Aronia berries are a small, round fruit native to North America. Their sharp taste dries out the mouth, earning them the nickname "chokeberries." Don't let the name fool you though, chokeberries are safe to eat and have numerous health benefits.
If you live in North America, you may notice aronia berries growing in the wild. They look a bit like small cranberries, though they can be red or black, and grow on shrubs throughout the continent. Historically, they've been used by Native American tribes to make teas and treat colds as well as to eat.
Today, these berries are eaten all over the world. You can get them fresh, dried, or as a juice.
A number of laboratory studies have been done on mice and rats exploring the health benefits of aronia berries. While these results need to be confirmed in human studies, early results indicate that these berries may be able to help with conditions like cancer, diabetes, and organ damage.
Aronia berries may reduce cancer cell growth in people with certain types of cancer. One study showed that aronia berry extract was effective in preventing colon cancer growth in rats. Studies are still in the early stages, however, and it’s too soon to say if the extract will have the same effect in humans.
A more recent study on the cancer-fighting properties of aronia berries showed that aronia extracts reduced cell damage in people with breast cancer.
Improve Insulin Sensitivity
Early studies on rats have shown that aronia berries may fight insulin resistance. More research is needed to see whether those results are true for humans as well.
Recent studies have looked at how aronia juice could help improve liver function. In mice with liver damage, aronia fruit juice was able to lessen the symptoms and improve liver health. While this research shows promise, further studies are needed to find out if aronia juice would have the same effect on humans.
While research into the health benefits of aronia berries is still in its early stages, results so far have been encouraging. In addition to being a tasty treat, early tests suggest that aronia berries may be able to help improve organ function and fight disease.
Nutrients Per Serving
The exact nutrition value of aronia berries depends on how the berries were grown and prepared. In general though, 1/4 cup of dried aronia berries contains approximately:
Aronia berries are also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including:
How to Prepare Aronia Berries
Although aronia berries can be eaten raw, some people don't like the way these berries dry out their mouths. Luckily, there are a number of ways to prepare aronia berries to make them more palatable.
One popular way to serve them is in pies. Just like with other sharp-tasting fruits, the additional sweeteners in pie can cut the bite of Aronia berries, leaving just a pleasant sweetness behind. Aronia berries can also be served on cereal, mixed into yogurt, or baked into cookies, breads, and muffins.
Aronia berries can also be steeped in hot water with a little bit of honey to make a soothing tea.