Chokeberries: The New Power Food?
Want to boost your health? Choke down a serving of chokeberries!
The bright red and deep purple berries have been used by Native Americans for
centuries. But now, the chokeberry can be found in the form of dietary
supplements in local pharmacies and health food stores.
Chokeberries come in two varieties, the
black and the red berries to be more
precise. While the red berries are the sweeter options amongst the two
varieties, the black variety is seen to be a bit bitter. These
fruits are coated
with a thick pigment, and are generally harvested in a large number.
Once these fruits are harvested, they are generally refrigerated for storage.
However, these fruits can only be stored for 10 days at the max if you want to
enjoy the health benefits they hold for you.
Health benefits of choke berries
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. Scientific studies have shown that consumption of berries on regular
basis offers potential health benefits against
aging and neurological
diabetes, and bacterial infections.
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. Anthocyanins also have a potent anti-inflammatory
effect, improve blood sugar and the function of insulin.
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
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 E, beta
carotene and folate and minerals like
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
Researchers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture studied the effects of
chokeberry extracts on pre-diabetic rats. They found rats that were given the
chokeberry extract weighed less, had a lower percentage of
body fat, lower
blood glucose and reduced levels of plasma triglycerides,
low-density lipoprotein. This could make chokeberries an important component
in the treatment of diabetes. Authors of the study believe this "provides
evidence that the chokeberry extract inhibits
weight gain in insulin-resistant
animals and that it modulates multiple genes associated with adipose tissue
growth, blood glucose regulation, and inflammatory pathways."
Some serving tips:
Chokeerries are great addition to ice cream tops, and
They are also used in juice, cakes, muffins, baby foods
Choke berry syrup has been used in variety of
Once these berries are picked, they need proper washing and processing.
These berries are then dried and refrigerated for further use. While these can
be obtained from the market as well, the refrigerated berries should be
consumed within a week to get the best effects out of them.
These berries can be readily juiced, eaten with ice creams, used for baking
muffins, and a number of other delicious uses. If you are a fruit lover and at
the same time a health conscious person, these chokeberries
can be something for you to try out!