For instance, 100 grams of raw cranberries scaled at 9,584 on the USDA ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value scale, which is higher than both the blueberry and the pomegranate. Still, while cranberries do provide a higher ORAC level than a number of fruits and vegetables, they lag well behind the Aronia Berry which scaled in at 16,062 on the ORAC scale for 100 grams of raw berries.
The cranberry is a rich source of Vitamin C, E and Manganese. Aronia Berries are a rich source of Folates, Vitamin A, C, E, K, Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Potassium, Zinc and Phyto-nutrients. Both berries are rich in fiber and add a high dose of the recommended daily allowance of fiber to any diet.
Cranberries are sometimes used to treat urinary tract infections due to the quinic acid contained within the cranberry. However, studies have shown the Aronia Berry contains a higher dose of quinic acid than the cranberry and is actually five to ten times more effective in supporting bladder health. In fact, the studies have shown that the higher dose of quinic acid in the Aronia Berries may even go so far as to actually prevent the bacteria that causes bladder issues. (Search Aroniaberry (chokeberry) and UTI on Pub Med to review the studies.)
Cranberries are grown primarily in North America and more likely to be grown in cooler climates such as Wisconsin, which is the largest producer of cranberries in the world. As of 2008, 90% of Aronia Berry production was in Poland, with Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin leading the way in the United States.
Cranberries are grown in bogs floating on water which makes for easier harvesting. Studies have shown that cranberries grown on top of the water with greater exposure to sunlight give the berries a deeper redder color and a greater content of anthocynanins. The cranberry relies on direct sunlight to improve the flavonoids or antioxidant nature of the berries. Aronia Berries are low maintenance, grown on bushes in groves and each berry, even without exposure to direct sunlight, has near equal amounts of anthocyanins at the time of harvest.
Side effects of the cranberry can occur with allergies to aspirin. The cranberry can cause inflammation of the stomach lining with overuse. It may increase the amount of Vitamin B 12 that the body absorbs in people with atrophic gastritis. Cranberry extract tablets have been shown to increase the oxalate levels in the urine by 43% and instigate kidney stones which are primarily oxalate combined with calcium. Cranberry can increase bleeding and bruising in patients taking Warfarin. Cranberry can also decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. The Aronia Berry at this time, appears to have no known side effects other than a mild case of diarrhea from over indulgence.
While both berries do have their benefits, the lesser known Aronia Berry is shown to have a greater degree of health and wellness benefits, higher antioxidant levels and less side effects associated with it. Still, adding either berry to supplement an already well-balanced diet is a must to attaining and maintaining a fit lifestyle.