Move over, Acai berries and mangosteen. There’s a less expensive, easier-to-eat antioxidant in town, and it’s a superfood that Native Americans have known about for generations: Aronia berries.
Aronia who? Aronia berries! Also known as the Midwestern acai berry alternative or black chokecherries, these humble dark blueish-black berries are antioxidant powerhouses. Healthy, versatile, and locally grown- what could be better? And in the dead of winter when fresh berries are scarce, aronias satisfy the berry craving “berry’ well.
“It’s got kind of an astringent taste to it. It’s very naturally tart,” Tammy Ross, director of marketing for Westin Foods, told to Yahoo! Shine in an interview. Westin Foods owns Mae’s Health & Wellness, producers of the Superberries line of aronia berry products. “It’s very similar in taste to a wine grape. What you’re tasting in that tartness is actually very good for you — a type of an antioxidant and type of a compound that can be found in wine and can also be found in tea.”
Aronia berries contains a natural blend of polyphenolic antioxidants that combat the cell-damaging free radicals created in our bodies by stress, environmental pollution, medical x-rays, and other aspects of daily living (even exercise!). Among those antioxidants are anthocyanins, which have been shown to help fight diseases caused by oxidative stress like certain types of cancer,cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, and liver function, according to studies published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and elsewhere. According to the USDA, Aronia berries have twice as much antioxidant power as cranberries and four times as much as pomegranates, strawberries, goji berries, and blueberries. (They’re difficult to compare to chia seeds, another popular antioxidant, because chia seeds aren’t fruits).
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC, measures the antioxidant capabilities of fruits and vegetables. A USDA ORAC survey reported in 2010 that aronia berries took over the driver seat on the superfood berry bus. Aronias have 67% higher antioxidant levels than wild blueberries and over 90% higher levels than cranberries. Even the trending Acai berry, native to Central and South America, doesn’t compare to the local aronia.
The concentration of PA’s in aronia berries are among the highest of any food we consume. All these health benefits also makes them cleanse-approved!
Also called chokeberries thanks to their super-tart taste, the dark-purple clusters grow wild in North America and have recently been cultivated by farmers in the Midwest. The distinctive berries grow on bushes, with several round fruit clumped together on rosy-red stems.
Unlike trendy acai berries, which are usually found mixed into other products or in powdered supplement form, aronia berries are available as whole fruit.
Native Americans used them as part of their diet, as preservatives for their meat, and also for dying cloth, Ross explained. And it’s become popular in Europe, where they’re now prized for their health and wellness properties.
Aronia berries aren’t a dietary supplement, though — they’re a food. Like elderberries or black currants, aronia berries can be used to make wine, jam, syrups, and tea; you can stir them into fresh sauces or use them along with blueberries in your breakfast muffins
16 Possible Benefits of the Aronia Berry and Juice:
1. It is a great source of antioxidants
2. It Promotes good cholesterol levels
3. It Fights against heart disease and other cardiovascular problems
4. It Helps control blood pressure.
5. It Helps Maintain healthy blood sugar levels
6. It Promotes a healthy urinary tract
7. It Boosts the immune system to help fight colds & the flu
8. It has anti-inflammatory properties
9. It fights bacteria and viruses, such as colds and the flu
10. It strengthens memory and Nourishes the brain & nervous system
11. It has high antioxidant properties which help fight aging
12. It Aids digestion
13. It Provides the body with essential oils
14. Tannins In Aronia can be effective in protecting the kidneys.
15. It is also very rich in several vitamins, including vitamin c, vitamin e, vitamin b2, vitamin b6 and folic acid.
16. When incubated with red grape juice and with a high content of condensed tannins, helps inactivate the poliovirus, herpes simplex virus, and various enteric viruses
With all the health benefits that the choke berry has for the body, it’s simple to see why this little fruit is causing rather an upbeat stir in the people who become aware of its healing powers.