It is well established within the health food community that Blueberries are a superfood with a wealth of health benefits. However, there is another, lesser-known superberry that packs an even more powerful punch - the Aronia Berry (also known as a chokeberry). So we have put these two fruits to the test to see exactly how they can improve both your physical and mental health.
Why are Blueberries more popular than Aronia Berries?
Let's start with a little background on both of these berries, to help clear up why the Blueberry is much more commonly seen in grocery stores when the Aronia Berry is higher in nutritional density.
Where do Aronia Berries come from?
As opposed to Blueberries that are grown in cooler climates across both the northern and southern hemisphere, Aronia Berries thrive in more seasonal climates. Primarily produced in North America and Eastern Bloc countries such as Poland and Germany, the Aronia berry is not as readily available as the Blueberry which many people grow right in their backyard.
What do Aronia Berries taste like?
One of the reasons Blueberries are much more prominent in stores is thanks to their more palatable, sweet taste. The Aronia berry gained the name “Chokeberry” due to its tart flavour, which for years many have struggled to incorporate into their daily cooking. Thus the demand has previously been low in comparison to Blueberries for producers and retailers.
How can I incorporate Aronia Berries into my diet?
Thanks to their amazing nutritional value, the Aronia berry is beginning to rise in popularity amongst health foodies. With the introduction of fantastic products such as Aronia berry juices, teas and powders, it has never been easier for anyone to add this superberry into their daily diet.
There are also a wealth of recipes now available that bring out the incredible flavours of the Aronia berry, without the sharp, mouth-puckering effects. By creating delicious jams, smoothies or baked goods you can soak up the positive benefits of Aronia berries while enjoying their incredibly versatile taste.
The Nutritional Value of Aronia Berries vs Blueberries
The following table compares the nutritional value of a 100g serving of Aronia berries and blueberries.
As you can see, Aronia berries are not only lower in calories than blueberries, they also provide higher levels of both protein and fibre, with a lower number of carbohydrates and sugars per serving.
Aronia Berries also contain higher levels of essential vitamins. For example, a 148g serving of blueberries will provide you with 24% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, whereas just 28g of Aronia berries will give you 10% of your vitamin C RDI.
The Health Benefits of Aronia Berries vs Blueberries
Now for the science, evidence has shown that both Aronia berries and blueberries contain high levels of antioxidants, as well as a wealth of other vitamins and minerals to support health and wellness. However, the Aronia berry contains much more potent levels, giving a much more powerful hit of health-boosting effects.
The Aronia berry is 344% higher than blueberries in total Antioxidants
There is often a lot of talk of antioxidants within the health community, but not everybody is clear on exactly what they are and why they are so important for our health. Antioxidants are molecules within the body that fight off harmful free radicals, compounds that if too high are linked to illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
When free radicals outnumber the levels of antioxidants in the body it leads to a state known as oxidative stress. Being in this state for long periods of time can cause damage to DNA and other molecules. Therefore it is important to maintain a healthy balance within the body so that you can reap the benefits of free radicals in smaller numbers, which are essential for fighting off infection with your immune cells.
The Aronia Berry is 429% higher than Blueberries in Proanthocyanidin
Proanthocyanidin is a plant-based super-antioxidant containing various cardioprotective, antidiabetic, anticancer, neuroprotective and antimicrobial qualities. They have also been shown to prevent sun damage and improve vision. Impressively they also improve flexibility to the joints, muscles, arteries and body tissues such as the heart.
They are also able to improve blood circulation, particularly beneficial to those who suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Proanthocyanidin also helps support anti-inflammatory actions within the body, reducing the effects of autoimmune diseases caused by chronic inflammation such as arthritis.
The Aronia Berry is 406% higher than Blueberries in Anthocyanins
Anthocyanins are the pigments found in both blueberries and Aronia berries that give them their deep blue colouring. They are also a type of flavonoid, which is a group of compounds that provide the body with antioxidant effects. As well as this they have been shown to contribute to anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-viral processes within the body.
Foods rich in anthocyanins have been used for many years in herbal medicines to help treat a range of conditions, from high blood pressure and diabetes to the common cold and urinary tract infections. More impressively, studies have shown that in test-tube experiments anthocyanins extracted from berries helped to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells. However, more research is needed to understand its full impacts on cancer prevention.
The Aronia Berry is 177% higher than Blueberries in Flavonols
Flavonols are a subgroup of flavonoids, a type of polyphenol or put more simply, a category of plant compounds found within various fruits, vegetables, teas and even wine that offer various health benefits. As well as providing similar antioxidant boosting benefits as above, these compounds can also promote healthy digestion and brain function.
The benefits to digestion are thanks to the way polyphenols encourage healthy gut bacteria while defending against harmful bacteria. Recent studies have also suggested that polyphenols may also help probiotics occurring in some fermented foods thrive within the gut. Foods rich in these compounds may also boost focus, learning and memory skills in adults when incorporated into your daily diet, however, more research is required to identify their full benefits.
The Bottom Line
As you can see both Blueberries and Aronia Berries offer a fantastic range of health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet. However, if you are looking for a more impactful berry when it comes to nutritional value and added health benefits, Aronia berries are the superior berry of the superfood world!