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Well, that’s one way to get your attention. Aronia berries are certainly an up-and-coming star in the world of superfruits. As you’ll find out, studies have shown that aronia berries have potential health benefits.

Why? One word: polyphenols.

We all want to eat healthy. Wouldn’t it be nice if eating healthier made us feel better more quickly? Superfruits, or fruits high in polyphenols, may do just that. A whole host of research suggests that certain foods containing polyphenols, including aronia berries, can provide great health benefits.

Aronia berries, which are also known as chokeberries — because of their sour taste — can be found in parts of North America, though certain varieties touted for their antioxidant benefits come from Europe. They grow on ornamental plants or bushes. They’re actually great for landscaping. But more than that, the berries themselves are potential health boosters in a major way. In fact, they are appearing as a key ingredient in many health supplements.

Where Do They Come From?

Aronia melanocarpa, or, simply aronia, is a small, dark, cherry-looking berry plant that originated in the eastern part of North America.1 Aronia grows wild in swamps and in woodlands. In the 1940s, Russia began to cultivate aronia berries for commercial use. In the 1950s, Eastern Europe followed suit.2 Today, aronia berries are grown throughout the U.S.

But why aronia? What makes it so special, aside from the fact that the plant itself is quite attractive in a garden?

Aronia contains high amounts of polyphenols, which have been found to have myriad positive effects on both healthy individuals and those with non-communicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.3

Aronia Berries

What’s a Superfruit?

By now, most of you know about superfoods … but what about superfruits? This is a real thing. These superfruits set themselves apart from other fruits because they’ve been found to have “super” effects on our health. Berries like cranberries, blueberries, strawberries, and aronia berries are good sources of polyphenols.4 And aronia is called the superstar superfruit because it contains the highest amount of antioxidants compared to acai berries and blueberries. The antioxidants found in aronia may help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.5,6 In fact, a scientific study revealed that aronia was at the top of the list among more than 100 foods that were tested for antioxidant properties.7

No wonder it’s called superstar superfruit!

The antioxidants found in aronia berries are mostly polyphenols. Polyphenols are the most abundant type of antioxidant found in our daily diet. They work hand-in-hand with other antioxidants found in our food, including vitamins C and E. Together, they help protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress.8 In one experiment, it was found that aronia extract can reduce the oxidative stress in blood cells of patients with breast cancer.9

Aronia berries also contain compounds called phenols. Studies have shown that phenols play a vital role in the prevention and treatment of some serious illnesses.10

The Power of Polyphenols

Polyphenols are largely found in food and drinks, such as jams, cereals, wine, and coffee, and in a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, particularly berries. Over the past 10 years, research on the effect of polyphenols in the human diet has increased. In these studies, it has been discovered that polyphenols may play a significant role in preventing age-related diseases.11 Aronia berries are believed to have more antioxidant power than blueberries, prunes, cranberries, cherries, apples, and oranges.12

Polyphenols are used in certain sunscreens, because research has shown that they are good at inhibiting UV radiation from sunlight.13 Polyphenols may help to prevent the deterioration of various tissues in the body. They play a significant role in anti-aging.14 Research has shown that polyphenols can promote cardiovascular health.15
Studies have shown that there is a long-term, beneficial effect to consuming polyphenols in people with high blood pressure.16  One study using aronia extract showed that it may have a beneficial effect on those with multiple sclerosis (MS).17

Aronia Berries

Latest Health Studies

Several new studies have sought to solidify the sour berry’s role as a superfruit with potential health benefits. The results are certainly eye-opening.

One study surmised a possible health benefit of aronia berries (and other berries containing polyphenols) for certain ailments and inflammation.18 Another health study showed that adding polyphenols in your diet may also help reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.19 Aronia was found to show anti-inflammatory results in human adult endothelial cells (HAEC). Scientists have also found that several compounds found in aronia berries are natural inflammation and disease fighters. The research suggests that aronia berries or aronia berry extract, may be helpful in fighting the development of abnormal cell growth in the lungs and colon.20

Very Fine Berry

You can call the aronia berry whatever you want – a super berry, a superfood, or a superfruit. Just make sure the word “super” is in there, because it contains two to three times more antioxidant properties than any other berries. If there ever was a fruit on the verge of becoming a superstar, aronia is most certainly it!

Sources

1. Borowska S, Brzóska M. Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) and Their Products as a Possible Means for the Prevention and Treatment of Noncommunicable Diseases and Unfavorable Health Effects Due to Exposure to Xenobiotics. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 2016. doi:10.1111/1541-4337.12221.
2. Aronia Berries. Agricultural Marketing Resource Center Website.Revised October 2013.
3. Borowska S, Brzóska M. Chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) and Their Products as a Possible Means for the Prevention and Treatment of Noncommunicable Diseases and Unfavorable Health Effects Due to Exposure to Xenobiotics. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 2016. doi:10.1111/1541-4337.12221.
4. Basu A, Rhone M, Lyons T. Berries: emerging impact on cardiovascular health. Nutrition Reviews. 2010;68(3):168-177. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00273.x.
5. Mikulic-Petkovsek M, Schmitzer V, Slatnar A, Stampar F, Veberic R. Composition of Sugars, Organic Acids, and Total Phenolics in 25 Wild or Cultivated Berry Species. Journal of Food Science. 2012;77(10):C1064-C1070. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02896.x.
6. Aronia berry: Rebranding helps a new superfood catch on. CBS news Website. Published July 14, 2014.
7. Wiederholt K. Aronia in North Dakota – They Do Sparkle!. 2016.Accessed December 1, 2016.
8.Tapiero H, Tew K, Nguyen Ba G, Mathé G. Polyphenols: do they play a role in the prevention of human pathologies?. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy. 2002;56(4):200-207. doi:10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00178-6.
9.Kedzierska M, Olas B, Wachowicz B et al. An Extract from Berries of Aronia melanocarpa Modulates the Generation of Superoxide Anion Radicals in Blood Platelets from Breast Cancer Patients. Planta Medica. 2009;75(13):1405-1409. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1185718.
10.Huang W, Cai Y, Zhang Y. Natural Phenolic Compounds From Medicinal Herbs and Dietary Plants: Potential Use for Cancer Prevention. Nutrition and Cancer. 2009;62(1):1-20. doi:10.1080/01635580903191585.
11.Scalbert A, Johnson I, Saltmarsh M. Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005;81(1):215S-217S.
12.Everhart E. Aronia – A New Crop for Iowa. 2009.  Accessed December 1, 2016.
13.Pandey KRizvi S. Plant Polyphenols as Dietary Antioxidants in Human Health and Disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2009;2(5):270-278. doi:10.4161/oxim.2.5.9498.
14.Queen B, Tollefsbol T. Polyphenols and Aging. CAS. 2010;3(1):34-42. doi:10.2174/1874609811003010034.
15.Khurana S, Venkataraman K, Hollingsworth A, Piche M, Tai T. Polyphenols: Benefits to the Cardiovascular System in Health and in Aging. Nutrients. 2013;5(10):3779-3827. doi:10.3390/nu5103779.
16.Li S, Zhao P, Tian H, Chen L, Cui L. Effect of Grape Polyphenols on Blood Pressure: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. PLOS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0137665. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0137665.
17.Broncel M, Kozirog M, Duchnowicz P, Koter-Michalak M, Sikora J, Chojnowska-Jezierska J. Aronia melanocarpa extract reduces blood pressure, serum endothelin, lipid, and oxidative stress marker levels in patients with metabolic syndrome.Med Sci Monit. 2010 Jan;16(1):CR28-34.
18.Vita J. Polyphenols and cardiovascular disease: effects on endothelial and platelet function. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005;81(1):292S-297S.
19.Manach C. Polyphenols and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. 2005. Accessed December 1, 2016.
20. Kilham C. Aronia: The North American Super Berry With Cancer-fighting Properties. Fox News  Published June 7, 2013.

 

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