November 29, 2011

Chokeberry

Chokeberry, botanically, the fruit belongs to the rosaceae family of the genus aronia. Scientific name: Aronia melanocarpa.

At least two species of choke berries are cultivated widely, black and red. The plant bears numerous small, about 1 cm size fruits with relatively thick, pigmented skin. Red berries are sweeter in taste than black berries; the latter are slightly bitter in taste; however, black and blue berries are rather rich in anthocyanin anti-oxidants.

Health benefits of chokeberries:
  • Chokeberries are low in calories and fats but are rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber.
  • Black chokeberries compose significantly high amounts of phenolic flavonoid phyto-chemicals called anthocyanins. Total anthocyanin content in the choke berries 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, where black choke berry preparations were first used to inhibit chemically induced cancer in the rat esophagus by 30-60% and of the colon by up to 80%. Effective at both the initiation and promotion/progression stages of tumor development, choke-berries are a practical research tool and hold a promising therapeutic source, since they contain highest amount of anthocyanins among native North American berries [J. Agric. Food Chem. 50 (12): 3495–500].
  • They also rich in flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotenes, luteins and zeaxanthins. Zeaxanthin has photo-filtering effects on UV rays and thus protects eyes from age related macular disease in the elderly (ARMD).
  • Chokeberries are also good source 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.
  • The oxygen radical absorbency capacity or ORAC (measurement of antioxidant strength of food items) demonstrates choke berry with one of the highest values yet recorded -16,062 micro moles of Trolox Equivalents (TE) per 100 g.

Safety profile

  • Choke berry contains oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some fruits and vegetables, which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. It is therefore, in individuals with known history of oxalate urinary tract stones may not have to eat too much of these fruits and, vegetables especially belonging to the brassica family. Adequate water intake is advised in these individuals to maintain normal urine output. Oxalic acid also interferes with the absorption of minerals like calcium and magnesium.