Aronia, also called chokeberry is a small round fruit (berry) that can be found in two colors: red and black. The first are sweeter on the taste while the latter are more sour and bitter. Aronia is fruit coming in a small package and is filled with phyto-nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants. This small natural fruit comes from the wild, and it recently seized the attention of all lovers of fitness and scientists researchers of food, because of their exceptional nutritional value. Botanically it belongs to the family Rosaceae, genus of Aronia, and its scientific name is Aronia melanocarpa. It grows about 1.5 to 2 meters in height and has bush like configuration, and the fruits grow grouped in 10-25 grains.
Aronia originated in North America, in forest and wetland areas of its eastern part and the mass consumption begins from 1959 when this fruit was included in the diet of Russian cosmonauts.
However, regarding the properties they have, black ones (as all black or blue color berries) are great source of anthocyanin and proanthocyanin class of pigment anti-oxidants which are aronia’s most dominating phenolic compounds together with very high level of vitamin C, phyto-nutrients and other vitamins which makes this tiny berry a real antioxidant powerhouse. Because of this combined composition, aronia helps prevention of many degenerative diseases (e.g. cancer, heart diseases) and slowers down the aging process (crucial component of nutritionist-recommended anti-wrinkle diets). It also protects the skin from environmental harmful effects such as various air pollutants, ultraviolet radiation and tobacco smoke. This is due to its content of another type of antioxidants – flavonoids such as carotenes, luteins and zeaxanthins.
Aronia holds the record among all other berries for its value of the Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity or ORAC which is actually the measurement of antioxidant strength of foods. Furthermore, they are great source of vitamin E, beta-carotene and folate minerals such as potassium, iron and manganese.
Even though there are lot more beneficial components in aronia to be mentioned, I would like to point out some of the practical benefits from consuming this fruit regularly.
-It is great protector against colds, seasonal flu and has great anti-viral properties and is especially powerful against type A influenza as well as bacteriostatic activity against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
-It contributes to bowel health (regular bowel movements) because aronia is very rich in fibers and essential micro-nutrients which pass through our digestive tracts relatively untouched preventing gastric damage and this feature is known to be associated with number of health benefits: lower cholesterol levels, weight loss and reduced risk of diabetes.
-Another great practical use of aronia is that it effectively improves circulation by strengthening capillary walls, improves function of circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems; protects heart cells from cell membrane damage and DNA fragmentation; inhibits enzymes that break down collagen; reduces allergy production; protects liver from chemical damage, etc. It enhances the overall wellness.
Aronia can be prepared and consumed in many different ways depending on our respective preferences, but we would list the following:
- fresh fruit – real vitamin bomb
- dried fruit – in biscuits, muesli in yogurt
- leaf tea
- aronia juice – 100% natural and healthy
- marmalade from aronia
- aronia wine.
Interestingly, it has the ability to protect the body from radioactive radiation of mobile phones and computers.
Since we have discussed aronia in all its “high levels of components” and “high protection from many diseases” I would like to mention aronia’s “lows” as well. Namely, aronia is low in sugar, fats and calories.