Antioxidant Nutrients – Aronia Leaves May Reduce Blood Pressure
Aronia nations or Aronia is an annual plant whose flowers grow to about four inches or so and are yellow-green in color. It has dark green leaves and blooms during the spring. It has white flowers, which will stay on for a few weeks after the blooms fade. As with most annuals, Aronia can be planted in any season and will take root and grow well if you dig it up and spread it in the garden right after it has come up.
Aronia is a large genus of succulents, which belong to the family Rosaceae, native to central Europe and primarily found in damp wooded areas and swamps. The genus is considered to have at least two or three common species, one of which is quite common in Europe. Although they are not classified as true vines, they do grow fairly tall and some have been found to reach three feet or higher. They are cultivated as vegetables, fruits, and even wild flowers.
Many health benefits are ascribed to Aronia berries, or chokeberries, as they are sometimes called. One of the many claims is that the pulp from the leaves contains antioxidants which are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, the fiber content is high in this fruit, so much so that they can be used like a low-fat, low-calorie sweetener. Other antioxidants are claimed to be contained in some of the chemical compounds in the leaves. Some studies have suggested that the antioxidants found in the leaves and the bark of Aronia may have positive effects on human cardiovascular health, although more research is needed. While there is a possible benefit to cardiovascular health, there is no evidence that consuming adequate amounts of antioxidants by drinking the juice on its own will lower your cholesterol levels or prevent a heart attack.
However, other studies have shown that the antioxidant protective effects of the berries may extend beyond heart disease. The same studies have shown that the nutrient dense polyphenols contained in the skin of the berries may protect against prostate cancer and some types of lung cancer. In addition, preliminary studies suggest that the polyphenol content of the skin of the berries may protect against certain forms of colon cancer. Since colon cancer is one of the most common types of cancers, any beneficial effect of these berries may be particularly important.
One of the reasons that scientists believe that the polyphenols in the skin of the Aronia berries may have antioxidant effects is that they contain a chemical called anthocyanin. This chemical is similar in structure to vitamin C, but is much weaker in order to achieve a sufficient amount of antioxidants in the finished product. Another antioxidant claimed to be present in the fruit is quercetin, which may also be called “food coloring”. Quercetin is said to be able to prevent the oxidation of bad cholesterol in cells and prevent free radicals from damaging DNA and other important DNA components. It may also increase the longevity of cells and reduce the risk of cell mutation.
All of the above mentioned benefits are potentially true due to the presence of anthocyanins in the berries. However, the researchers found that the beneficial effects of the polyphenols and the nutrients themselves were only able to maintain normal blood pressure in people suffering from high blood pressure. Since the blood pressure is controlled by the autonomic nervous system, many of the antioxidants are considered important for maintaining normal nerve and cardiovascular function as well. Unfortunately, there is not enough evidence at this time to indicate that taking Aronia extract or extracts will actually lower blood pressure. Further research is needed to confirm these conclusions.