Aronia or Chokeberry Characteristics

Benefits and Properties of Aronia

The black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa) is one of the fruits of the forest with the highest content of total phenolic compounds (commonly called antioxidants). It has high concentrations of phenolic acids (caffeic, coumaric, chlorogenic…), condensed tannins (proanthocyanidins) and flavonoids such as anthocyanins, flavonols, flavones, flavanones, catechins and chalcones. All this makes the aronia one of the fruits with the highest antioxidant power that exist, always occupying the top positions in the ORAC classification (classification that measures the antioxidant power of the fruit).

It is also low in calories and provides a high concentration of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese. It is also a rich source of folic acid, iron, vitamin A and vitamin E and in smaller quantities it also provides carotenoids, pectins, organic acids and carbohydrates (sugars).

Isn’t it really incredible that all this is inside the same fruit? Here we are going to tell you all its properties and benefits, which will make you hallucinate in colors.

It has not been easy for us to make this compilation, since there are still few studies and most of them are very complex and it is not easy to synthesize and translate all the information correctly. However, thanks to the recent interest in aronia for the food industry, new studies are being carried out in recent years and it is quite possible that there are still benefits of aronia to be discovered.

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Black Chokeberry. Aronia Melanocarpa Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 10458770.

Thanks to its great benefits and the rapid development of superfoods, the consumption of aronia is becoming known around the world, so here we go!

Undoubtedly, the high concentration of antioxidants in aronia is its hallmark, especially in anthocyanins and flavonoids.

The aronia has 1,480 mg of anthocyanins per 100 grams of fresh fruit, a real barbarity!

And it is this very high concentration of anthocyanins, matched only by blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) and black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), which gives it incredible properties and benefits for our health. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants (which the plant creates to defend itself from ultraviolet radiation) and give aronia its black color.

Aronia berries have an antioxidant power of 16,062 micromoles of Trolox equivalent (TE) while other berries such as black currants do not exceed 8,000.

Aronia berries, thanks to the presence and high content of these bioactive components, exhibit a wide range of positive effects. In addition to their strong antioxidant and antiradical activity, they also have gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, immunomodulatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, antibacterial, antiviral, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

This exorbitant concentration of antioxidants means that the consumption of aronia brings us a host of benefits:

. It delays aging and cellular oxidation, thanks to its power to eliminate free radicals from our body.

. It promotes the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation and elimination of free radicals. In addition, the antioxidants in aronia can eliminate free radicals for longer periods of time.

. The high antioxidant activity of aronia makes possible its effective use in the treatment of chronic diseases related to oxidative stress, especially diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

. It prevents the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries because it also prevents the oxidation of fats.

. Helps prevent neurodegenerative diseases.

. Athletes make their heart work harder and consume more oxygen, which consequently causes more oxidation.  Thanks to its high antioxidant power, aronia extract is an ideal reinforcement for all sportsmen and women, and when taken as a juice, it hydrates and has very few calories.

. Recent studies have shown that the interaction between the different antioxidants present in aronia can create a synergy and enhance the antiradical activity, increasing even more the benefits that the consumption of aronia brings to our health.

And it is this very high concentration of antioxidants, such as tannins, that gives it its characteristic astringent flavor. You can’t have it all!

Aronia 'Viking' (Aronia melanocarpa)

The anti-inflammatory properties of aronia are related to the prevention of the development of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic immune system problems. The anti-inflammatory effect of aronia is essential in the prevention of chronic diseases. Aronia berries also have antibacterial and antiviral effects and this synergy also serves for the prevention of inflammation.

Aronia has a potent gastroprotective and anti-diabetic effect. It is well known that oxidative stress and inflammatory processes also play a key role in the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

In recent studies it was observed that aronia juice reduced gastric mucosal injury induced by Indomethacin (anti-inflammatory drug). The gastroprotective effect was accompanied by a significant decrease in lipid peroxidation. It also decreases the expression of genes for cholesterol synthesis, absorption and efflux, in addition to providing the following benefits:

. It can decrease the insulin response and, therefore, be a natural alternative for the treatment of diabetes.

. These polyphenolic compounds (antioxidants), may have beneficial effects in reducing blood glucose levels, due to the inhibition of α-glucosidase and thus prevent the onset of diabetes, by controlling postprandial hyperglycemia through inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase activities, effectively improving glucose metabolism.

. Chlorogenic acid present in aronia, is the most effective inhibitor of pancreatic α-amylase.

. The anthocyanins present in Aronia melanocarpa can normalize carbohydrate metabolism in diabetic patients. Clinical evidence showed that natural products rich in polyphenols modulate carbohydrate metabolism by several mechanisms, such as restoring the integrity and physiology of pancreatic beta cells and thus improving insulin release activity.

. In addition, aronia extracts have been shown in several studies to reduce risk factors related to insulin resistance by modulating multiple pathways associated with insulin signaling, adipogenesis and inflammation.

. Not only that, thanks to its high concentration of anthocyanins, such as cyanidin, aronia could potentially inhibit intestinal α-glucosidase, slow the absorption of sugars and be useful in the prevention and control of diabetes mellitus.

. This high concentration of anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid, contributes to the prevention of obesity, which is also associated with reduced absorption of sugars and lipids in the digestive system.

. A reduction in the level of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and an increase in HDL cholesterol has been demonstrated in men with mild hypercholesterolemia, without pharmacological treatment.

. The aronia extract showed a significant increase in LDL receptor levels and cellular uptake of LDL, which mea

ns that cholesterol was incorporated into the cell, degraded and used in processes such as membrane synthesis, steroid production or bile production.

. In a scientific study with 29 women of different ages, a positive correlation was observed between regular consumption of aronia and the lipid peroxidation marker, reducing body mass index, waist circumference and body fat percentage.

Isn’t it really amazing? Still hesitating to buy aronia plants? Well, there’s still more, much, much more…

Aronia berry

Thanks to its cardioprotective properties, the consumption of aronia and its derivatives, have a beneficial effect on several risk factors of cardiovascular diseases, with anti-atherosclerotic and antiplatelet properties, which provide us with the following benefits:

. It helps us to prevent and treat cardiovascular ailments such as hypertension or chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, a specific type of arteriosclerosis.

. It has been shown that in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest, the consumption of aronia extract was able to decrease inflammation and reduce systolic and diastolic pressure.

. Anthocyanins help to improve or regulate blood pressure and endothelin production. This positive effect on blood pressure is why it is recommended as a nutritional supplement in the treatment of arterial hypertension.

. Aronia has vasoactive and coronary vasoprotective properties. In particular, coumaric acid is a very potent vasorelaxant.

. Anthocyanins, together with phenolic acids and quercetin, have protective effects against nitrative fibrinogen damage and thus may contribute to the prevention of peroxynitrite-related cardiovascular diseases.

. Aronia fruits prevent thrombosis in pathological states where plasma procoagulant activity and oxidative stress are observed in hyperhomocysteinemia (a group of rare metabolic diseases).

. They also significantly inhibit inflammatory processes in blood vessels, and protect against atherogenic changes in the aorta and coronary arteries.

Thanks to the very high concentration of polyphenolic compounds in aronia, it has excellent anticarcinogenic properties. There is scientific evidence indicating that a diet with a high consumption of fruits rich in antioxidants reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, and like other berries, aronia is no exception.

Several mechanisms of action have been identified for a chemopreventive effect of the polyphenolic extract of aronia:

. Prevention of oxidation, suppression of the formation of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen, inhibition of prooxidants (inducing oxidative stress), restoration of antioxidant enzymes and induction of detoxification enzymes, induction of the cell cycle, arrest of apoptosis and changes in cell signaling.

. Aronia has great efficacy against the growth of human breast, leukemia, colon and cervical tumor cell lines. And although a large proportion of phenolic compounds are transformed during digestion, they remain potent as antioxidant and antiproliferative agents.

. It can reduce oxidative stress in breast cancer patients before and after surgery and during various phases of cancer treatment. In several studies, 90% inhibitory activity on leukemic cells was observed.

. Aronia juice also prevents the formation of cancer cells in the digestive tract, which are usually formed by the degradation of some foods containing additives such as nitrates and nitrites, widely used in the production of sausages and other processed meats.

. In a recent study, the growth inhibitory activity on human colon cancer cells was compared for each species of Aronia; Aronia arbutifolia (red), Aronia prunifolia (purple) and Aronia melanocarpa (black). And it was observed that the black aronia extract had the highest level of total phenols, antioxidant activity and individual phenolic acids.

Furthermore, thanks to its antimutagenic properties, the consumption of aronia restricts the generation and release of superoxide radicals (which cause cellular aging) by human granulocytes and inhibits mutagenic activity. And in addition to its potent antiradical effect, as a free radical scavenger, it helps inhibit enzymes that activate promutagens and convert mutagens into derivatives that react with DNA.

Nowadays, the aronia fruit is also highlighted in relation to the strengthening of the human immune system, thanks to its properties that help us to modulate the immune system.

And as if all of the above were not enough, it also has antibacterial and antiviral properties, which together create an even more positive synergy.

. Aronia has antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.

. Another study showed that aronia extracts exhibited antibacterial activity against Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus. The extract also inhibited the growth of Gram-negative bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

. Consumption of aronia juice appears to be effective also in urinary tract infections (UTI) treated with antibiotics.

. Another study determined that the polyphenolic compounds of aronia possess anti-biofilm (biofilm) activity without toxicity. This non-toxic inhibition may confer a lower potential for resistance development compared to conventional antimicrobials.

. Proanthocyanidins, present in large quantities in aronia, are the most potent antimicrobial agents as tested for antimicrobial activity against 10 pathogens in several studies.

. Anthocyanins are also very effective antimicrobial compounds, and together with organic acids, phenolic acids and their mixtures of different chemical forms, they further enhance these antimicrobial benefits.

. Aronia also possesses in vitro and in vivo antiviral efficacy against different subtypes of the influenza virus, including a strain resistant to Oseltamivir (antiviral drug).

. The ellagic acid and myricetin present in aronia inhibited almost 70% of viral plaques of H1 and H3 influenza viruses, as well as the H1/K2785 strain resistant to Oseltamivir.

And now to conclude the list of all the incredible benefits of aronia

. The flavonoids present, have a great protective capacity of sight. Therefore, like bilberry, aronia extract is very beneficial for eye health.

. Aronias are rich in bioactive compounds, such as vitamins (vitamin C and vitamin E), minerals (potassium, calcium and magnesium), carotenoids, pectins, organic acids and carbohydrates present in smaller quantities.

. In addition, the high concentration of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) contributes to strengthen the immune system and activate the protective mechanisms.

Therefore, if in seasonal changes or in the cold months, you need a natural supplement to increase your defenses and avoid colds and flu, aronia will not disappoint you.