Long before Europeans set foot on American soil, the Native Americans were using the plants around them to treat and prevent illness. And one, in particular, was a favorite.
The fruits, leaves, and twigs of the plant were used to treat everything from cuts to fevers. And the nutrient-packed dried fruits were a staple food that helped folks make it through the long, harsh winters.
Today we call this plant chokeberry. But it’s not actually a berry at all. It’s technically a relative of the apple. And today many drug company execs are waking up wishing this bush apple didn’t exist.
Because it turns out extracts from the chokeberry, or aronia berry, could help send your heart disease risk plummeting by a healthy nine percent. Which could make the difference between you being a candidate for heart drugs or getting a clean bill of health at your next checkup.
In fact, these extracts work SO well researchers say they could slash your risk of dying from heart disease complications by eight percent.
Anthocyanins slash your risk for heart disease
The compounds are blue, purple, or red pigmented flavonoids called anthocyanins. And experts say the more you eat of them, the lower your chances of developing cardiovascular disease could be.
The new study, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, is the most in-depth look at the association between anthocyanins and heart disease ever attempted.
Researchers poured through data gathered from 19 different studies involving over 602,000 volunteers. They carefully compared anthocyanin intake with cases of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack as well as heart-linked deaths.
And the evidence was crystal clear. Eating more anthocyanin-rich foods… such as chokeberry… can lower your risk for heart-linked complications including elevated cholesterol and blood pressure.
In fact, the researchers say it may even drive down your risk for type 2 diabetes and death from ALL causes.
Finding anthocyanins-rich chokeberry
Now if you’re thinking you’ve never SEEN a chokeberry in your local produce section, I’m not surprised.
These berry-like fruits aren’t as well known and popular as the berries you’re probably more familiar with. And like apples, they’re in season closer to fall in late August and early September.
Your best bet is to try a natural food store such as Wholefoods and head to the frozen foods section.
But if you’re having trouble getting your hands on chokeberries don’t fret. It’s true; chokeberries ARE one of the most abundant sources of anthocyanins you can find. But there are plenty of other tasty foods to choose from.
Seek out red & purple foods for more anthocyanins
Following are some excellent sources of heart-friendly anthocyanins you can add to your menu…
- blue (purple) corn
- black raspberries
- tart cherries
- red delicious apples
- red cabbage
- red beets
- black plums
- red radish
- black beans
- red onions
Listen, the best way to survive heart disease is obviously to avoid it in the first place. And foods such as chokeberry can help you do that by reducing your risk.
But if you’re already experiencing some heart-related issues, eating more foods rich in anthocyanins can dial down your risk for further… potentially deadly… complications.