Aronia and health

For millennia people have consumed berries without any limits and considered them as healthy food.

Atherosclerosis and heart diseases

Anthocyanins and other polyphenols from aronia may be potentially used to combat oxidative stress in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Antioxidants can be useful in the protection of endothelial function, produce relaxant effect and improve platelet aggregation. Aronia may also serve as an adjunct to cardiovascular therapy. Significant lowering of blood pressure by an average of 7-11 mmHg was observed in patients treated with statins and aronia extract. The effect is related to a significant reduction of oxidative stress. The use of moderate doses of statins in combination with natural antioxidants could represent an alternative therapeutic approach.

Anticancer

The anthocyanin-rich extracts from grape, bilberry, and aronia were investigated for their potential chemopreventive activity in rats treated with a carcinogen. All extracts inhibited the growth of cancer cells, with the aronia extract being the most potent inhibitor. Anthocyanins may influence genotoxic activity and act as antimutagens. Genotoxic effects of mutagenic and carcinogenic factors  can be reduced by the regular intake of some antimutagens and the best choice appear to be food products consumed daily.

Neuroprotective activity

Antioxidant-rich extracts appeared to be effective in reversing certain age-related deficits in the neuronal and behavioral parameters, and the plant extracts rich in anthocyanins were the most effective. The rats demonstrated improved learning and short-term memory skills, and performed like young rats. The suggestion has been stated that the anthocyanins may slow the rate at which the brains age.

Eye health

A diet rich in bilberry was recommended for pilots or professional drivers. At present, more and more people work watching monitors or spend several hours at a computer desk. A significant part of modern society is interested in maintaining visual acuity and may benefit from berry polyphenols intake. Treatment of the rats with anthocyanosides (of Vaccinium myrtillis) diminishes the permeability of blood vessels after collagenase injection and accelerate the recovery of normal permeability. This effect seems to be related to a less effective enzymatic attack on collagen.

Aronia fruits for diabetics

The consumption of a diet low in fat and rich in antioxidants reduces the risk of obesity and insulin resistance. Antioxidants protect pancreatic beta-cells from glucose-induced oxidative stress. Moreover, they have the ability to reduce diabetes; some reports indicate that anthocyanins stimulate insulin secretion. Chlorogenic acid (present in aronia fruits) slows carbohydrate absorption by inhibiting intestinal glucose transport. Regular intakes of chlorogenic acid may tend to prevent or delay onset of diabetes.

Aronia for digestive tract

According to folk medicine, both diarrhea and constipation can be relieved with berries: bilberries, blueberries and aronia. Modern studies confirm that their tannin concentration helps reduce inflammation in the digestive tract.

Antiinflammatory activity

Anthocyanins from aronia fruits were investigated for antiinflammatory activity. The cyclooxygenase COX-1 and COX-2 inhibitory activities of some anthocyanins were comparable to those of popular drugs – ibuprofen and naproxen. The results suggest that the consumption of anthocyanin-rich fruits should be included in a regular diet for patients suffering from arthritis- and gut-related pain.

Aronia berries may help by infertility problems

Anthocyanins from the berries were given to male subjects with low sperm counts to determine the influence of anthocyanins. Improvement of semen quality was found in the supplemented group.

Aronia berries for sportsmen

Physical activity is known to induce oxidative stress in individuals after intensive exercise. The effect of the polyphenols on various oxidative stress biomarkers was investigated in a drink designed for sportsmen (cyclists). The aim of the study in rowers, performing a physical exercise during a 1-month training camp, was to investigate the influence of an increased intake of anthocyanins, contained in aronia juice, on the redox parameters. Both trials found a reduction in oxidative markers after administration of Aronia berry juice to athletes.

Aronia for airline passengers

 The barrier to flying and arriving well islow humidity and lower oxygen contentin the cabin as well as limited space for a sitter.Swollen legs and blood circulation problems challenge the attempts to stay healthy while flying. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is known as “economy class syndrome” since the cause is primarily immobility. It occurs when blood clots form in the legs and move on to block the blood vessels. Especially at risk are people overweight, elderly, smokers, women on estrogen pills and pregnant. Natural blood thinning agents, safer than aspirin are plant extracts. Polyphenols of aronia reduce platelet adhesion and aggregation, improve blood flow and microcirculation. Drinking aronia juice helps to combat DVT. Important: stress or fear of flying constricts veins and increases blood clotting factors. So, relax and drink a glass of aronia juice rich in antioxidant and anti-clotting compounds.

 

Jet lag depends on the number of time zones crossed. The best way to avoid disturbed sleep and dizziness is to eat lightly and drink lots of water. Dehydration inhibits body clock resetting. Hundreds of people in the aircraft cabin – it is the environment which allowsairborne bacteria and viruses to spread. Dehydration lowers health barriers to in-flight bugs. Human pathogenic microbes are sensitive on berry phenolics. The best way to provide protection is boosting immunity and generous intake of berry fruit juice, such as aronia or cranberry juice. How to reduce the negative effects of flying? Drinking aronia juice can be recommended – to load the body with water as well as with anti-clotting and antimicrobial compounds.

  Aronia for airline pilots

 Cosmic radiation. Airline crews are exposed to elevated levels of cosmic radiation. This radiation should concern not only airline pilots but everyone who frequently steps on a plane. Earth and its inhabitants are constantly bombarded by radiation that originates in the sun and the galaxies. At sea level the amount of cosmic radiation is equivalent to 0.3-0.6 mSv (milisieverts) per year. Persons living at higher altitude can obtain several times more. Each human is exposed, on average, to 2.4 mSv/year of ionizing radiation from natural sources. The airline crews flying 600 hours per year at 10-11 km receive 3-6 mSv/year, depending on flight altitude, geographic latitude, and solar activity.

Cosmic radiation can cause changes to human tissue by ionizing the molecules and producing free radicals in the cells. These radicals create “oxidative stress”, toxic for the survival of cells. Reactions of radicals with DNA, proteins and lipids, and especially the accumulation of their products is the first step in the development of pathology and increase cancer risk. How to protect the airline crew? There are no practical ways to shield humans from cosmic radiation during a flight. However, the human body has defense mechanisms against damages induced by radiation. The physiological defense systems encompass endogenous enzymes and dietary factors, like vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols. An adequate intake of antioxidant-rich food is essential to prevent free radical-related disorders as well as an efficient function of the immune system.

The biomarker of cumulative DNA damage (translocation frequency) in airline pilots increased significantly with an increase in the duration of their flight experience in years. Protection effects were associated with the intakes of vitamin C and carotenoids from food. However, it is a combination of various antioxidants found in food that may provide the most protection against DNA damage. Anthocyanins of aronia have antimutagenic properties. Compounds present in aronia extract are able to counteract oxidative stress in cells after gamma-irradiation and inhibited the growth of cancer cells.

 

Anthocyanins for vision. Prevention of ocular disease was always of special interest for pilots. During WorldWar II, Royal Air Force pilots consumed bilberry jam to improve the night vision. Now, the benefits of bilberries or blueberries are familiar to consumers. How anthocyanins and other polyphenols may improve human vision? Recent research suggests that these compounds may function in visual signal transduction, regenerate the rhodopsin and prevent oxidative stress in ocular tissues. Antioxidants may delay progression of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and vision loss. Aronia berries are recommended for all those with lifestyle factors predisposing onset of ocular diseases, such as high levels of sunlight exposure or long time spent at computer’s monitor.  

 

Benefits for pilot’s heart and brain. Aronia berries, the juice or aronia extract should be included in the diet to inhibit atherosclerosis and thus to prevent heart attack and stroke. Polyphenols of aronia produce relaxant effect on aortic vessels and reduce blood pressure. Aronia provide greater cardio-protective antioxidant capability than red grapes. Regular drinking of aronia juice had beneficial effect on lipid metabolism in men with mild hypercholesterolemia. After 6 weeks of regular drinking of aronia juice, significant decreases in serum total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels were observed. Antioxidants, like those found in aronia can play an important role in the prevention of the brain dysfunction (senile dementia). An overwhelming body of research has now firmly established that the dietary intake of aronia fruits has a positive and profound impact on human health and performance. Not much is better than a glass of aronia juice or a cup of candied aronia berries.