Keep high blood pressure at bay by snacking on chokeberries

Having high blood pressure (hypertension) is a huge risk factor for other health complications, including cardiovascular disease. A recent study suggests eating chokeberries to protect yourself from high blood pressure and reduce inflammation in your body.

Previous studies have shown that chokeberries may improve cardiovascular disease risk factors. Therefore, in the new study, researchers from Finland looked at the effects of chokeberries on the health of people with untreated mild hypertension.

For this purpose, they recruited 38 individuals with the condition. The participants consumed 300 milliliters (mL) cold-pressed 100 percent chokeberry juice and three grams (g) oven-dried chokeberry powder, or matched placebo products in a random order every day for eight weeks each with no washout period. The daily portion of chokeberry products was prepared from about 336 g of fresh chokeberries.

The participants’ urinary excretion of various polyphenols and their metabolites increased during the chokeberry consumption, which indicates proper compliance to the treatment. The results of the study revealed that eating chokeberry products reduced high blood pressure and low-grade inflammation. In particular, it led reductions in diastolic and systolic blood pressure, as well as a decrease in markers of inflammation.

From these findings, the researchers concluded that adding chokeberries to your diet can help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. This is especially beneficial to people with mildly elevated blood pressure. The findings of the study were published in the journal Nutrition Research.

Other health benefits of chokeberries

Chokeberries, also known as aronia berries, are a type of shrub native to North America. They are called chokeberries because they have a sharp, mouth-drying effect when consumed. These berries are said to have many health benefits, including:

  • Providing many nutrients: Like other berries, chokeberries are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Consuming chokeberries can give you various nutrients, such as iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B, C, and K.
  • Improving organ health: Some evidence suggests that drinking chokeberry juice can keep organs healthy. Some studies have indicated that it can reduce liver damage and damaged stomach linings. Researchers suggest that these organ-protective effects of chokeberries may be attributed to its high antioxidant content. (Related: Fermented chokeberry may reduce the negative effects of a high-fat diet.)
  • Preventing diabetes: Research has shown that chokeberry may be beneficial to people with diabetes. Some studies have shown that it strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation associated with diabetes. Other studies have suggested that it has significant positive effects on insulin and helps prevent diabetes from developing.
  • Protecting against cancer: Studies have shown that chokeberries can help protect against cancer. One study looked at the cancer-protective effects of grapes, chokeberries, and bilberries and found that chokeberries exhibited the most potent protective effect. Another study also found that the fruit’s extract can help reduce cell damage associated with breast cancer.

You can add chokeberries to your diet by eating it fresh or drinking the fruit’s juice. They can also be used as an ingredient in baked goods and other foods, such as cookies, jam, muffins, pies, tea, and wine.

Chokeberries can be used to make porridge healthier

Scientists continue to develop functional foods, such as snacks and porridge that have health benefits beyond healthy nutrition to increase the body’s protection from diseases and improve physical and mental health. In a recent study published in the journal Open Chemistry, researchers have suggested that chokeberries can be used to enrich porridge with antioxidants and nutrients.

Chokeberries are known to have high amounts of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. However, the antioxidant capacity of fruits, in general, tend to decline when processed. Therefore, the study’s researchers measured the antioxidant content of chokeberries when added to porridge. They found that chokeberries are resistant to heat during the production process of porridge.

“Due to the high levels of antioxidants in the Aronia berry and its resistance to high temperatures during processing, the research highlights how important the Aronia berry could be for the production of functional foods such as porridge,” said Anna Oniszczuk, one of the researchers of the study.

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