bout of exercise of just 30 minutes, can result in positive changes in brain chemicals, which help to improve your mood. Even half an hour of daily exercise is enough to reap the benefits, which is achievable for most people to fit into their daily routine.

The best type of exercise to improve your mood is a mix of enjoyable aerobic activities that you’ll be inclined to stick to in the long term. Whether that’s gardening, walking, or swimming, combined with some social group activities, keeping it varied, fun and stimulating will avoid boredom.

Berries are a natural way to boost mood too

We know blackcurrants are fantastic for supporting muscle recovery from exercise, which on its own will help you stay active every day. But is there more to blackcurrants than meets the eye?

There is a growing body of evidence from randomised, controlled trials that indicate that consumption of blackcurrants also has a positive effect on the cognitive function in adults.

A 2018 Newcastle University study1 highlighted that just one serving of anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant juice had an anti-anxiety effect in healthy young adults. The researchers also observed an indication of greater alertness and lower fatigue.

Earlier this year, another study2 highlighted that blackcurrant improved mood and aided motivation to exercise. Scientists found that anthocyanin-rich New Zealand blackcurrant prevented the generation of an enzyme that breaks down dopamine, our ‘reward’ hormone that helps us feel good. Participants in that blackcurrant study voluntarily walked further and had better mood scores than those in the placebo condition. Plus, the blackcurrant group experienced fewer feelings of fatigue.

Four or five sessions a week of moderate aerobic exercise is the ‘sweet spot’ to support our mental wellbeing. Combine this with our high-potency blackcurrant extract for a convenient way of including berries in your diet and you’ll benefit from an array of mental and physical benefits - naturally.

After all, we’re all for embracing an active life – and being happier.

References

  1. The impact of blackcurrant juice on attention, mood and brain wave spectral activity in young healthy volunteers, J Nutritional Neuroscience, Volume 22, 2019, Watson et al
  2. Timed consumption of a New Zealand blackcurrant juice supportpositive affective responses during a self-motivated moderate walking exercise in healthy sedentary adults. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 2019, Lomiwes et at