Aronia Berries: North America’s Greatest Source of Antioxidants

By March 8, 2013Fruits

ChokeberriesAronia berries, also called chokeberries, are dark purple-colored fruits that are native to eastern North America. They grow on green-leaved deciduous shrubs that are commonly found in swamps and wet woods. Although aronia berries are not well-known, even in their native continent, their reputation has increased of late due to some well-publicized campaigns declaring them to be the “world’s healthiest fruit.”

List of Health Benefits

Unsurpassed antioxidant activity – The aronia berry’s biggest draw is its unusually high concentration of antioxidants, which surpasses that of any other superfruit. According to the USDA, the raw aronia berry contains an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of 15,280 umol TE/100 grams, making its antioxidant concentration three times greater than that of the blueberry, acai berry, and blackberry, and 1.5 times greater than that of the blackcurrant and cranberry. In fact, the reason why aronia berries are nicknamed “chokeberries” is because their intensive antioxidant concentration makes them too sharp in taste to eat raw. Fortunately, the fruits retain most of their antioxidant activity even after they’ve been sweetened and made into spreads and jams, which is the most popular way to consume them. Some of the antioxidants found in aronia berries include delphinidin, petunidin, epicatechin, quercetin, pelargonidin, malvidin, and peonidin, which all have the ability to fight cell-destroying free radicals in the body, thereby protecting us from degenerative diseases whilst providing us with anti-aging benefits.

Rich in quinic acid – Quinic acid is a sugar compound found in many plants, including the fruits of the aronia shrub. Indeed, aronia berries are so high in quinic acid that some researchers regard aronia juice to be even more effective at treating urinary tract infections (a condition that quinic acid is well-known for treating) than cranberry juice, which is regarded as the “king” of UTI cures.

Good source of iron – 100 grams of dried aronia berries contain 93 percent of our recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron, an important trace mineral that regulates metabolism, boosts our immune system, increases our energy levels, and maintains brain and endocrine function. Iron deficiencies are common in the West, so eating more iron-rich foods like aronia berry products is always a good idea.

High in vitamin C – 100 grams of dried aronia berries also contain 34 percent of our RDI of vitamin C, an important water-soluble antioxidant that synthesizes collagen (i.e. it helps keep the body’s tissues together) and boosts our white blood cell count, thereby protecting us from disease. Vitamin C is, of course, also an antioxidant.

Natural laxative – All fruits are high in dietary fiber, and aronia berries are not an exception. For this reason, aronia berry spreads and jams are excellent at treating constipation. Fiber also makes us feel full because it absorbs water from the colon; this fact, coupled with the berries’ low fat and calorie content, means they’re also a good weight loss food.