The Lingonberry Can Counteract the Effects of Fatty Foods, Fighting Inflammatory Conditions That Cause Heart Diseases and Diabetes

Yle.fi
Markus Leskinen 5 Nov. 2019

Link to article in Finnish

The lingonberry can help in many serious ailments caused by low-grade inflammatory conditions.

The lingonberry can have significant health benefits that counteract many of the problems caused by overweight according to a recent study by the University of Tampere, which looked at the effect of lingonberries on obesity and low-grade inflammatory conditions in the body. Although the health benefits of many berries found in Finnish forests are well documented, the lingonberry is one of the least studied berries. More and more, research is being conducted, however. Professor Eeva Moilanen, who led the research at the University of Tampere, is excited about the results, saying she already ate all the lingonberries she had in her freezer.

“Lingonberries make a good addition to a wholesome diet,” she says.

The anti-inflammatory properties of the lingonberry may also help to treat other diseases. According to Professor Moilanen, cellular level studies suggest that the compounds found in the lingonberry could help with rheumatism and other inflammatory diseases of the body. She speculates that compared with berries and other whole foods grown further south, those found in the Arctic may contain more compounds with health benefits. The environmental conditions, such as abundant light and low temperatures, can affect the berries’ phenolic compounds and the proportions of these. However, more research into berries is needed since any health claims about foods or cosmetics in the EU demand backing by clear evidence for their approval. Otherwise, the product cannot be marketed based on its health benefits. Due to this, further research on the lingonberry is needed in terms of weight management and the prevention of the comorbidities associated with obesity.

The North Boasts Lingonberries That Are Particularly Wholesome – Rats Given Lingonberries Show Clear Bodily Changes

Helsingin sanomat
Katarina Malmberg 12 Dec. 2019

Link to article in Finnish

The polyphenols found in the lingonberry can alleviate hypertension. Research shows that a person’s diet alongside pharmaceutical treatment clearly plays a significant role in the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

According to a recent dissertation, lingonberry juice can alleviate hypertension. A study conducted by Master of Food Science Anne Kivimäki at the University of Helsinki gave promising results, showing that drinking lingonberry juice not only alleviates hypertension, but also counteracts low-grade inflammatory conditions and improves cardiovascular function. Any low-grade inflammatory condition increases the risk of cardio-vascular diseases, memory disorders and other diseases, such as diabetes. The polyphenols found in the lingonberry manifestly improve vascular capacity.

“Our eight-week study showed that lingonberry juice clearly alleviated hypertension in rats that already had the condition,” says Anne Kivimäki.

No direct conclusions about alleviating hypertension in humans can be drawn from the study. However, based on this study and earlier ones, a person’s diet alongside pharmaceutical treatment can be said to play a significant role in the prevention and treatment of hypertension.

The lingonberry can help in weight management.

In comparison with other berries, the lingonberry contains some polyphenol compounds that are particularly good for vascular function. The lingonberry plants that grow in the northern forests produce these compounds in their berries with great efficiency. The reasons for this include the bright Nordic summer, but also the challenging growing conditions, in which the berries produce the compounds in order to survive the varying conditions.

A few hundred grams per day should suffice.

People may not need to eat lingonberries in quite the same proportion as the quantity given to the rats in the study, but according to Anne Kivimäki, a few hundred grams per day should suffice. Lingonberries are very safe to include in your diet. Based on this study, the lingonberry would appear to affect the regulation of the renin-angiotensin system in one way or another. For example, the efficacy of antihypertensive agents is based on this regulation.

“Based on these experimental studies, we can proceed to clinical studies on healthy individuals who have slightly elevated blood pressure and who are recommended dietary and lifestyle guidance, but not pharmaceutical treatment just yet,” explains Anne Kivimäki. “Lingonberry juice won’t replace pharmaceutical treatment, but it is a good dietary supplement.”

Finnish forests yield a super berry, called the lingonberry, which keeps proving itself increasingly healthful.

Helsingin sanomat
Katarina Malmberg 29 April 2019
Link to article

Lingonberries have been used to control children’s oral yeast from as far back as folklore can tell. Even today, many child health clinics advise parents to try the juice of lingonberry mash as a home treatment in case of a yeast infection, or thrush, on the baby’s tongue. 

In view of this, Pirjo Pärnänen, DDS, began to study lingonberries, but also bilberries, cranberries, lemons, strawberries and blackcurrants. Berries and fruit are known to contain many antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds we obtain from our nutriments, but the body also produces them itself. Antioxidants are thought to have significance for the pathogenesis of many chronic diseases, such as cardio-vascular diseases and cancer, and possibly for many of the processes related to ageing.

The lingonberry also contains anthocyanins, which are health enhancing flavonoids. Anthocyanins affect blood coagulation, among other things, and give the lingonberry its red colour. Additionally, the lingonberry contains many compounds that prevent the low-grade inflammations of the body.

Dr. Pärnänen’s research showed that under laboratory conditions the lingonberry was the most effective eliminator of candida, the bacteria that cause yeast infections, and streptococcus mutans, the bacterium which most commonly causes dental caries. According to Dr. Pärnänen, the lingonberry contains acidity, but also some other property, which reduces yeast growth, among other things. A study conducted in Taiwan had similar results, namely that the phenolic compounds in the lingonberry prevent the growth of bacteria associated with gum diseases.

Botanist Sinikka Piippo describes studies conducted on humans showing that the quercitrin in the lingonberry and other berries has a number of effects, such as lowering blood pressure and preventing inflammations and rising blood sugar.

Furthermore, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is collecting a summary, for instance, of the empirical evidence found in Finland for the nutritional and health effects of the lingonberry. Finnish research provided strong evidence at least for the alleviating effect of the cranberry on urinary tract infections, but also of relief to a moderate degree from the lingonberry. One of these reports suggests that the lingonberry should be the subject of considerable further study.

During her career as a botanist at the University of Helsinki and elsewhere, Sinikka Piippo has lectured on the health effects of berries. According to her, the oestrogenic lignans of the lingonberry reduce the risk of cancers of hormonal origin, such as breast cancer, to a moderate degree. Lignans are phenol compounds similar to flavonoids.

Lignans in the body produce metabolites, called enterolactones, and the effects of plant lignans can be evaluated by measuring the enterolactone count in the blood. Increasing a person’s supply of lignans thus increases the quantity of enterolactones in the blood. People with a low enterolactone count have a higher than average risk of getting diseases, such as coronary artery disease or breast cancer.

According to Sinikka Piippo, many berries contain plenty of phenolic compounds. Such berries include the lingonberry, but also the blackcurrant, the elderberry, the blackberry, the cloudberry and the sea buckthorn.