Aronia berries (Aronia melanocarpa) are small, dark berries that have become popular among health-conscious consumers.
They’re considered one of the richest sources of plant antioxidants, which are said to offer many health-promoting properties.
This article reviews all you need to know about aronia berries, including their nutrition, benefits, and downsides.
Aronia berries, or chokeberries, are small, dark fruits that grow on shrubs of the Rosaceae family (1).
They’re native to North America but grown in other parts of the world, including across Europe (2).
Traditionally, they were used as a cold remedy by Native Americans (1).
However, they’re also available fresh, frozen, dried, and in powder form.
Summary Aronia berries are small fruits that leave a dry feeling in your mouth. They’re added to many foods and beverages but also available as a supplement.
Aronia berries are low in calories but pack a nutritional punch, as they’re high in fiber, vitamin C, and manganese.
Just 1 ounce (28 grams) of aronia berries provides the following nutrients (4):
The berries also supply folate, iron, and vitamins A and E.
Plus, they’re an excellent source of beneficial antioxidants.
These compounds help protect your cells from potentially harmful molecules called free radicals. The fruits are particularly high in anthocyanins, which give the berries their dark blue to black color (5).
Summary Aronia berries are nutrient dense with minimal calories. They’re a great source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants.
This may protect your cells from damage and benefit your health in many ways.
These compounds defend your cells from damage caused by free radicals. A buildup of free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer (3).
What’s more, a study in 30 healthy people found that extracts from aronia berries significantly reduced oxidative stress caused by an antipsychotic medication within 24 hours (12).
Moreover, test-tube studies have linked the antioxidants in these fruits to other impressive health benefits, such as decreased inflammation, as well as reduced bacterial and cancer cell growth (13, 14, 15).
Aronia berries may protect against cancer (16).
One test-tube study found that 50 mg of aronia extract reduced colon cancer cell growth by 60% after 24 hours. It’s thought that the potent antioxidant activity of anthocyanins is responsible for this cancer-suppressing effect (15).
Similarly, extracts from the berries may reduce oxidative stress related to breast cancer.
That said, current research is limited, and human studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between aronia berries and cancer protection.
In particular, they may help people with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions — including high cholesterol and triglyceride levels — that increases your likelihood of heart disease and diabetes (22, 23).
One 2-month study in 38 people with metabolic syndrome observed that supplementing with 300 mg of aronia extract daily significantly decreased triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol (22).
A similar 2-month study in 25 people with metabolic syndrome found that taking 300 mg of aronia extract daily significantly reduced the same health markers, as well as blood pressure (23).
More human research is needed to identify the role that aronia berries may play in heart health.
Aronia berries may strengthen and support your immune system (13).
A test-tube study noted that aronia berry extracts exhibited strong antibacterial activity against the potentially harmful bacteria Escherichia coli and Bacillus Cereus. It exerted this effect by reducing the bacteria’s production of a protective shield called biofilm (14).
In addition, a 3-month study in residents of 6 nursing homes found that those who drank either 5.3 or 3 ounces (156 or 89 ml) of aronia berry juice daily experienced 55% and 38% reductions in urinary tract infections, respectively (24).
Aronia berries may also reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory substances, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-ɑ) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), which may boost immune health (13, 25).
Finally, the berries may have antiviral effects.
One mouse study determined that the ellagic acid and myricetin in aronia berry extract may protect against the influenza virus (26).
Summary Aronia berries provide antioxidants. These compounds may have cancer-fighting properties and support your heart and immune health.
However, long-term research is needed to verify this.
Instead, you could add them to foods and drinks, such as yogurt, smoothies, and juices.
Summary Aronia berries are safe to eat with no serious side effects. The only downside is their astringent, mouth-drying effect.
Though you may not find aronia berries in your local grocery store, they’re widely available in health food stores and online.
Here are some ways to add aronia berries to your diet:
The berries can also be taken as a supplement in powdered or capsule form, with serving and dosing recommendations varying by brand.
A typical serving suggestion is to add one teaspoon of aronia berry powder to a juice, yogurt, or smoothie.
The capsules can be made from freeze-dried berries or extract. Therefore, serving recommendations vary considerably.
However, as supplements are not regulated, it’s difficult to identify a therapeutic and safe recommended dose.
If you’re interested in trying aronia berry supplements, speak with your healthcare provider before purchasing a product.
Summary Aronia berries can easily be added to many foods and drinks. They can also be purchased as a powder or capsule supplement.
Aronia berries, or chokeberries, grow on shrubs of the Rosaceae family.
They’re rich in fiber, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants that may have heart-healthy, immune-boosting, and anticancer properties.
You can add fresh aronia berries to many recipes, try them in juices, jams, and syrups, or use them as a supplement.
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