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Health benefits of chokeberry (Aronia)
Chokeberries are low in calories and fats. 100 g of fresh berries carry 47 calories. Nonetheless, they are one of the nature's richest sources of flavonoid anthocyanin antioxidants. In addition, the berries contain handsome levels of minerals, vitamins, as well as dietary fiber through their peel.
The oxygen radical absorbency capacity or ORAC (measurement of antioxidant strength of food items) demonstrates chokeberry with one of the highest values yet recorded among berries-16,062 micro-moles of Trolox Equivalents (TE) per 100 g.
Black chokeberries consist of significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Total anthocyanin content is 1480 mg per 100 g of fresh berries, and proanthocyanidin concentration is 664 mg per 100 g (Wu et al. 2004, 2006). Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries on regular basis offers potential health benefits against cancer, aging and neurological diseases, inflammation, diabetes, and bacterial infections. (- By Dr. Paul Gross, 2007-07-09).
Laboratory analyses of anthocyanins in chokeberries have identified the following individual chemicals: cyanidin-3-galactoside, quercetin, peonidin, delphinidin, petunidin, epicatechin, caffeic acid, pelargonidin and malvidin. These flavonoid poly-phenolic antioxidants have proven health benefits through scavenging dangerous oxygen-free radicals from the body.
Cancer research on anthocyanins in black chokeberry preparations was first used to inhibit chemically induced cancer in the rat esophagus, and was found to reduce the disease severity by 30-60% and that of the colon cancer by up to 80%. Effective at initiation and promotion/progression stages of tumor development, these berries can be a practical research tool and hold a promising therapeutic resource since they contain the highest amount of anthocyanins among native North American berries [J. Agric. Food Chem. 50 (12): 3495–500].
They are also rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, luteins and zeaxanthins. Zea-xanthin has photo-filtering effects on UV rays and thus protects eyes from age-related macular disease in the elderly (ARMD).
Further, they are also good sources of many antioxidant vitamins like vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin E, beta-carotene and folate and minerals like potassium, iron and manganese. 100 g of fresh berries provide about 35% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin C.