Experts have long praised berries, especially blueberries, for their wide range of health benefits for the body, mind, and heart. That’s why they’re often noted as being an essential part of any anti-aging diet. But there’s a type of berry that’s not well-known in North America, but is beginning to receive serious attention, and it could just be the healthiest kind of berry out there—which is why you need to consider adding it to your anti-aging diet.
They’re called Aronia berries, or more commonly “chokeberries.” They’re black or red in color, and the lack of attention paid to this fruit stems from their bitter taste and astringency—hence the name chokeberries. However, recent research has brought chokeberries back into the spotlight, showcasing just how vital they can be to an anti-aging diet.
The research, presented in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that chokeberry extract tops the list of natural foods on the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) scale, which gauges how well foods can protect us from illnesses that can affect the length and quality of our lives. Topping the ORAC scale means that making chokeberries part of your anti-aging diet can lower your risk of chronic diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, metabolic disease, and stroke by a substantial amount.
Given the amount of benefits chokeberries offer as part of an anti-aging diet, it should come as no surprise that they’re an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, folate, and beta-carotene, as well as the minerals iron, manganese, and potassium. Chokeberries also contain a ton of flavonoid antioxidants, including zeaxanthin, which reduces age-related damage caused to the eyes by ultraviolet (UV) rays, and several chemicals that act as free radical scavengers, preventing damage to DNA and changes to enzymes that lead to cancer. And that’s just chokeberries themselves; their peels contain additional vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, so be sure not to throw them away because they’re just as valuable to your anti-aging diet.
The greatest benefit of including chokeberries in your anti-aging diet, in addition to also being low in calories (only 47 calories per 100g serving) and fat, is that they are one of the greatest natural sources of anthocyanis, a flavonoid antioxidant. Research published in the journal Atherosclerosis found that the extract from chokeberries was able to eliminate particles of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) which were responsible for increasing the risk of a heart attack. Chokeberries were also proven to reduce oxidative stress, which helps to reduce the amount of plaque in your arteries. Just one 3.5-ounce serving of chokeberries contains more than 2,000 milligrams of oxidants, meaning it’s not hard to make chokeberries an effective part of your anti-aging diet.
When deciding to include chokeberries in your anti-aging diet, be sure to wash them with warm water in order to remove the waxy coating they’re naturally covered with. They can be added to muffins and bread, or on one of your cheat days, sprinkle them on your ice cream for a tangy treat. Chokeberries are also used in a variety of teas, syrups, juices, jams, and wines (remember, a glass a day is good for your heart) that can be incorporated into your anti-aging diet.
For the largest anti-aging diet benefits, eat foods that use whole chokeberries—although even chokeberry pieces are still good—and avoid eating more than two chokeberry-based foods per day in your anti-aging diet, as many of them are high in sugar to mask the berry’s bitter taste.
“Chokeberry (aronia) nutrition facts,” Nutrition-and-You.com web site; https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/chokeberry.html, last accessed October 6, 2013.
Phillips, J., “This powerful berry should be part of your anti-aging diet,” Natural News web site, March 27, 2011; https://www.naturalnews.com/031849_Aronia_berries_anti-aging.html.
Styles, S., “Nutrition Facts of Chokeberries,” SFGate.com web site; https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrition-chokeberries-1161.html, last accessed October 6, 2013.