Many health-minded individuals understand the importance of functional foods and especially members of the berry family in chronic disease risk reduction and free radical scavenging antioxidant ability. Aronia berries, more commonly known as chokeberries, are not well known in North America.
Falling from favor due to their highly astringent taste, chokeberries are slowly gaining popularity due to their powerful capacity to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions. The result of research presented in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry demonstrates that chokeberry extract leads all other natural foods on the ORAC antioxidant rating scale and can significantly lower chronic disease risk.
Chokeberry has the Highest Antioxidant Capacity of Any Natural Food
The ORAC ( Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale provides an important tool to gauge the ability of functional foods to protect against common diseases that threaten our longevity and quality of life. Aronia extracts have been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol oxidative stress, making the lipid structure less likely to become a component in the formation of arterial plaque.
Researchers publishing in the journal Atherosclerosis found that the high anthocyanin flavonoid content of the berry extract significantly lowered the most dangerous small dense LDL particles known to increase the risk of a heart attack. Additionally the study found that systolic and diastolic blood pressure was reduced by a mean average of 11 and 7.2 mmHg, respectively. The study authors concluded “In view of the fact that chokeberry flavonoids reduce the severity of inflammation, they can be used clinically for secondary prevention of ischemic heart disease.”
Chokeberry Helps Prevent Colon Cancer
Functional foods that are extremely high in antioxidants play an important role in the prevention of many types of cancer. A study published in the journal Genes and Nutrition found that colon cancer cells exposed to chokeberry juice were 40% less likely to proliferate and become mature cancer cells. The designers of this research study found that the free radical scavenging capacity of Aronia prevented damage to the DNA structure and modified enzymatic activity known to promote polyps and initiate cancer.
Another novel characteristic of chokeberry is to moderate blood glucose levels by lowering oxidative stress and preventing damage to the endothelial lining of the arteries. Reporting the results of a study in the journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, scientists noted that a small concentration of chokeberry fruit extract muted the activity of sugars in the blood that lead to development of chronic diseases and complications associated with metabolic syndrome.
Although not a household name in America, chokeberry has been embraced in parts of Europe over the past century and has been slowly regaining acceptance in colder growing climates of North America. Chokeberry extract claims the highest antioxidant ORAC score that makes it a strong ally in the fight against metabolic disease, cancer, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer`s dementia. Avoid products that include the berry in a sugary base such as jams and candies in favor of the pure extract that can be added to beverages and smoothes to naturally improve your health.