Aronia berries not only contain primary plant substances like vitamins (vitamin E, beta-carotene and folic acid), minerals and fibre (potassium, calcium iron and zinc), but also a huge amount of secondary plant substances (polyphenols).
Contents of aronia berries
Primary plant substances
Primary plant substances include water, fruit acids, sugar, pectin, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals.
You can see all these plant substances below – just click on a substance, then the term will drop down and you’ll be able to read the description.
Aronia berries are made up of up to 85% water.
Aronia berries contain around 1.3% organic fruit acids, including L-malic acid, quinic acid, succinic acid, citric acid and hydrogen cyanide.
They only contain 0.6 – 1.2 mg of hydrogen cyanide per 100 g, so the consumption of a raw portion of aronia berries (up to 500 g) is harmless.
The proportion of carbohydrates in aronia berries is around 15%, including sugars, pectins and fibre. Fibre can’t be digested by the body. Examples of fibre include cellulose, pectin and lignin. A high pectin content is typical of all members of the rose family. Aronia berries contain 0.3 – 0.5% pectin. They have an additional fibre content of around 5.6%.
Aronia berries contain relatively little fructose. Around 7 g of sugar can be found in 100 g of fresh aronia berries. The ratio of fructose to glucose is around 1:1, which means 100 g of fresh aronia berries contain 3.5 g of fructose and 3.5 g of glucose.
Aronia berries have a high sorbitol content. Sorbitol is a suitable sugar alternative for diabetics, as it’s metabolised without insulin. The sorbitol content in aronia is as high as its total sugar content (approx. 7 g / 100 g = 7%). Sorbitol is also important for dental health and the prevention of tooth decay.
Aronia berries have a low protein content (0.7 – 2.0%).
Their fat content is around 1.5%.
Aronia berries contain fat-soluble vitamins in the form of vitamin E (tocopherol), vitamin K and provitamin A (a precursor to vitamin A). Provitamin A is converted into vitamin A in the body.
They also contain water-soluble vitamins in the form of folic acid (vitamin B9), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
Please note that vitamins are sensitive to heat and storage conditions. A large amount of vitamins can be lost through transport, processing and heating.
Aronia berries are a rich source of trace elements like iron, calcium, potassium, zinc and iodine.
The minerals contained in the aronia berry are found in a healthy ratio. Potassium is essential for the preservation of life, and aronia berries contain a very high amount of this mineral (218 mg / 100 g). Iron is vital for our metabolism, while iodine regulates metabolic processes and stimulates circulation. There’s 0.93 mg of iron and 0.0064 mg of iodine in 100 g of aronia.
Calcium is the most important mineral in the human body in terms of its quantity, ensuring healthy teeth, bones and muscles. The calcium content is 121 mg / 100 g.
Secondary plant substances
Plants use their secondary substances for reproduction and self-defence. Secondary plant substances include pigments, fragrances, flavours and toxins used to scare off pests and attract insects. Aronia mainly contains polyphenols in the form of anthocyanins and procyanidins.
Plant pigments (polyphenols)
Polyphenols are found in plants as bioactive substances, including pigments, flavours and tannins. These mostly have an antioxidant effect and are considered good for your health. These secondary plant substances are aromatic compounds.
The polyphenol group includes many plant substances like flavonoid pigments. The anthocyanins, a flavonoid subgroup, protect body cells against free radicals and slow down the cell oxidation process. They also prevent arteriosclerosis by breaking down fatty deposits in blood vessels.
The flavonoid group also includes OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) and tannins.
Anthocyanins are water-soluble substances found in many fruits and berries. They protect the plant against disease and oxidative damage caused by things like excessive sunlight. Aronia berries contain more red and blue plant pigments than any other fruit. The chart below compares the anthocyanin content of various berries.
Anthocyanins help to balance the ratio of antioxidants and free radicals. This prevents free radicals from gaining the upper hand and causing cell-damaging oxidative stress.
Oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs)
While anthocyanins cause the berries’ dark colouring and other things, OPCs are responsible for their distinctive bitter taste. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins are colourless plant pigments. Aronia contains a particularly high amount of OPCs. It contains almost twice as many OPCs as other berries like cranberries. More information is provided in the following chart:
The tannic acid found in aronia berries is responsible for their bitter-sweet taste, similar to unripe blueberries with an astringent effect. This flavour often stops people from eating the berries raw. However, they can be further processed to milden the taste a little.