Aronia berries contain vitamins A, C, E and K. In addition, the fully represented group of B vitamins should be mentioned. In the group of minerals and trace elements, the berries are rich in iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Of particular interest, however, are the secondary plant substances. The so-called polyphenols serve the defence and reproduction of the plant. This group includes dyes, fragrances, flavours and various toxins that are intended to keep pests away. Polyphenols have an immense antioxidant effect.
Flavonoids, for example, belong to this group. They give the plant its beautiful colours. In the human organism they help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Flavonoids have a relaxing effect on the blood vessels and help to improve the blood flow. Some members of the flavonoid group also protect against viruses, cancer and have an antimicrobial and anti-allergic effect.
No other food is so rich in anthocyanins
Anthocyanins are water-soluble substances that occur in most fruit varieties with a bluish coloration. The highest level of anthocyanins ever measured in fruit is found in aronia berries. Anthocyanins have the ability to maintain and improve vision. They can also reduce platelet formation, protect against cancer and act as anti-inflammatory agents. The abbreviation OPC stands for Oligomeric Procyandine. In berries, these active ingredients are responsible for the characteristic, slightly furry taste.
OPC also helps to prevent cell-damaging and oxidative stress in the body, but has the additional property of strengthening the effect of vitamins A, C and E. This leads to a relief of the immune system and to a strengthening of the defensive forces.
Although the body is able to produce antioxidants itself, the possibilities are limited. Therefore, especially in today’s world with all its pollutant loads, antioxidants have to be taken in additionally with food. Besides fruits, vegetables and salad, nuts and natural fats also contain many antioxidants. But chokeberry berries are the superstar among foods containing antioxidants.
The chokeberry health benefit is particularly noticeable in cancer
The secondary plant compounds of the aronia berry are of particular interest to scientists, as documented in numerous studies. The effect on intestinal cancer is particularly interesting. In 2004, a group of researchers investigated the effect of fruit extracts from grapes, blueberries and chokeberries on colon cancer. The reaction of the affected cancer cells, but also of the healthy cells in the colon, was measured for a total of 72 hours.
Although all three fruit extracts were able to inhibit cancer cell growth, the chokeberry alone managed to reduce cell growth by half within 48 hours. The cell division of the cancer cells was also inhibited by the berry effect, while chokeberry did not demonstrably influence the growth of healthy cells in the intestine.
The study found that the active ingredients were responsible for the inhibition of a specific enzyme. COX 2 increases tumour formation and is considered an indicator of cancer growth. The chokeberry berry also had an effect on the suppression of a tumour-forming protein called CEACAM 1. Even a normal dietary intake has a positive effect.