inflammation

Aronia Berry – The Exotic Fruit Right At Home

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Chances are you’ve seen headlines about various exotic super berries with astounding health benefits, such as the acai from the Amazon… the maquiaroniaberry from Patagonia and the goji berry from China.  These berries from around the world have all made headlines in recent years for their remarkable healing properties.

Little do most people know, however, that there is a far lesser known North American berry about to stake it’s claim as a truly remarkable super berry: Aronia.

Off the Charts Antioxidant Power!

Aronia berries are rich in anthocyanins, the substance that gives this fruit its deep shade of purple.  Anthocyanins have been shown to reduce systemic inflammation and levels of C-reactive protein, a byproduct of inflammation.  If left unchecked, inflammation is the spark to many chronic and life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Aronia berries are also high in plant-based super-antioxidants called proanthocyanidins that help boost circulation by strengthening capillary walls and act as an overall tonic for the cardiovascular system.

Proanthocyanins also suppress enzyme breakdown of collagen and alleviate allergies.

Full-Body Health Benefits

The aronia berry also possesses extreme anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-diabetic properties… This fights arterial plague formation… reduces serum cholesterol, shields the liver and kidneys from toxins, lowers blood sugar and balances insulin production.  Enriched with flavonoids, the aronia berry also protects against peptic ulcers, eye inflammation and urinary infection.

Cancer Protection

The aronia berry has shown exciting promise as an anti-cancer agent.  Research suggests aronia berries may help defend against tumor formation in the bladder, breasts, colon, lungs, ovaries, and skin. Preliminary studies indicate that the berry may even slow the progression of glioblastona, a lethal form of brain cancer.

New Berry on the Block!
Aronia has been commercially cultivated in Russia since the 1940s and in aroniaEurope since the 1950s.  But it wasn’t until 2009 that the Midwest Aronia Association formed in Iowa in order to provide information and other resources to those interested in growing this super-healthy berry.  Now, the Association has members in California, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada.  This means that if you don’t already have aronia products available on your local store shelves, you should soon (and in the meantime, you can also look online for internet retailers).

When it comes to choosing a quality product, you’ll be glad to know that aronia berries are naturally pest-resistance and need no agricultural toxins.  That said, you should still look for bushels stamped with the USDA organic certification label to make sure you’re benefitting from 100% pure antioxidant advantage.

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Nuts Will Keep you Healthier for Longer

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If scientists found a way to lower your risk of death from all causes by 20%, that discovery would be immediately broadcast on every major network, newspaper, and online information hub, right?  Wrong.

NUTS-12

In 2013, researchers form the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard School of Public Health revealed that people who made one simple nutritional choice daily dramatically decreased their risk of death.  Their findings, published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), showed that by a handful of nuts daily, individuals became 20% less likely to die from any cause over a 30-year period.

In a Nutshell: An Ounce a Day Keeps Death Away 

The researchers analyzed data collected from almost 120,000 people over three decades.  The information for the analysis came from the Nurses’ Health Study (conducted with 76,464 women between 1980 and 2010) and the Health Professionals’ follow-up study (which included 42,498 men from 1986 to 2010).

Participants in both studies filled out detailed food questionnaires every two to four years.  Both questionnaires specifically asked participants to estimate how often they consumed a serving (one ounce) of nuts.

When analyzing the questionnaires, the researchers used sophisticated statistical tools to subtract the effect of other factors that could have beneficially impacted risk of death.  They discoveredNuts that a number of factors were linked to high nut intake, including body fat percentage, fruits and vegetable consumption, physical activity level, and avoidance of tobacco and alcohol.

But the researchers were able to neutralize the impact of these linked factors.  “In all these analyses,” explained first author Dr. Ying Bao, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, ”the more nuts people ate, the less likely they were to die over the 30-year follow-up period.”

While Bao and the others acknowledged it would be impossible to account for every single difference between those who regularly ate nuts and those who did not, they said it was “unlikely” any of those differences affected the results.

Why Health “Nuts” Live Longer 

The results linked nut consumption to a total reduction in death rate across a multitude of frequently fatal chronic conditions, such as…

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

Dr. Charles Fuchs, lead author, noted, “The most obvious benefit was a reduction of 29% in deaths from heart disease, the major killer of people in America.”  Fuchs and his fellow scientists believe the decline in death rates came from a combination of health benefits.

Nuts appear to promote reductions to key factors linked to the development of chronic diseases, like…

  • Oxidative stress
  • Adiposity (stored fat)
  • Insulin resistance
  • Inflammation

That last effect, reduction of inflammation, is likely responsible for nuts’ connection to an 11% decrease in your risk of dying from cancer.