Nutritional qualities and Benefits

The Philippine currant or Antidesma bunius is a rich source of antioxidants that defend the cells of the body from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules produced by the body itself when it processes food or by the hazardous by-products of the modern age such as tobacco smoke, smog and pollution and radiation. The damage they cause to our cells can, over time, become irreversible and lead to cancer and other diseases. Vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene and lycopene are some examples of antioxidants. Their most common and abundant sources are fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, guavas, broccoli, apples, oranges, tomatoes and kiwi. That is the reason why we are being urged to eat 5-7 (and recently 7-9) servings of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables each day, if we want to keep ourselves active, physically fit and mentally alert, well into our seventies and even eighties.

The exotic tropical Bignai turned out to be a little-known but rich source of powerful antioxidants, including Vitamin C, catechins, and Coenzyme Q10. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that builds up our ability to resist diseases, beautifies our skin, and strengthens our teeth. It may not cure the common cold but it does prevent it from developing into more serious illnesses such as pneumonia. People with the highest levels of Vitamin C in their blood also turned out to be less likely to have a stroke than those with the lowest.

Antidesma bunius is also a rich source of Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10. This substance is used by our bodies as an antioxidant. It is said to be necessary for the basic functioning of our cells, protecting them from free radicals. CoQ10 also fortifies our immune system, or ability to fight off infections. Older people and those afflicted by diseases such as heart conditions, cancer and diabetes appear to have low CoQ10 levels.

Catechins on the other hand exhibit anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, may hold back or restrain the development of breast cancer and other tumors, and may help boost insulin production. They also appear to reduce stress and tension and lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. The Philippine currant or Bignai also contains minerals essential to our health such as calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.