Aronia berries (Aronia melanocarpa) are small, dark berries that have become popular among health-conscious consumers.
They’re considered one of the richest sources of plant antioxidants, which are said to offer many health-promoting properties.
This article reviews all you need to know about aronia berries, including their nutrition, benefits, and downsides.
Aronia berries, or chokeberries, are small, dark fruits that grow on shrubs of the Rosaceae family (
They’re native to North America but grown in other parts of the world, including across Europe (
However, they’re also available fresh, frozen, dried, and in powder form.
Aronia berries are small fruits that leave a dry feeling in your mouth. They’re added to many foods and beverages but also available as a supplement.
The berries also supply vitamin K, folate, iron, and vitamins A and E.
Plus, they’re an excellent source of beneficial antioxidants, which help protect your cells from potentially harmful molecules called free radicals. Aronia berries are particularly high in anthocyanins, which give the berries their dark blue to black color (
Aronia berries are nutrient dense with minimal calories. They’re a great source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and antioxidants.
This may protect your cells from damage and benefit your health in many ways.
Contain powerful antioxidants
These compounds defend your cells from damage caused by free radicals. A buildup of free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer (
What’s more, another test-tube study that collected blood samples from 30 healthy people found that extracts from aronia berries significantly reduced oxidative stress caused by an antipsychotic medication within 24 hours (
Moreover, test-tube studies have linked the antioxidants in these fruits to other impressive health benefits, such as decreased inflammation, as well as reduced bacterial and colon cancer cell growth (
May have anticancer effects
One older test-tube study found that 50 mg of aronia extract reduced colon cancer cell growth by 60% after 24 hours. It’s thought that the potent antioxidant activity of anthocyanins is responsible for this cancer-suppressing effect (
Similarly, extracts from the berries may reduce oxidative stress related to breast cancer.
In one older study, these extracts were shown to be beneficial in aiding chemotherapy drugs in the treatment of pancreatic cancer (
That said, current research is limited, and human studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between aronia berries and cancer protection.
May benefit intestinal health
Several recent studies have found that the polyphenols in aronia berries have a stimulating effect on the growth of intestinal microbiota, promoting healthy digestion and intestinal health. In addition, this effect has been shown to improve cardiovascular health and lower inflammation in the intestinal lining (
May benefit heart health
In particular, they may help people with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions — including high cholesterol and triglyceride levels — that increases your likelihood of heart disease and diabetes (
A 2019 study found that aronia supplementation lowered inflammation in epithelial tissues and improved vascular function in healthy subjects (
A 2021 review of studies showed that 6 to 8 weeks of daily aronia berry supplements significantly reduced blood cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. The effects were even more pronounced in subjects who were over 50 (
Further human research is needed to identify the role that aronia berries may play in heart health.
May provide immune support
Aronia berries may strengthen and support your immune system (
A test-tube study noted that aronia berry extracts exhibited strong antibacterial activity against the potentially harmful bacteria Escherichia coli and Bacillus cereus. It exerted this effect by reducing the bacteria’s production of a protective shield called biofilm (
In addition, a 3-month study in residents of 6 nursing homes found that those who drank either 3 or 5.3 ounces (89 or 156 mL) of aronia berry juice daily experienced 38% and 55% reductions in urinary tract infections, respectively (
Aronia berries may also reduce inflammation by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory substances, such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-ɑ) and interleukin 6 (IL-6), which may boost immune health (
Finally, the berries may have antiviral effects.
One study employing young football players found that daily supplementation of aronia berry extract produced significant improvements in iron metabolism, blood antioxidation, and athletic performance (
Aronia berries provide antioxidants. These compounds may have cancer-fighting properties and support your heart and immune health.
However, long-term research is needed to verify this.
Instead, you could add them to foods and drinks, such as yogurt, smoothies, and juices.
Aronia berries are typically safe to eat with no serious side effects. The only downside is their astringent, mouth-drying effect.
Though you may not find aronia berries in your local grocery store, they’re widely available in health food stores and online.
Here are some ways to add aronia berries to your diet:
- Raw. They can be eaten fresh or dried as a snack, but their mouth-drying effects may not be for everyone.
- Juices and smoothies. Aronia berries or their juice can be combined with other fruits, such as pineapples, apples, or strawberries, to make a refreshing drink.
- Baking. You can easily add them to muffins, cakes, and pies.
- Jams and desserts. Mix aronia berries with sugar to make different jams and tasty treats.
- Tea, coffee, and wine. Aronia berries can be found as an ingredient in teas, wine, and coffee.
The berries can also be taken as a supplement in powdered or capsule form, with serving and dosing recommendations varying by brand.
A typical serving suggestion is to add one teaspoon of aronia berry powder to a juice, yogurt, or smoothie.
The capsules can be made from freeze-dried berries or extract. Therefore, serving recommendations vary considerably.
However, as supplements are not regulated, it’s difficult to identify a therapeutic and safe recommended dose.
If you’re interested in trying aronia berry supplements, speak with your healthcare professional before purchasing a product.
Aronia berries can easily be added to many foods and drinks. They can also be purchased as a powder or capsule supplement.
Aronia berries, or chokeberries, grow on shrubs of the Rosaceae family.
They’re rich in fiber, vitamin C, and powerful antioxidants that may have heart-healthy, immune-boosting, and anticancer properties.
You can add fresh aronia berries to many recipes, try them in juices, jams, and syrups, or use them as a supplement.