I got an email from my aunt and a call from an oncology nurse friend of mine, all in the same week. They were both asking about claims that they’ve heard about the Aronia Berry. There are a lot of claims out there, but it’s mostly through personal testimonials and health food websites that profit from the sale of Aronia Berry products. It’s hard to believe those types of sources, when they are profiting from the berry!
Claims are made that the Aronia Berry is the new superfruit (like Acai, Mangosteen, Pomogranate, and Goji). Some claim it is the only superfruit that is grown in the US. However, technically, “superfruit” has no real definition. Many would argue that Blueberries or Cranberries are also superfruits and they are grown in the US.
Since no one is considered the “superfruit police”, then I guess we all get to decide for ourselves what we consider superfruits!
About the Aronia Berry
Aronia berries are often called Chokeberries. They don’t taste very good fresh as they are very sour, like cranberries. Aronia Melanocarpa, the black version of aronia berries, is a good source of antioxidants, including anthocyanins (also found in blueberries) and they grow in the US.
The antioxidant of Aronia Berry’s may be beneficial for reducing the risk of diseases caused by oxidative stress. Among the models under evaluation where preliminary results show benefits of chokeberry anthocyanins are colorectal cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic inflammation.
Aronia Berry Supplement
While the Aronia Berry may be a great source of antioxidants, there is no proof that by processing it down and concentrating it into a pill can give any cancer or disease preventive properties. When it comes to supplements, I tend to believe that food sources really are the best. They come in the right concentration for our bodies to best utilize the nutrients and they also come packaged with many other great nutrients.
The major exceptions when you would need a nutrient supplement is if you are clinically low (by blood or other reliable test) in a particular nutrient. When it comes to phytochemicals (including antioxidants and anthycyanins), there aren’t any reliable tests. And there are so many phytochemicals (over 900!), that it would be unrealistic to test for them. Therefore, food sources of phytochemicals really are the best.
So what’s the conclusion about Aronia Berries? I think the berries themselves are probably great for you, just like other berries! And the fact that they grow in the US is even better, because it shouldn’t take a lot of resources to get them to you. However, the best way to consume them is probably as the whole fruit cooked into something, like a healthy muffin.
I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on the juice (you lose the benefit of the skin and other parts of the berry) and I definitely wouldn’t spend money on a supplement. If you do want to try the supplement, be sure to do a 2 or 4 week trial where you monitor your symptoms and track objectively to see if it’s making a difference for you!
Stay tuned for the next post. Due to a lot of questions at a clinic I did last night, I’m going to look into the genetically modified salmon issue!!