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10 Health Benefits Of Lingonberries With Ways To Consume And A Recipe

Lingonberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea L.) are a type of berries that are small, red and that taste sour but with a tinge of sweetness and bitterness. They are rich in dietary polyphenols with potent antioxidant properties, omega-3 fatty acids and plant sterols, all that contribute to good health.

Lingonberries grow in clusters and are probably mistaken for cranberries. The difference between the two are: the prior is small and round and grow mainly on short stalks, while the latter is a bit large and grow on long stalks.

In this article we will discuss the health benefits of lingonberries. Take a look.

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Nutritional Profile Of Lingonberries

Lingonberries contain vital dietary micronutrients and bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, vitamins and minerals. Polyphenolic compounds in lingonberries include anthocyanins, flavonoids, polyphenolic acids and procyanidins. [1]

The major vitamins in this berry are vitamin A, C B1, B2 and B3 while minerals include calcium potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium and manganese.

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Health Benefits Of Lingonberries

1. Reduce weight

A study has shown that lingonberries have promising effects on the weight of a person. Consumption of these berries may prevent weight gain due to a high-fat diet. They may also improve metabolic and physiological functions of the body and reduce the amount of fat in the adipose tissues, thus causing weight loss. [2]

2. Manage diabetes

Obesity, being one of the major global health issues, can progress to metabolic conditions like diabetes or insulin resistance. Lingonberries contain flavonoids and anthocyanins which are associated with decreased risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases. [3]

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3. Lower cholesterol

A high-fat diet may increase blood cholesterol levels and cause body fat gain. Lingonberries may help decrease cholesterol levels caused to a high-fat diet and lower the risk of obesity. The anti-inflammatory properties of these berries may also help prevent high-fat induced inflammatory changes.

4. Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is the cause of many chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. A diet of lingonberries has shown improvement in low-grade inflammation and inflammatory-related impairments. [4]

5. Boost immunity

Gut health is essential in maintaining the immune system and whole-body metabolism. [5] Lingonberries intake is linked with improved gut microbiota or gastrointestinal health due to the strong antioxidative and anti-inflammatory activities of the fruit.

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6. Remove dental plaque

A study has shown lingonberries potent antimicrobial effects against a range of microbes such as Streptococcus mutans, Candida and Lactobacilli, which are known to cause dental problems such as bleeding and plaque. Lingonberry mouth wash or fermented lingonberry juice show promising effects on oral problems and balances the oral flora. [6]

7. Protect against radiation damage

A study has shown that anthocyanins, an antioxidant have anti-radiation and immunoregulatory effects. As lingonberries are a rich source of anthocyanins, a selected dose of the fruit extract may help reduce toxicity caused by radiation or radioactive materials and can also help enhance the immune system, which often gets suppressed due to radiation. [7]

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8. Improve vision

Oxidative stress is the cause of many problems, including poor vision or any damage to the retina cells. Lingonberries are packed with antioxidants like anthocyanins and flavonoids. These bioactive compounds may help protect the retinal cells from damage due to free radicals and improve vision.

9. Promote heart health

Quercetin, a flavonoid in lingonberries is good for heart health due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects. Also, the presence of other flavonoids and anthocyanins in this berry may help reduce cholesterol levels and prevent the risk of heart diseases such as stroke.

10. Good for digestion

Lingonberries alter the composition of gut microbiota and improve the digestive system of the body. A large number of vitamins and minerals in the fruit may also help improve stomach related problems such as poor digestion, flatulence and constipation.

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Ways To Consume Lingonberries

Lingonberries are mostly consumed raw, however, due to their sour and sweet taste, they are preferred by food industries to make jam, juice, compote and syrup. In places where they are rarely available, they are either frozen or powdered.

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How To Prepare Lingonberry Jam?

Ingredients

  • Around one kilogram or two and a half pounds fresh lingonberries.
  • 6-8 cups of water.
  • A cup of white sugar.

Method

  • In a large pot, place lingonberries and water and bring to a boil.
  • Boil for around 30 minutes until the mixture gets translucent.
  • While the berries are on a boil, keep removing foam from the surface.
  • Put the sugar and keep stirring on a slow flame for a few more minutes.
  • Pour the jam in a jar, not fully but leaving a one-fourth inch headspace.
  • Close the lids put the jar in the refrigerator for a few hours before using it.

Remember: You can also use frozen lingonberries to make jams. Also, sugar helps increase the shelf life of the jam. Therefore, if you are planning to preserve the jam for a longer period, increase the amount of sugar.