8 Reasons to try aronia berries, a superfood that’s good for your heart health By Zoey Sky for SuperFoods
Aronia berries are an incredible superfood full of beneficial antioxidants. According to studies, the berries also offer many health benefits, such as boosting your heart health and lowering your cancer risk.
Antioxidants and aronia berries
Aronia berries (Aronia melanocarpa), also known as chokeberries, are small, dark berries. The berries are considered one of the richest sources of plant antioxidants, which experts believe are responsible for the many health benefits associated with the superfruit.
Did you know that aronia berries can dry out your mouth? Native Americans often used aronia berries as a home remedy for colds.
The berries are often used to make jams, jellies, juices, purees, syrups, teas and wines. You can buy aronia berries fresh, frozen, dried or in powdered form.
8 Health benefits of aronia berries
Chokeberries sound rather dangerous but the berries were given this unusual name because eating them can dry out your mouth.
Here are eight reasons to incorporate aronia berries into your regular diet:
Aronia berries are nutritious
Aronia berries are fat-free, low-calorie and rich in dietary fiber.
A one-ounce (28-gram) serving of aronia berries provides the following nutrients:
- 13 Calories
- 12 Grams of carbs
- Two grams of fiber
- Two grams of protein
- Vitamin C (10 percent of the Daily Value (DV))
- Manganese (Nine percent of the DV)
- Vitamin K (Five percent of the DV
The berries also contain folate, iron and vitamins A and E. The antioxidants in aronia berries are essential for your overall health because they can help protect your cells from free radical damage.
Aronia berries are full of antioxidants
Data suggests that the health benefits of the berries are linked to their antioxidant content. Compared to other berries, aronia berries contain more antioxidants such as polyphenols that inhibit harmful free radicals in your bloodstream.
According to one study involving 30 volunteers, taking aronia berry extract helped reduce oxidative stress caused by taking antipsychotic medication.
Aronia berries can help improve your heart health
The antioxidant effects of chokeberries can boost your heart health by addressing conditions like high cholesterol and triglycerides, which both fall under the umbrella of metabolic syndrome. (Related: Study: Consuming aronia berries boosts heart health and improves cholesterol levels.)
Data from two studies on the heart health effects of the berries used chokeberry extract. Study findings also showed that there were no recorded side effects in those using the extracts.
However, since supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should consult a trusted healthcare provider to help determine the right amount for you.
In the second small study on 25 volunteers, scientists reported that taking 300 mg of the extract helped reduce blood pressure.
Aronia berries may help lower your risk of cancer
Studies suggest that antioxidant-rich aronia berries can help fight certain cancers, especially breast cancer and colon cancer.
According to test tube and animal studies, the anthocyanins present in the berries can help stop colon cancer cells from growing. The compounds reduced cell growth by at least 60 percent in one study.
Data has also shown that women with breast cancer who take the berry extract had reduced free radicals in their blood. This means taking the extract may help reduce oxidative stress on the body.
Aronia berries can help boost organ health
According to an animal study, aronia juice helped relieve the symptoms and severity of liver damage in rat subjects.
In another study, researchers discovered that aronia berry juice can also help prevent liver damage from occurring in the first place.
Results from an animal study revealed that the juice helped minimize the severity of damage in the stomach lining of rat subjects. Further studies can help determine if aronia berries offer the same benefits when used on humans.
Aronia berries can help strengthen your immune system
The antioxidant levels in chokeberries may support and boost your immune system. According to data, extract from the berries helps reduce harmful bacteria activity by “decreasing its production of a protective biofilm.”
Findings from human studies have also revealed that consuming aronia berries will help reduce urinary tract infections (UTIs) in nursing home patients. Researchers reported that the more juice the patients drank, the larger the reduction.
Additionally, chokeberries can help inhibit the body’s release of inflammatory substances, which means they can help reduce your risk of developing diseases linked to inflammation.
A separate study in mice also showed that aronia berry extract can help prevent the flu.
Aronia berries can help prevent diabetes
Aronia berries can help fight diabetes by addressing insulin resistance in the body.
Chokeberries can also help lower blood glucose levels and prevent obesity, at the same time improving immune function and reducing inflammation related to diabetes.
Aronia berries can help prevent high blood pressure
High blood pressure occurs because of artery contraction that forces blood to flow through your body under more intense pressure than is normal. The added pressure can become a permanent fixture in the blood flow because it means your arteries will have trouble relaxing, which can hinder blood flow long-term. High blood pressure may also cause coronary artery disease.
According to a 2013 study and a 2015 study, aronia berries can help prevent high blood pressure by relaxing the tissue lining and lowering blood pressure.
Cooking with aronia berries
You can buy aronia berries in health food stores or online and you can use raw or powdered berries for homemade jams, purees and syrups. If you don’t like the mouth-drying effects of chokeberries, add them into smoothies or juices with other nutritious fruits like bananas or strawberries and some greens.
Here are more suggestions on how to use aronia berries:
- Make chokeberry ice cubes for fruit-flavored water.
- Add them to cakes, muffins or pies.
- Make chokeberry oatmeal cookies.
- Make aronia berry cinnamon rolls.
- Bake aronia berry muffins.
- Make aronia berry syrup for drizzling over ice cream or pancakes.
The typical serving size is one teaspoon of aronia berry powder added to your juice, a smoothie, or one serving of yogurt. Incorporate antioxidant-rich aronia berries into your diet to boost your heart health.