There are a lot of berries in the world, unfortunately, there are some of them which aren’t as well known as the others. However, more berries are being appreciated in our modern times. There is one specific berry that is colored red and is a staple fruit in the European country Swede – the lingonberry.
Introduction to Lingonberries
Lingonberry is the native berries of Sweden. They are vibrant red in color and are small like most berries. Each berry measures around five to ten millimeters or 0.2 to 0.4 inches in diameter. The plant where lingonberry comes from has small flowers that are bell-shaped and are white and pink in colors. The berries are related to another type of berry called cranberries.
Although these berries are well-known in Sweden, they are also prominent in the countries Russia, Canada, U.S.A., and the other Scandinavian countries Denmark and Norway. The lingonberry plants can bear the temperature of at least -35 degrees Celsius.
Like other berries, the lingonberry can be made into various kinds of forms for consumption. One of the most influential ways of consuming lingonberries is by making them into jam. These jams are not your typical jam that just gets spread on bread. In Sweden, where they are widely used, they are instead used as a very important ingredient in most Swedish dishes; they are added in traditional dishes like Sunday steak, Swedish meatballs, or as toppings in their favorite porridge bowls.
Also, since lingonberries are regarded to be very similar to cranberries, they can also be used for recipes involving cranberries. It is also said that the berries almost taste similar. Like other kinds of berries, the lingonberries are also good as main ingredients for most desserts like pies, jams, muffins, and drinks such as lemonades and smoothies. Plus, they are still good even when added to savory meals. They tend to give off a unique combination of sweet and sour tastes that produce a great impact to most savory-flavored foods.
Lingonberry and its Impressive Benefits
What’s better than a delicious berry? A delicious and benefit-packed berry. This is where the lingonberry comes in. They have been famous since their plants are considered to be useful as a whole. Not only the berries are made for medicinal purposes, their leaves are also said to provide health benefits and are even made into medicinal herbs.
Rich in antioxidants
A number of studies were conducted to provide results on how the lingonberry can work against bacterial infections. One of them is a study by a university in Finland called the University of Helsinki. Researchers have tried looking for results and they are somehow given possible antibacterial properties of the berry. It is said to be capable of preventing bacterial infections, specifically ones that can be caused by the bacteria called staphylococcus. Staphylococcal infections are commonly caused by foodborne bacteria wherein the bacteria are produced from different procedures such as food handling, food shipment, and food processing.
The berries are said to contain phenolic antioxidants that are capable of fighting off bad bacteria because of their antimicrobial characteristics. They contain specific antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavonols, hydroxycinnamic acids, and others that are also found in cranberries. The richness of antioxidants makes lingonberries one of the best sources of infection-causing antioxidants.
Aids in the depletion of inflammation
The berries are described to have anti-inflammatory properties, and this has been proven by certain studies.
According to a study that was published by the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, lingonberries are effective in reducing inflammation. The subjects of the study were forty healthy men who are in their sixties, wherein half of the participants were made to consume the berries as part of their daily diet while the other twenty maintained their usual daily diets. After eight weeks, the twenty subjects who consumed the berries were seen to have an improved amount of quercetin in their bodies. Quercetin is a plant-based flavonol that provides anti-inflammatory properties that can help work against inflammation in the body, like arthritis for example.
Capable of killing cancer cells and in preventing their growth
Based on a study from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the berries have the possibility of killing cancer cells. The study was conducted by using around ten different fruit extracts to see their effects against certain types of cancer. The results were an impressive decrease in the growth of cancer cells from colon cancer and breast cancer. The rich vitamin C and antioxidant content of lingonberries are said to be the source of the cancer-killing properties, thus this study has given the berries a potential of being able to kill off cancer cells.
Reduces the risk of urinary tract infections in women
A study was performed by the Department of Pediatrics which is from the University of Oulu in Finland to test how the berries can work against urinary tract infection or UTI. The subjects selected were women who are infected with E. coli-caused urinary tract infections. They are grouped into three;
- The first group was asked to consume drinks that are infused with a mixture of cranberries and lingonberries daily for a period of six months
- The second group was given lactobacillus drinks to consume for five days a week in a period of twelve months,
- Third and last group were asked to continue with their usual diets.
The result of the study was a 20 percent reduction of UTI risk for the first group who consumed berry-infused drinks compared to groups two and three. It was then given the berry a reputation of being able to prevent the UTI infection from frequently coming back.
Prevents bacteria that may lead to mouth diseases
The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of the berries are also said to have the ability to prevent the forming of disease in the mouth that are caused by bacteria.
A few studies were published in the International Journal of Dentistry which proved that the berries are indeed effective in fighting off mouth bacteria. They have provided statements saying that the consumption of foods with antimicrobial properties is sufficient as bacteria-killing agents; one of which is the lingonberry.