ligonberry

The Incredible Health Benefits of Lingonberry

Lingonberry (also called cowberry) a small tart red edible berry of the Vaccinium vitis-idaea plant, native to North America and the Scandinava. It belongs to the same genus, Vaccinium as cranberry, and is often confused with it. They have a sour taste mixed with a bit of sweetness, the reason why they are not popularly eaten raw. They popularly come in jams, jellies, juices, syrups, wines, and can pair well with many foods (1, 2).

Lingonberries have a long history of use as food and medicine, and thus its consumption is becoming very popular in recent years. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phenolics (flavonoids, and catechins amongst others) which account for their beneficial bioactivities in the body (3). The following are some health benefits of lingonberries.

  1. Lingonberries are a rich source of manganese, supplying 139% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake) for manganese per 100g (4). Manganese is vital for the metabolism of carbohydrates and fat, and the absorption of calcium needed for the formation of good bone and teeth tissues. Manganese is also crucial for the development of blood clotting factors and sex hormones (5). Additionally, manganese is a component of superoxide dismutase, a major antioxidant enzyme in the body that catalyzes the breakdown of reactive oxygen species, that cause oxidative stress and cell destruction. Oxidative stress is involved in the pathogenesis of many physiological and pathological diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, ischemia, and neurodegenerative diseases. Vitamin C is also a potent antioxidant that is well demonstrated to prevent oxidative stress (6).

  2. Lingonberry consumption can help in loosing weight. They contain fewer calories (59 calories per 100g) and almost no fat (0.5g per 100g) making them weight-loss friendly (4). Several animal studies have reported that lingonberries consumption prevents weight gain induced by a high fat diet as well as body fat accumulation. Another animal study reported that dietary supplementation with lingonberries significantly changed gut microbiota composition, resulting in a low Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio. The Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio is important in maintaining the intestinal homeostasis and a high Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio (high Firmicutes, low Bacteroidetes) is typical with obesity (7). Firmicutes breakdown carbohydrates like dietary fiber and resistant starch in the gut that the body’s enzymes cannot digest increasing the energy production from food. They therefore have a negative influence on fat and glucose metabolism and as such called “bad “gut microbes (8).

  3. Flavonoids like anthocyanins in lingonberries help enhance good vision by absorbing ultraviolet light and blue light that damage the eyes. Consuming these berries raises blood levels of these anthocyanins that are transported to the retina of the eyes (9). Anthocyanins also have an antiangiogenic effect which is crucial in the prevention of several diseases like cancers, cardiovascular disease, and nephropathy (10).

  4. Lingonberries supply quercetin, which has anti-inflammatory properties and help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. They have an antihistamine effect by helping to stabilize the cells that release histamine. They also have been proven to increase energy levels, fights fatigue, and fight against infections (11, 12).

Lingonberry is an exotic food worth including in your diet. Its consumption is very beneficial for the health. However, moderation in consumption is the key as with any other food, as they contain tannins whose excess consumption can cause nausea and vomiting.

 

REFERENCES

  1. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2020). lingonberry. In Encyclopedia Britannica.

  2. LINGONBERRY: Overview, uses, side effects, precautions, interactions, dosing and reviews. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2022, from Webmd.com website: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-813/lingonberry

  3. Ek, S., Kartimo, H., Mattila, S., & Tolonen, A. (2006). Characterization of phenolic compounds from lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 54(26), 9834–9842. doi:10.1021/jf0623687

  4. Frida - Fødevare ID: 769. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2022, from Fooddata.dk website: https://frida.fooddata.dk/food/769?

  5. Manganese. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2022, from Nih.gov website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Manganese-HealthProfessional/

  6. Younus, H. (2018). Therapeutic potentials of superoxide dismutase. International Journal of Health Sciences, 12(3), 88–93.

  7. Heyman-Lindén, L., Kotowska, D., Sand, E., Bjursell, M., Plaza, M., Turner, C., … Berger, K. (2016). Lingonberries alter the gut microbiota and prevent low-grade inflammation in high-fat diet fed mice. Food & Nutrition Research, 60, 29993. doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.29993

  8. Stojanov, S., Berlec, A., & Štrukelj, B. (2020). The influence of probiotics on the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio in the treatment of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Microorganisms, 8(11), 1715. doi:10.3390/microorganisms8111715

  9. Khoo, H. E., Azlan, A., Tang, S. T., & Lim, S. M. (2017). Anthocyanidins and anthocyanins: colored pigments as food, pharmaceutical ingredients, and the potential health benefits. Food & Nutrition Research, 61(1), 1361779. doi:10.1080/16546628.2017.1361779

  10. Joshua, M., Okere, C., Sylvester, O., Yahaya, M., Precious, O., Dluya, T., … Jahng, W. J. (2017). Disruption of Angiogenesis by Anthocyanin-Rich Extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa. International Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research, 8(2), 299–307. doi:10.14299/ijser.2017.02.009

  11. David, A., Arulmoli, A. V., & Parasuraman, R. (2016). Overviews of biological importance of quercetin: A bioactive flavonoid. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 10(20), 84–89. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.194044

  12. Stewart, L. K., Soileau, J. L., Ribnicky, D., Wang, Z. Q., Raskin, I., Poulev, A., … Gettys, T. W. (2008). Quercetin transiently increases energy expenditure but persistently decreases circulating markers of inflammation in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, 57(7 Suppl 1), S39-46. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2008.03.003

 

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