Aronia Berry Guide
Aronia Berry is a hot new superfood that claims to be rich with antioxidants and flavonoids. Here’s our guide to aronia berries and how they work.
What is Aronia Berry?
Aronia Berry is a black-purple berry that kind of looks like a blend between a blueberry and a cherry.
Today, you can find aronia berry on supermarket shelves in the form of juices, supplements, and diet pills.
Where did aronia berry come from? Why are you only hearing about aronia berry now? Well, aronia berry used to be known under the far less appetizing name of “chokeberry”. Aronia berry growers decided to rebrand, something that eventually helped the berry grow into a multi-million dollar industry.
The name “aronia”, by the way, comes from the genius Aronia melancorpa.
Why Should You Use Aronia Berry?
Aronia berry is purportedly linked to a number of health benefits. First, it boasts one of the highest antioxidant values ever recorded in the world of fruits. It has similar antioxidant content to fruits like blueberries, acai berries, and goji berries.
Antioxidants have been known to reduce your risk of disease and illness. They fight back against free radicals in the body and deliver powerful health benefits.
Some people, however, have taken the aronia berry benefits a little too far. Some claim that aronia berry prevents cancer, dementia, stroke, and other serious medical conditions. At the moment, there’s absolutely no evidence for this that has been backed up in scientific studies.
History of Aronia Berry
Aronia berry is native to North America. However, it’s better known outside of North America. In Russia and Eastern Europe, for example, the berry has been used in juices and wines for over 100 years.
Today, the practice of cultivating aronia berry for its health benefits has spread to the United States. Farmers across the American Midwest are planting aronia berry shrubs as a cash crop.
The resurgence in the popularity of aronia berry is believed to have started in 1997, when a family farm in the Loess Hills of western Iowa planted the first aronia berry bushes for commercial cultivation in America.
This family farm discovered that the berries grow exceptionally well on the heavy, silt-rich soil around the Missouri river.
Furthermore, the bush had few pests and it didn’t require replanting every year.
Today, that family farm is one of America’s largest producers of aronia berry – if not the largest. Sawmill Hollow Family Farm products are sold in hundreds of supermarkets across America – including Whole Foods and Hy-Vee’s.
Iowa farmers have ambitious goals for the future of aronia berry. Said one farmer in an interview,
“We want the aronia berry to be to Iowa's Heartland what the peach is to Georgia.”
More Than 440 New Products containing Aronia Have Been Introduced in the Last 6 Years
CBS News reports that more than 440 new products containing aronia berry have been introduced in the last six years alone.
Most of those products are juices, wines, and other beverages. They’re sold around the world – some for their rich flavor and others for their purported health benefits.
In 2014, farmers formed the North America Aronia Cooperative in Omaha, Nebraska, with members coming from 10 states. Another cooperative, the Midwest Aronia Association, has members in 12 states along with members in Ontario, Canada.
Despite the formation of these cooperatives, farmers have not been able to nail down a set price per pound. One association member said that farmers sell their aronia berry for anywhere from 50 cents to $7.50 per pound.
The lack of reporting also makes I difficult to determine the economic value of aronia berry. The President of the North America Aronia Cooperative, however, estimated the total economic impact was about $85 million in 2014.
How to Use Aronia Berries
One study published in the European Food Research and Technology journal in 2005 indicated that whole aronia berries have higher antioxidant content than aronia berry juice.
So if you’re taking aronia berry exclusively for antioxidants, you’re better off choosing fresh or dried aronia berries.
Nevertheless, all pure aronia berry products are extremely high in antioxidants. The antioxidant dose is so high that you should restrict the amount of aronia berry you eat per day, as too much antioxidants can actually harm your health.
Dried aronia berries, for example, typically come with a recommended dose of one tablespoon of berries per day.
Health Benefits of Aronia Berries
Aronia berries have not been extensively studied by major scientific organizations. They have, however, been the subject of several smaller studies, some of which have indicated powerful health benefits. Here’s what we know about the antioxidant benefits of aronia berries:
— Rich in Antioxidants: Aronia is often listed as having higher antioxidant content than elderberry, cranberry, currant berry, plum, blueberry, raspberry, and other popular fruits. It has an ORAC of 16,000, for example, compared to 6,200 in blueberries.
— Better Urinary Tract Health: Just like cranberry, aronia may fight back against urinary tract infections because it contains high levels of quinic acid. This acid fights back against bacteria and prevents micro-organism growth in your urinary tract.
— Improved Blood Circulation and Stronger Blood Vessels: Out of all the benefits on this list, this is the one that has undergone the least amount of scientific research. The only real study involving aronia berry and cardiovascular benefits didn’t involve humans: it involved mice. The anthocyanins from the aronia berry were found to reduce oxidative stress, improve the elasticity of blood vessels, and reduce your risk of clogged arteries.
— Rich in Fiber: A 100 gram serving of dried aronia berries contains 16.9 grams of fiber. Fiber is essential for good gut health and has been associated with a variety of health benefits – including improved bowel health, weight loss, lower cholesterol levels, and more.
Ultimately, aronia berry has indicated some surprising health benefits mostly associated with its rich antioxidant content. Today, aronia berry juices and beverages are easier to find than ever before, making it easy for you to enjoy the health benefits of the aronia berry.