September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to try a super food that can help fight against cholesterol. Aronia berries, also known as chokeberries, are super fruits grown closer to home, here in the Midwest, and contain many beneficial health properties. These dark purple berries have many valuable nutrients that make them a powerful super food.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants are the body's protector; they work hard to prevent damage to cells, which can be linked to premature aging and various diseases. Aronia berries are considered to have some of the highest concentration of antioxidants. They have three times as many antioxidants as blueberries!
Good for the heart: The rich antioxidant content of aronia berries may help to support heart health. Aronias have a natural blend of antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which have been shown to help fight diseases which are caused by oxidative stress. Anthocyanins give these berries their beautiful, deep purple color.
Katie Wilhelmi RD, LD
Natural pain and inflammation relief: Not only are anthocyanins good for the heart, but they also act as anti-inflammatories. Fruits that have a high concentration of anthocyanins should be considered in an individual's diet to possibly help ease pain associated with arthritis.
Eye health: This delectable fruit may also benefit eye health. Consuming aronia berries may help with eye inflammation and the possible formation of cataracts.
Aronia Berries come in a variety of forms: raw, dried and juice. They are pretty bitter when eaten alone, so I recommend adding them to other foods to introduce them into your diet. A few options include adding the juice to a smoothie or adding the dried berries when making sweet breads or to cereal. Celebrate National Cholesterol Month by adding the aronia berry into your diet to receive all the health benefits it has to offer!
Almond Aronia Granola
Recipe Adapted from www.hy-vee.com
Serves 16 (1/2 cup each)
All you need:
5 c. uncooked Hy-Vee old-fashioned oats
1 c. steel-cut oats
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. coconut
1 (5 oz) pkg dried aronia berries
c. canola oil
All you do:
1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together oatmeal, steel-cut oats, almonds, coconut and apricots. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, stir together almond oil, honey and cinnamon; add to oat mixture and stir well.
3. Place granola in a greased pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, stirring granola every 10 minutes.
4. Cool and store in airtight container.
5. Serve granola with low-fat yogurt, fresh fruit or skim milk.
Nutrition information per serving: 320 calories, 44g Carb, 7g Protein, 5g Fiber, 14g Fat, 3g Sat. Fat
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Katie Wilhelmi is a Registered Dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.