Aronia Berry (Chokeberry): Health Benefits and MoreFayyaz Alam
Aronia Berry Nutrition Facts
Do you need a high-nutrient and low-calorie food?
You guessed right, Aronia berries are an excellent choice.
Aronia berry benefits are great, and these berries contain a high amount of fiber, antioxidants, and manganese.
Based on a 2,000 calories per day diet, 100g of Aronia berries gives the following nutrients:
- Protein: 5.6 grams
- Carbs: 41.4 grams
- Fat: 0.0 grams
- Fiber: 5.3 grams
- Vitamin C: 35% of the Daily value
- Folate: 6% of the Daily value
- Manganese: 32% of the Daily value
- Calories: 47
The Aronia berry plant also serves as an excellent antioxidant source that protects your cells from damaging molecules called free radicals. These berries also contain potassium, sodium, zinc, and other essential minerals.
What is Aronia Berry?
The Aronia berry plant is also known as ‘ditch weed’ or ‘chokeberry.’ Aronia berries plant (Aronia melanocarpa) are small, dark berries that serve as one of the best sources of antioxidants, and it is gaining ground among health-aware individuals.
The Aronia berry plant has two varieties: the red and black varieties. Aronia berries survive extreme weather conditions without needing lots of water to thrive.
In this article, you will learn all about Aronia berry benefits, nutrition, brief history, uses, and side effects.
Brief History of Aronia Berries
Interestingly, as its name suggests, the Aronia berry plant does not belong to the berry family. Aronia berry grows on shrubs of the Rosaceae family that includes fruits like apples, pears, quinces, almonds, apricots, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, etc.
Aronia berries are native to eastern North America. Its many benefits caused it to cross the Atlantic, and people are becoming aware of what Aronia berry is good for.
There are claims that this berry is a superfood that provides a solution to many health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer. It is safe to say that the Aronia berry plant crossed the Atlantic to Europe based on its popularity among Native Americans at the time. Native American tribes used the plant to cure several ailments while the berry juice was used for dye, ointments, and an excellent source of nutrition.
With industrialization and the shift in cultural paradigms, the Aronia berry became less popular in the USA, but remarkably, it grew more popular in the Eastern European countries. Today, one of these countries, Poland, grows at least 80% of the Aronia berries produced globally. Not to be left out of the party, several academic institutions in the United States have started to invest significant resources in unraveling the countless benefits that our homegrown but previously neglected super berries have to offer.
So, why do health enthusiasts find it difficult to stop talking about Aronia berries? You are about to find out.
Aronia Berry Benefits
- Aronia berries contain a high amount of antioxidants
The Aronia berry is a disease-annihilating powerhouse that contains the highest amounts of anthocyanins, antioxidants, and polyphenols which protect our cells from free radicals. Free radicals cause serious health issues like oxidative stress, aging, cancer, and heart disease. Free radicals affect the brain and cognitive pathways. However, the anthocyanins found in Aronia berries have been directly linked to increasing neural pathway activity and reducing oxidative stress in the brain by combating free radicals. Ultimately, they reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related cognitive disorders.
Another study that focused on the black Aronia berry concentrate revealed that it was immensely significant for the treatment of diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Aronia berries help the heart
Aronia berries are useful for preventing ischemic heart disease. This disease occurs when the heart is not getting enough oxygen. Getting enough oxygen is vital for you to survive, and athletes even require this more. If you do not get Aronia berries often, having a handy alternative like the Aronia Magic 6x liquid Extract will do the job. The potassium content in Aronia berries is high enough to have a significant effect on heart health, mainly because potassium can relieve the strain on the cardiovascular system by making blood vessels and arteries relax. When this happens, blood flow increases, blood pressure drops, and there is a reduction in the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The dietary fiber and various antioxidants contained in the Aronia berry plant lower cholesterol levels and offer protection against coronary heart disease by preventing plaque buildup in the arteries.
- Aronia berries may mitigate cancer
Aronia berries help to reduce cell damage and provide protective benefits to breast cancer patients.
A study on breast cancer patients reveals that Aronia berry extracts had the effects of reducing oxidative stress markers and regulating the generation of superoxide anion radicals. According to a pubmed scientific publication, even Aronia berry extracts have benefits that were observed to reduce the size of colon tumors. What’s more, Aronia berries have a greater anti-oxidative capacity compared to other berries. Breast cancer is common today, but simple health hacks like exercising and Aronia berries can help.
- Aronia berries regulate insulin
The dietary fiber in Aronia berries has also been linked to increased insulin sensitivity. This helps keep blood sugar levels normal and prevents the spikes and drops that can be so dangerous to those who have diabetes and diabetes-related conditions. Indeed, Aronia berry juice has been found to have beneficial hypoglycemic potential, and its excellent sugar-free taste makes it a valuable adjunct for patients with diabetes mellitus.
- Aronia berries inhibit infections
Aronia berries can also combat Escherichia coli, a bacteria which causes urinary tract infections. The daily intake of Aronia berries is great for the digestive system as it helps to prevent ulcers, diarrhea, and endocrinal problems while protecting the gastrointestinal tract.
- Aronia berries reduce fat
In a more recent 2018 study, Aronia berry was found to be effective for fat-loss and obesity. The evidence is even more profound since the mice were obese and were fed a poor fat-inducing diet. The Aronia berry extract not only suppressed key biomarkers of fat generation, but also promoted marked body weight changes. Therefore, Aronia berries can be an excellent addition to a fat-loss and weight-loss program.
Aronia Berry Uses
The Aronia berry is a rich source of vitamins A, C, and E as well as potassium and manganese (among others) besides being low in fat, sodium, and calories. Aronia berry plants have a plethora of uses because of its unique flavor and loads of health benefits. We were able to squeeze them into two broad categories.
- Culinary Uses
Aronia berry plants have been used as foods for as long as we know. It was a staple in the diet of Native American people before European settlers converted them into wine, jam, jelly, and snacks. In recent times, fresh frozen Aronia berry is used for baking cakes, muffins, pies, tarts, and raisins. They can also be dried and eaten as snacks, frozen and juiced in addition to being used in making smoothies. It is also an ingredient in different beverages like wine, tea, and coffee. The Aronia berry fruit or Aronia berry juice can be used to make barbeque, syrup, candy, and salsa barbeque sauce. Also, it is valuable for adding flavor and color to yogurt, lemonade, sorbet, ice cream, milk, among other products.
- Therapeutic Uses
Aronia berry plant provides solutions to many health issues. Aronia berry plant contains cyanidin-3-galactose, caffeic acid, epicatechin, and delphinidin. This combination of these compounds offers great anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic, and anti-viral benefits.
Some of the ailments which ancient Native Americans used it for were flu and colds. Aronia berries have extremely high antioxidant content. Hence, they help slow the aging process and reduce risks for cancer, inflammation, diabetes, bacterial infections, and neurological diseases in humans.
Aronia Berries also contain compounds that improve your heart health, manage high blood pressure, regulate cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, lower the risk of vision loss and cataracts, and reduce oxidative stress in the eyes.
Aronia Berry Recipes
There are lots of Aronia berry recipes, so the list below is not exhaustible.
Aronia Simple Syrup
- 1 part fresh or dried, black Aronia berries
- 1 part sugar, 2 parts water in a saucepan.
- Simmer over medium heat until the berries burst.
- Mash the berries with a potato masher.
- Simmer until the syrup is reduced by about half.
- Strain the syrup and allow to cool completely.
- Just add to your water or your favorite drink on the go.
Aronia Berry Smoothie
- Put some yogurt in a blender.
- Then add some Aronia berries or a liquid extract.
- Blend the mixture.
- Add sweetener of choice.
Side Effects of Aronia Berry
As acclaimed by old and recent studies, Aronia berries pose no severe side effects. However, we must know that despite the ton of benefits that Aronia berries provide, excessive consumption of anything is bad, including dietary fibers. The dietary fibers in Aronia berries serve as natural laxatives that improve bowel movement, among other functions. However, the excessive consumption of Aronia berries can be bad for your stomach and may lead to intestinal gas, abdominal pain, and intestinal blockage among others.
There is also the issue of excess antioxidants. While antioxidants are great for fighting free radicals in the body and preventing oxidative damage to our cells, they can be harmful when taken in excess.
Since humans have unique body compositions, we all react differently to the food or drugs we ingest. This means that while some people will reap from the benefits contained in the Aronia berry plant, others will have allergic reactions when they engage in excess consumption. The type and intensity of the allergies and the attendant side effects will depend on the individual.
Aronia berry supplements are great for managing hypertension and by extension, other cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and irregular heartbeat and so on. This is made possible by the presence of potassium, which relaxes the blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and serves to regulate blood pressure. However, when consumed without moderation, the blood level could get so low that it results in another medical condition known as to hypotension. Excessive consumption of Aronia berries could also interfere with blood pressure medication.
Aronia berry is great for diabetes patients because it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow pace while the fibers in the berries reduce the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream. This aids in regulating blood sugar levels. Too much Aronia berry can cause hypoglycemia or extremely low blood sugar due to excess fiber content besides interfering with diabetes medication.
Few plants are as healthy and beneficial as the Aronia berry plant. It is an attractive ornamental plant that is resistant to drought, insects, pollution, and disease. Regardless of its form: extract or fresh berry, it has always been and is still a source of nutrition and disease management.
Many ailments are improved by consuming Aronia berry in one form or the other. It is immensely popular across the world because of its unique combination of nutrition and health in candy-sized berries. As far as foods go, there are so many beverages, snacks, and meals that can be made from the Aronia berry plant. This is because Aronia berry taste is unique and blends seamlessly with your chosen recipe.