Unless you’re a habitué of a certain Swedish furniture store, lingonberries probably don’t show up on your radar too often.
But it’s high time they do.
Research out of the University of Helsinki has found that regularly drinking lingonberry juice can not only improve blood vessel function but also lower high blood pressure.
Considering 1 in 3 adults deal with hypertension, this is big news.
And it comes on the heels of other studies linking polyphenols (micronutrients that contain antioxidants) to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease.
Lingonberries, cranberries, blueberries and bilberries are all high in polyphenols.
But in the Helsinki study, diluted, cold-pressed lingonberry juice was found to be best at lowering blood pressure.
And undiluted lingonberry juice was found to effectively restore blood vessels to a healthy, functioning level.
The good news keeps coming…
Lingonberry juice (diluted or otherwise) also prevented the expression of genes connected to aorta inflammation.
Again, the effects of lingonberry juice far outshined the effects of cranberry or blackcurrant juices in the study.
It’s believed that the primary effects come from the impact on the reduction of low-grade inflammation, as well as mechanisms related to the renin-angiotensin system – a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and systemic vascular resistance.
In unrelated studies, lingonberries have showcased a whole host of additional benefits…
- A godsend for the gut. Lingonberries increase the levels of good bacteria that keep the gut healthy while also fostering positive changes in the microbiota to protect against inflammation.
- An aid in weight loss. Lingonberries have been found to inhibit the enzyme that digests fat from food. And if fat isn’t digested, the calories aren’t obtained.
- A boon to blood sugar levels. In trial studies, it was found that those who ate lingonberries with 3 tablespoons of sugar had peak insulin levels 17% lower than those who ate only sugar.
- A brain booster. Extract from lingonberries has shown to improve cognitive function and boost memory, and the berry is rich in antioxidants known to prevent oxidative stress on brain cells.
- A brighter smile. The plant compounds contained in lingonberries actually fend off the very bacteria that promote gum disease and the accumulation of plaque on teeth.
These bright red, slightly tart berries aren’t available fresh everywhere. They’re primarily grown in Scandinavian countries, the Pacific Northwest and – to a lesser extent – northeastern states.
But thanks to the internet, lingonberries can be found frozen, powdered, and in juices and jams.
Just keep an eye on the sugar content when shopping for those last two…
The slightly tart taste often leads to an overly sweet treatment that can offset many of the positive effects of this vibrant berry.