The health benefits of aronia berries (also known as black chokeberries) are the result of such chemical constituents as anthocyanins, flavonols, minerals, polyphenols, quinic acid and vitamins (including ascorbic acid). While cranberries are often used in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs) because of their quinic acid content, aronia berries contain ten times as much quinic acid as cranberries, and have also shown a great deal of promise in the treatment of UTIs.
Aronia berries are also known to be a good dietary source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, and their antioxidant activity is enhanced by the presence of the powerful antioxidant anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins that they contain. The aforementioned compounds are also largely responsible for the dark color of aronia berries. It has even been suggested that such coloration is a reliable – but not infallible – guide to the antioxidant potential of fruits.
Research done at the University of Maryland suggests that the antioxidant properties of aronia berries may make them particularly useful in the treatment of colon cancer. Antioxidant potential can be measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (or ORAC); one comparison of the ORAC of aronia berries to that of elderberries, prunes, bilberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, oranges, red grapes, bananas, apples and pears found that aronia berries had the highest ORAC value of all the fruits tested.
Aronia berries have been used in both the treatment and prevention of some types of cancer, cardiovascular and circulatory ailments, diabetes, inflammation, influenza, and urinary tract infections.