Aronia berries: the properties and benefits of one of the most antioxidant foods

What are British Bilberries?

The characteristics of Aronia berry elevate them to the podium of the most antioxidant foods that we can find on the market above blueberries.

At first glance, they could be mistaken for the miraculous blueberries because of their rounded appearance and bright purple color, but aronia berries have their own personality and nutritional values ​​that are decisive for treating degenerative diseases and protecting our immune system. Little known in Spain, these red fruits are the kings of antioxidants due to their high content of polyphenols and flavonoids, being the perfect allies against the aging of cells and preventing their oxidation. For that reason alone, we should incorporate them into our diet as soon as possible.

Most of the nutritional studies on this  almost unknown superfood are very recent. In recent years, its positive incidence in people suffering from cardiovascular diseases has been confirmed and its effectiveness has even been demonstrated in patients who had suffered a heart attack, reducing the inflammatory effects and reducing blood pressure . It also stands out as a natural protector of the liver , provides intestinal balance thanks to its pectin – a soluble fiber with a prebiotic effect – and is beneficial for the eyes by protecting the capillaries of the retina avoiding their oxidation by solar radiation.

Numerous investigations highlight the importance of aronia berries to help the body’s immunity, especially in patients with Multiple Sclerosis , as well as to normalize metabolism and prevent urine infections . Its antibacterial active principles, specifically quinic acid, inhibits the growth of Candida in the bladder and helps to treat disorders such as cystitis or vaginal infections.

However, despite their multiple benefits, they should be avoided during pregnancy as their safety in pregnant women has not been proven at the moment. Also people with autoimmune diseases will have to consult it before with their specialist because, although aronia has proven useful in the treatment of diseases such as sclerosis, the increase in immunity could be negative for patients. 

Nutritional value of aronia berries

The nutritional value per 100 grams of aronia berries is as follows:

Calories: 47 kcal

Total fat: 0.5 g

Cholesterol: 0 g

Carbohydrates: 9.6 g

Fibers: 5.3 g

Proteins: 1.4 g

Vitamin C: 21 mg

Potassium: 162 mg

Magnesium: 20 mg

Calcium: 30 mg

Folic Acid: 25 mcg

Antioxidant superpowers

Aronia is a genus of plants that belongs to the Rosaceae family and of which three species of shrubs are distinguished, but the berries that we consume in food are fruits of the Aronia Melanocarpa variety that can be of three different shades: from a lighter red to dark purple. They are grown in very cold areas of North America, Russia and Eastern Europe, so in Spain we have not long started to know them.

However, we should include them as soon as possible in our diet because they are on the world podium of the most antioxidant foods . The development of chronic and degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s could have a common origin related, in part, to oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species, free radicals, can damage proteins, fats, and genetic material.

Endless fruits and vegetables have a high antioxidant content and it is possible to quantify it thanks to the so-called ORAC value , the ability to absorb free radicals, as explained by the College of Pharmacists of Cantabria in its detailed study on nutrition . Although the exact relationship between this scale of values ​​and their health benefit, it is believed that those with a higher value are more effective in their antioxidant power. Well, according to the aforementioned food table , aronia berries far exceed blueberries , blackberries, cherries, strawberries and other red fruits.

How to take aronia berries

As with other red fruits, aronia berries can be consumed fresh, although the truth is that in Spain they are very difficult to find in that version. The most widespread form of commercialization outside their places of production is dehydrated, which we can buy from 18 euros per kilo . Its taste is bitter and it is also astringent, so it will always be more pleasant and healthy to consume them cooked and with other foods. If we choose to steam them, we will retain a greater number of antioxidants.

The jam is a good choice for its high pectin content and in only 5 minutes in the microwave can make combining them with other fruits; however, it is mainly marketed in juices , mixed with other berries such as açaí, blueberries or raspberries. If you want to make it at home and give it a touch of joy, we suggest this red fruit sangria recipe that will make you succeed this summer .

In addition, aronia can be mixed with cereals, yogurts and ice creams, also being consumed in energy bars – with this recipe you can make them yourself in a short time -, in infusion and in its powder or capsule format. There are also areas where they make wine, vinegar and other beverages distilled with them.