Aronia berries, also known as chokeberries, are small, dark berries that have gained popularity among health-conscious consumers.
They are known to be one of the richest sources of plant antioxidants, which are believed to have numerous health benefits.
This blog post provides a comprehensive review of Aronia berries, including their nutritional value, advantages, and potential drawbacks.
What are Aronia berries?
Aronia berries, or chokeberries, are small, dark fruits that grow on shrubs belonging to the Rosaceae family.
These berries are commonly used to make juices, purées, jams, jellies, syrups, teas, and wines due to their strong drying effect on the mouth.
However, they can also be found fresh, frozen, dried, or in powdered form.
Nutritional value of Aronia berries
Aronia berries are low in calories but offer a wide range of nutrients. They are high in fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.
These berries also provide vitamin K, folate, iron, and vitamins A and E.
Additionally, Aronia berries are rich in antioxidants, which help protect your cells against harmful molecules called free radicals. They are particularly abundant in anthocyanins, which give the berries their dark blue to black color.
Potential health benefits of Aronia berries
The consumption of Aronia berries may offer several health benefits thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Rich in powerful antioxidants
Aronia berries are high in antioxidants, which play an important role in protecting your cells from free radical damage. The accumulation of free radicals can lead to oxidative stress, potentially contributing to chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
A study conducted on 30 healthy individuals found that Aronia berry extract significantly reduced oxidative stress caused by an antipsychotic medication within 24 hours.
Potential anticancer effects
Both test-tube and animal studies have shown that the anthocyanins in Aronia berries may inhibit the growth of colon cancer cells.
An older test-tube study revealed that a 50-mg extract of Aronia berries reduced colon cancer cell growth by 60% within 24 hours. This cancer-fighting effect is believed to be attributed to the potent antioxidant activity of anthocyanins.
Likewise, berry extracts have shown promise for reducing the oxidative stress associated with breast cancer.
Another study found these extracts to be beneficial in assisting chemotherapy drugs in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
However, it is important to note that current research is limited, and human studies are needed to further explore the connection between aronia berries and cancer prevention.
Potential benefits for gut health
Recent research has indicated that the polyphenols present in Aronia berries stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria, promoting better digestion and intestinal health. Additionally, this effect has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and reduce inflammation in the intestinal lining.
Potential benefits for heart health
Due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, Aronia berries may contribute to improved heart health.
They could be particularly advantageous for individuals with metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes and involve high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
A study demonstrated that Aronia supplementation reduced inflammation in epithelial tissues and enhanced vascular function in healthy subjects.
Another study revealed that daily supplementation with Aronia berry for 6 to 8 weeks significantly reduced blood cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. The effects were even more noticeable in subjects over the age of 50.
More human research is needed to establish the precise role Aronia berries may play in promoting heart health.
Potential immune support
Aronia berries have been found to strengthen and support the immune system.
In a test-tube study, Aronia berry extracts displayed strong antibacterial activity against potentially harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus.
Furthermore, a three-month study conducted on residents of six nursing homes revealed that daily consumption of Aronia berry juice led to a 38% and 55% reduction in urinary tract infections, respectively.
Aronia berries may also help reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory substances, thus potentially boosting immune health.
Moreover, these berries have shown potential antiviral effects. One study involving young football players found that daily supplementation with Aronia berry extract resulted in significant improvements in iron metabolism, blood antioxidation, and athletic performance.
Studies indicate that Aronia berries are safe to consume and do not have any serious adverse effects.