Chances are you have never heard about lingonberries, but they are starting to show up in more grocery stores in the U.S. thanks in part to their numerous health benefits. Lingonberries are popular in Scandinavian countries where they grow wild in the ancient forests. They look and taste similar to cranberries, and are often combined with sugar to make lingonberries jams and syrups to soften their tart flavor. In this article we will take a look at the different health and nutritional benefits of eating lingonberries.
Antioxidants in lingonberries
Like other small berries such as cranberries, blueberries and blackberries, lingonberries are very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants work to minimize the effects of harmful free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules that are produced in the body from breaking down food, smoking and from radiation. The molecules have an uneven number of electrons, so they go around “stealing” electrons from other, healthy molecules creating a damaging chain reaction. The antioxidants counterbalance the free radicals by “lending” an electron to make the molecule stable again. Antioxidants have been shown to help treat and prevent a wide range of health problems from prematurely aging skin to cancer and other diseases.
Flavonoids are another compound found in lingonberries that have antioxidant properties. Flavonoids have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergic and anti-viral properties. Flavonoids help to repair damaged cells and promote the production of healthy red blood cells in the body.
UTIs in lingonberries
Cranberries have long been a known cure for urinary tract infections, and now you can get the same benefit from lingonberries. The compounds found in these berries are used to help treat urinary tract infections in a natural, effective way. The composition of the lingonberries prevents UTIs by keeping the bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder. By drinking cranberry and lingonberry juice every day, women can greatly reduce their chances of developing a painful urinary tract infection in the future.
Other health benefits of lingonberries
Lingonberries are a really good source of many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium and magnesium. All of these vitamins and minerals are vital to your health and well being. There are still ongoing studies being done around the health benefits of lingonberries, but some research has also suggested that the properties in lingonberries help to improve the health of blood vessels and also lower blood pressure.
Incorporating lingonberries into your diet
Now that you know about all the great health benefits of lingonberries, you might be wondering how you can start incorporating these little super foods into your diet. The good news is that lingonberries are becoming more popular in North America and can now be found in many grocery stores across the U.S. In Scandinavian countries, lingonberries are commonly used to make jam and syrups. The jam can be used on toast or pancakes, but is also popular with heavy meat dishes like liver, game and meatballs. You can use lingonberries in the same way you would use cranberries – so why not try serving up some lingonberry jam to go with your next turkey roast dinner?