Aronia berries /also known as chokeberries are called nature’s healer and protector mainly for the following top 10 reasons:
1. Antioxidant source
Aronia berries have the highest concentration of antioxidants present in any fruit. Why is this so important? Antioxidants protect the body’s cells from the damaging effects of oxidation. And because aronia is rich in antioxidants, it has a very high ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity - a measure of an antioxidant's power to neutralize free radicals) - almost 80 units, the highest amongst fruits.
In the United States, the Aronia berry was tested by the Department of Agriculture in November of 2007. A public comparison was published showing that Aronia was tested and compared to 276 other edible items that can be found in the USA and is ranked № 1 antioxidant.
2. Urinary tract health
The second great benefit of consuming aronia berries is keeping good urinary tract health. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happen to millions of people around the world. The main causal agent is Escherichia coli. Symptoms include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine. It is well known that cranberries are good in the fight against UTI, but studies show that aronia berries are five to ten times more effective, because of the higher dose of quinic acid in them, which is proven to prevent urinary infections. Additional lab studies showed that Aronia Melanocarpa is effective in reducing micro-organism growth for several bacteria including Escherichia coli, thus proving aronia berries help prevent and cure UTI and maintain good urinary tract health.
3. Improve blood circulation and strengthens blood vessels
Aronia berries are also known to improve the circulation of blood, make blood vessels stronger and reduce the risk of heart disease. Free radicals are the true cause of various diseases in the body and aronia berries can prevent formation of these radicals thus preventing diseases such as diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. Mature aronia fruits contain a large amount of phenols, which disinfect the bloodstream and the body, promotes healing of wounds, removing toxic substances from the body, reduce inflammation, improves elasticity of blood vessels and prevent their clogging. Many studies have been done on Aronia, particularly in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe. A 2002 animal-modeled study (Kowalczyk et al), conducted in the Department of harmacology of the Military Medical Academy, Lodz, Poland, tested anthocyanins from the aronia berry. The study concluded that aronia berry anthocyanins are useful in fighting “oxidative stress” in cardiovascular patients.
4. Balance of blood pressure levels
Among the top 5 benefits it brings, Aronia helps greatly in keeping blood pressure at normal levels. The dark pigmented berries have been known to prevent spasms in blood vessels, keeping the blood pressure far from the “danger zone”. The juice or tea from chokeberry is highly recommended to anyone having problems with the circulatory system and blood pressure. In a 2007 double-blind, placebo-controlled parallel trial study (Naruszervicz M et al), conducted by the Department of Pharmacognosy and Molecular Basis of Phythotherapy, Medical University of Warsaw and the Center for Atherosclerosis Research, Pomerainian Medical University Szczecin, Poland gave patients, who had experienced myocardial infracture and were being treated with statin therapy, a rich extract from the Aronia Berry. Cardiovascular risk markers were significantly reduced in those taking the Aronia melanocarpa E. They saw a reduction in blood pressure and Ox-LDL levels and more.
5. Prevention and help in treatment of Diabetes
There have been a number of studies analyzing how aronia berries affect people with diabetes. One of them concluded that consumption of the “super berries” would not increase blood sugar levels and it can even lower them. Aronia can be very beneficial for people who want to prevent diabetes and it can also help people manage diabetes - associated conditions. Another study (Simeonov et al, 2002) conducted at the Medical University in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, found that aronia juice without sugar added (artificially sweetened) was “a valuable adjunct” to treating patients with diabetes. An animal modeled study in 2007 (Valcheva-Kuzmanova S et al), conducted by the Department of Preclinical Pharmacology and Biochemistry, Medical University, Varna, Bulgaria was conducted on diabetic rats. The outcome showed that the use of Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice might be useful in the prevention and control of diabetes and in the complications of diabetes.
6. “Gastro protective” effect
Aronia berries have also been proven to help treating stomach problems including gastric ulcers, diarrhea. That theory has been analyzed by an animal study in 2004, which showed that the aronia berry’s antioxidant effects had a gastro protective effect when treating the acute gastric hemorrhagic lesion in rats. This study suggested to scientists that it can be a natural effective treatment for stomach problems in humans (including ulcers). Proving once again to be an extremely valuable fruit, dried Aronia is a great medicine for kidney and stomach problems.
7. Anti-carcinogenic effect
In the context of “gastro protection”, aronia berries also serve as anti-carcinogenic agent. The the effect of the black colored berries on cancer as it’s known to be rather effective especially for those suffering from colon cancer. A study conducted in 2003 showed that the berry provided a natural defense to fight against colon cancer. The article, “Darker fruits could fight cancer“, discusses the findings of researchers at Ohio State University who found that darker fruits and berries could fight cancer. The aronia berry or chokeberry is mentioned in the article, “[A]nthocyanin pigments obtained from black carrots and radishes slowed the growth of cancer cells by between 50 to 80%. But compounds from chokeberries for instance killed up to a fifth of existing cells, without impacting upon healthy ones.”
“Anthocyanin-Rich Extracts Inhibit Multiple Biomarkers of Colon Cancer in Rats” looks at the benefits of the aronia berry as well as other berries in the help of eliminating colon cancer.
8. Anti-inflammatory properties, suppress viruses
If your diet includes aronia berry regularly, you can be sure that colds and flu will not trouble you soon! It fights bacteria and viruses and boosts the immune system. Another Bulgarian study (Study of the natural Aronia Melanocarpa juice for anti-viral activity, Borissova et al, 1994) showed that chokeberry juice, due to its anthocyane flavonoids, had an anti-inflammatory value, when inflammation was induced by histamine & serotonin.
9. Eyes protection
Aronia berries, among all other healthy benefits, provide good protection for our eyes. The super berries contain a large amount of carotene, which protects cells from damage and the eyes from cataract formation. They are also rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants such as luteins and zeaxanthins. Zeaxanthin has photo-filtering effects on UV rays and thus protects eyes from age related macular disease in the elderly (ARMD) and eye inflammation (uveitis). Researchers in Japan have been measuring the effects of aronia crude extract (ACE) on eye inflammation. The study was published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science several years ago.
10. Weight control
Last, but not least Aronia berries help in regulating weight. In addition to that, Aronia can help prevent the body from storing fat around the abdomen, a problem which many people are constantly facing. An added benefit from having aronia berries included in your diet is that it can also improve your cholesterol and lipid levels, by helping the body to produce good cholesterol. This great health benefit is analyzed by scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture based in Beltsville, Maryland who have conducted a study proving good effects of the super berry on control of weight and cholesterol levels.
Aronia berries are indeed some of nature’s best health supplements and the health benefits of this “superberry” seem endless – in addition to the above mentioned - inhibit the development of blood clots and the early process of atherosclerosis. Aronia berries can help improve your memory as well!