Aronia Berries or chokeberries as they are commonly known, are a small family of little red or black sour tasting berries that are found naturally in eastern North America. They are edible when raw, but find a larger variety of users when processed into wine, jams, tinctures, syrups, juice, ice cream, beer, and aronia powder.
Chokeberries are known to have many health benefits, which is why although they earn the name ‘chokeberries’ because eating them dries out the mouth and makes the lips pucker, they are used as an ingredient in many good applications.
Chokeberries were known to have medicinal value by the Native Americans, who used them as a remedy for colds. Modern medicine has built on that and discovered many more health benefits of chokeberries, and a few will be outlined here.
Rich in Antioxidants
Many of the health benefits of Aronia berries are because they are considered to be one of the best natural sources of antioxidants, and in particular, a group of enzymes called polyphenols which inhibit free radicals in the bloodstream.
Many of the studies carried out with Aronia berries have been done using rodent test subjects, although a few have also progressed into human trials. The promise and potential, however, is clear.
A study discovered that Aronia juice extract was effective in relieving the symptoms and reducing the severity of liver damage. Another study resulted in proof that the berries might also be able to prevent the occurrence of liver damage entirely. Yet another study showed that Aronia juice helped in combating the effects of damage to the stomach lining.
Aronia juice extract has also been shown to reduce the activity of harmful bacteria in the lower digestive system by decreasing the ability of the bacteria to produce a protective biofilm.
Human studies showed that the berries could greatly reduce urinary tract infections in nursing home patients. And a different study conducted on rats found the berry extract might be effective against the flu.
In addition to all these numerous health benefits, chokeberries contain vitamins and nutrients including vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as iron, folate, manganese, and fiber.
Research has shown that Aronia berries contain a certain compound – anthocyanins – which are known to be effective in preventing the growth of colon cancer cells, in one study by as high as 60 percent. Aronia berries are also finding use in the fight against breast cancer because they reduce the free radicals in the bodies of patients.
Protection for the Heart
Aronia berry extract used in studies proved to be effective in cutting down on substances dangerous for the heart and metabolism such as cholesterol and triglycerides.
In another study, Aronia berries were found to be effective against high blood pressure because they could relax the lining of the arteries, which is the direct cause of HBP in humans.
Medicine for Diabetics
Chokeberries contain compounds that can lower blood glucose levels, and that can increase the human body’s ability to efficiently use insulin. The berries can also reduce inflammation that’s associated with diabetes.
The health benefits and nutritional value of chokeberries are so many that it’s a wonder that the berries are not much more popular than they are. They can be taken raw or frozen, added as an ingredient in cakes and pies or they can be mixed as a powder into smoothies containing other fruits if the taste is too strong. Whatever the case, Aronia berries would bring benefits that far outweigh their taste into a diet.