Black chokeberries, which are also known as Aronia
berries, are experiencing a rebirth in the American health food scene, but
these berries have been here since long before Europeans landed on these
shores. Many indigenous people across North America consumed the small, deep
purple chokeberry as an essential element in their diets, both as food and as
medicine. In the early 1900s, black chokeberry production began in Russia and
expanded throughout Eastern Europe after World War II. By far the greatest
production of Aronia berries still occurs in Poland, but American farmers are
also expanding cultivation of these native berries. If you have been
considering adding Aronia berries to your diet, here are 7 health benefits that
might convince you to take the leap.
1. Leading Antioxidant Fruits
Aroniaberries are one of the leading antioxidant
fruits. On the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, they measure
over 16,000. Antioxidants donate electrons to free radicals to stabilize them,
which, in simpler terms means that they neutralize the molecules that can cause
stress and damage to our cells. By limiting the damage free radicals can do,
antioxidants help prevent cancer. Aronia berries are documented to have
therapeutic effects on breast, cervical, colon, liver, and lung cancer, and
glioblastoma and leukemia cells.
2. Quercitin and Quinic
Aroniaberries contain beneficial nutrients such as
quercetin and quinic. Quercetin has been shown to reduce inflammation and blood
pressure and improve blood sugar levels and exercise recovery. Quinic also
reduces inflammation and improves digestion and the immune system.
Aronia berries also have high concentrations of
anthocyanins, the colored pigments responsible for red, purple, and blue colors
in fruits and vegetables. Anthocyanins are also antioxidants and part of a
larger plant-based category called flavonoids, and they may protect against
inflammation, type-2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Aronia berries also contain proanthocyanidins, a
polyphenol compound that is found in the skin, bark, fruit core, or seeds of
plants. Proanthocyanidins are tannins, which means that they give fruits such
as Aronia berries and grapes their astringency or dry mouth feel. Scientific
studies indicate that they help protect the body from sun damage and improve
vision and flexibility in the joints, and improve blood circulation by
strengthening capillaries, veins, and arteries. They have also been found to be
antioxidant, anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-allergic.
5. Vitamin C and B-Complex Vitamins
Aronia berries also contain substantial
concentrations of Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Vitamin C helps protect our
cells against damage caused by free-radicals and boosts the immune system.
B-complex vitamins aid our energy production, brain function, and cell
metabolism. They may also help support our immune systems.
6. Essential Minerals
Aronia berries also contain high amounts of
essential minerals, such as calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and
zinc. These minerals support every part of our bodies from our bone health to
our digestive systems to oxygenation of our muscles.
7. Vitamins A, E, and K
Aronia berries also provide us with Vitamins A, E, and K. Vitamin A supports our vision, growth, reproduction, and immune system. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties and studies are being done to determine how Vitamin E might help delay the progression of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin K helps our bodies produce proteins that help our blood clot and build our bones.