The Aronia berry is considered a healthy superfood with many advantages. But there are also dark sides. You can find out what’s behind it in this article.
Aronia berries are also called black chokeberries. They belong to the genus of the rose family and originate from North America.
The berries have a purple-black color and are about the size of a pea.
For more than 100 years the berry has also been common in Europe. The plants grow in flat regions as well as in mountains. The warmer the location, the more fruit sweetness is in the berries.
Aronia berries are often advertised as a so-called superfood because they contain many vitamins and plant substances. You can read all about their effects in the following article.
Taste of Aronia
Aronia berries contain a finely tart and sour taste. And this is completely independent of whether you consume them fresh or processed. Even diluted with water, the color remains violet-red. Natural plant dyes ensure this.
- Folic acid
- Provitamin A
- vitamin B2
- vitamin C
- vitamin K
- Phenolic Acids
How healthy is Aronia?
Chokeberry berries contain many secondary plant substances. Due to the antioxidants they contain, they can fight free radicals in the body. These free radicals have a negative effect on cell metabolism and accelerate the aging process.
Due to the multitude of vitamins, the berries can strengthen the immune system and prevent diseases. A positive effect or prevention on diseases such as cancer, which is often reported in the media, cannot be scientifically proven.
Watch out: In food auxiliary means with Aronia are often artificially added vitamins. Often the exact composition of the contents materials is not to be reconstructed.
Use of Aronia
Aronia berries contain a relatively high amount of fructose but still have a sourish-tart taste. This is why most consumers prefer Aronia juice or Aronia marmalade.
Aronia berries are also often served as delicious dried fruit offerings that go perfectly with muesli. They are also used as a coloring agent for sweets. There are also various food supplements that contain chokeberry as an ingredient, at least in part.
Take care to dilute the chokeberry juice with water so that the taste is not so tart and stomach problems can also be avoided. However, you can also take the fresh berries and use them to refine muesli, yogurt, or ice cream.
Aronia: Is the consumption harmful?
Chokeberries contain small amounts of amygdalin, which can release prussic acid in the body. Amygdalin is a toxic plant substance. It contains the glycoside, which is split into almond acid nitrile glucoside in combination with water. In combination with other enzymes, this, in turn, decomposes into prussic acid.
Prussic acid can lead to symptoms such as shortness of breath, cramps, or enlarged pupils. In very severe cases, a blockage of the respiratory chain can even cause death.
Does this mean that you are not allowed to eat Aronia berries? No, don’t worry. You should only consume fresh fruit in small quantities. According to studies, processed products are not harmful even if consumed regularly.
As a matter of principle, you should also prefer organic products in order to avoid potentially existing pesticide residues or contamination with heavy metals, which are a recurring problem, especially with products from faraway countries.
How does chokeberry taste?
Raw the chokeberry is hardly edible because of the many tanning agents. It is so sour and tart that everything contracts in the mouth. So that the berries are at all eatable, there is a trick: One freezes them simply. This causes them to lose their bitter taste, but they remain sour. In addition, the berries are easy to process. In the food trade, you can find direct juice, jam, and jelly, fruit bars, or tea made from chokeberry. When dried, they can be used for baking and cooking.
Their valuable ingredients have drawn the attention of scientists to chokeberry. There are individual studies that are supposed to show that the berry has a positive effect on health problems. For example with high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, but also with gastrointestinal complaints, inflammations in the body, and even with neurodermatitis. However, there is no clear scientific evidence for the special effect. Aronia has much in common with well-known plants such as rosehip, blackthorn, hawthorn, and above all elderberry. It is certainly healthy – but not as extraordinarily sensational as it is advertised at present.
The berries of the Aronia shrub are said to have anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering, vasodilatory, blood sugar-regulating, and antioxidant effects. The term “antioxidant” describes the ability to intercept cell-damaging oxygen compounds (free radicals) in the tissue. Furthermore, chokeberries are said to help against viruses and bacteria and to protect the stomach mucous membranes.
Aronia juice also has a mild laxative effect, promotes the formation of urine and acts as a diuretic, i.e. it promotes the flushing of water out of the body. In addition, Aronia can apparently lower blood pressure and the fat content in the blood. The tanning agents contained in the berries apparently help with stomach, intestinal, liver, and bile complaints.
The chokeberry is also said to protect against cancer. Especially in connection with intestinal cancer, chokeberry is said to have a preventive effect. It is also used as a food supplement for breast cancer. The medicinal plant is also often used to support regeneration after chemotherapy.
Furthermore, people who have too much iron in their blood (iron storage disease) could benefit from chokeberry. The ingredients of the berries bind to iron and promote its excretion.