Berries are an amazing group of fruits with a wide variety of chemical compounds that confer benefits to our bodies. Berries contain a group of chemicals called polyphenols which are potent antioxidants that help protect the fruits tender flesh from the sun’s radiation. These polyphenols also work effectively within our bodies to neutralise free radicals from environmental factors such as pollutants and from the metabolism of foods that we ingest.
The benefits of berries seem to be endless. Cranberries have been used for years to treat urinary tract infections, whilst blueberries appear to protect our blood vessels and circulatory system. Raspberries are high in lutein which is a powerful antioxidant known to protect our eyes whilst several studies indicate that strawberries may help prevent the damage to our genetic material.
A new berry that has received attention by scientists is Lingonberry because it contains very high concentrations of polyphenols and is thus likely to confer even greater protective properties. Native to the Scandinavian countries, Lingonberries are small red berries the size of a pea and are also known as cowberries. They are related to cranberries, blueberries and bilberries.
The benefits of Lingonberries
Very hard to find outside of the Scandinavian countries, there are a number of lingonberry products available which include jams, juices and juice-based products as well as syrups. These generally contain large amounts of sugars and it is the lingonberry extract without the sugar that is going to be of maximum benefit.
Several studies prove that lingonberries can lower levels of inflammatory molecules in the body. Inflammation is one of the biggest causal factors for many age-related disorders including cardiovascular concerns and cognitive function.
Lingonberries have been shown to block the effects of free radical damage due to their very high content of antioxidant polyphenols. It has also been suggested that lingonberries may help to replace glutathione, the master antioxidant in our bodies. We need a variety of antioxidants to protect our blood vessels, nervous system, eyes and all the glands in our bodies against free radical damage.
A specific group of antioxidants, called proanthocyanidins found in lingonberries, have been shown to be very effective against the Staphylococcus bacteria responsible for a wide variety of infections.
One specific study has shown that lingonberries protect the linings, called the endothelial linings, of blood vessels. It appears that lingonberries help the effect of nitric oxide, a molecule that that is required for the blood vessels to relax and encourage the proper flow of blood. This effect was almost twice that from cranberries and blackcurrants.
A Canadian study found that lingonberries were able to reduce the effect of AGEs. AGEs are by-products of sugar metabolism that accumulate in people with high blood sugar. These contribute to the damage in the blood vessels of diabetics and may also contribute to kidney disease, eye diseases and circulatory concerns. Naturopathic treatments have always recommended exercise, eating low glycemic index foods (complex carbohydrates and low sugar foods), cooking at low temperatures and using blood sugar balancing herbs such as cinnamon and fenugreek. Lingonberry extracts can be added to this list.
Lingonberries help prevent weight gain
The results of a study carried out by the Lund University is Sweden were recently published in the peer reviewed Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism which proved the efficacy of lingonberries and their ability to prevent weight gain.
In this study, all subjects were fed with a high fat diet for 13 weeks which was intended to mimic the fatty western diet. The subjects were divided into groups and 20% of their diet comprised of berries. Each group was fed with a different berry which included raspberries, blackberries, acai berries and lingonberries.
After three months, the subjects that were fed a high fat lingonberry diet had the best results. Their weight gain was no different to the subjects that were fed a low fat diet and additionally their blood sugar and insulin levels were low as well.
The researchers concluded that lingonberries prevent the harmful effects of a high fat diet and suggest that lingonberries could be useful in preventing obesity, aid in weight loss goals, and its related disorders. As I have pointed out earlier, it is not easy to obtain lingonberries and hence my recommendation would be to use Body Perfect Lingonberry which is going to be of greater benefit as it contains all the active compounds present in the natural berry, but without the sugar.
I believe that Body Perfect Lingonberry does have a place for people who are prone to weight gain and also for those who would wish to encourage weight loss, however they should not rely on just this supplement and should have a balanced and varied diet, take exercise and drink moderately.