Aronia glossary

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Similar to OPCs, anthocyanins belong to the group of plant pigments (flavonoids). The term is comprised of the Greek anthos (= flower) and kyanos (= blue). They’re responsible for things like the dark purple colour of the aronia berry. Anthocyanins are natural antioxidants. They can bind to free radicals and neutralise them.

Antioxidants can neutralise free radicals by “voluntarily” giving up an electron without impairing the function and structure of body cells. There should be a balance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants are contained in fruit and vegetables as minerals and polyphenols. One of their best-known vitamin forms is vitamin C; the best-known mineral antioxidants are zinc and selenium; and anthocyanin and OPC are polyphenolic antioxidants.

Aronia pomace
Aronia pomace is created by drying aronia skin (with the adhering flesh of the fruit) and pips. This is then broken down and crushed to retain most of the valuable substances. As a result, aronia pomace contains the highest amount of antioxidant plant pigments (anthocyanins and OPCs). This pomace powder is used in various types of products.

Bare root
This refers to aronia plants that are delivered without a pot. They’re also supplied without leaves – sellers only deliver bare-root plants in late autumn and spring.

Bitter substances
Bitter substances aid the entire digestion process and affect all other bodily functions. Their bitter taste stimulates the stomach, liver, gall bladder and pancreas. This leads to the production of vital digestive juices and enzymes. Bile, insulin and gastric juices are also produced. These substances are important for the absorption and utilisation of nutrients in the body. Bitter substances also boost the detoxification function of the liver, so that harmful substances can be excreted. When bitter substances are absorbed, basic compounds also enter the body and help to lower acidity levels. Bitter substances aid the circulation of blood to the organs and improve their function. They have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system and keep the blood vessels flexible. They also regulate blood pressure.

Degrees Brix
Degrees Brix (°Brix, Brix or %Brix) is used to measure the relative density of a liquid. It’s mainly used in the fruit industry for the production of fruit juice, drinks and other sugary products. In English-speaking countries, it’s also used to determine the must weight for the production of wine. As these products mainly consist of water and various sugars (especially glucose, fructose and sucrose), the approximate sugar content is indicated alongside the density.

Flavonoids are a group of secondary plant substances, including a large amount of flower pigments. There are about 8,000 compounds in nature. Flavonoids can be found in all plants, and so they also form part of our diet. They’re particularly credited for their antioxidant properties. Numerous plants containing flavonoids are used for medicinal purposes.

Free radicals
An increasing number of environmental factors are causing the increased development of free radicals. These include nicotine, UV radiation, medication, electronic smog, stress, inflammation and frequent meat consumption. We also consume many harmful substances through our diet (pesticides, fertilisers, additives…). Changes in our eating habits have led to a reduced intake of antioxidants. The average diet includes fewer regional fruit and vegetables with more meat and flour products. Exhausted, nutrient-poor soil is being used to grow monoculture crops, causing a decline in the amount of nutrients contained in fruit and vegetables. This problem is compounded by early harvests and long transport routes.

Hydrogen cyanide
The seeds of freshly picked aronia berries contain bonded hydrogen cyanide, also known as “amygdalin”. This bonded hydrogen cyanide is released when the seeds are chewed. Fresh berries have an average amygdalin content of around 200 mg per kilo – a very small amount. The recommended daily intake of dried aronia berries is 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 g). You’d have to eat several kilos of fresh aronia berries and chew all of the seeds to notice a harmful effect.

Jelly test
Put a small amount of hot fruit juice on a plate. If the juice solidifies within a few seconds, the jelly is ready and can be immediately put in prepared jars with a screw cap. Once the jar has been closed tight, the aronia-apple jelly can be kept for around one year.

Minerals are chemical compounds found in all organs, bodily fluids and tissue. The body must be supplied with a sufficient amount of minerals. Minerals can be divided into bulk elements (sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, sulphur and chlorine) and trace elements (iron, iodine, fluorine, zinc, manganese, selenium, silicon, copper, molybdenum, chromium, nickel, cobalt and vanadium). The required daily intake of bulk elements is much higher than trace elements.

“OPC” stands for “oligomeric proanthocyanidins”. This is a group of colourless bitter substances that are also contained in the aronia berry. OPCs are some of the most effective antioxidants, as they can be up to 10 times more active than other polyphenols.

ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) indicates the antioxidant capacity of different foods. ORAC values can be measured in a laboratory. The highest ORAC values can be found in cocoa beans, followed by aronia berries.

Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress is understood to mean constant attacks to the body by free radicals that cause minimal yet permanent destruction. Degenerative diseases like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatism, arthrosis and arteriosclerosis are often triggered by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can also cause mutations (and therefore cancer) in the body.

Pectins are polysaccharides found in plants. They’re processed by humans as fibre. Pectins are particularly good for the stomach and intestines. They give foods their gelling capacity, e.g. when making jam.

Polymeric procyanidins
Polymeric procyanidins are OPCs.

A plant belongs to the Rosaceae family if its flowers have five sepals and five petals, as well as numerous stamens (usually five). This plant family includes many types of fruit like cherries, apples and pears.

Secondary plant substances
Plants use their secondary substances for reproduction and self-defence. Secondary plant substances include pigments, fragrances, flavours and toxins used to scare off pests and attract insects. The aronia mainly contains polyphenols in the form of anthocyanins and procyanidins.