HELSINKI — Lingonberries probably aren’t the first fruit that comes to mind when you think of buying some juice, but according to a new study, individuals dealing with high blood pressure should try drinking more lingonberry juice. An experimental set of research conducted at the University of Helsinki found that long-term consumption of lingonberry juice can both lower high blood pressure and improve overall blood vessel functioning.
High blood pressure is a very common condition among adults. In fact, roughly one in three American adults are estimated to be suffering from a form of hypertension. While there are a number of medication-based strategies to combat elevated blood pressure, one’s dietary nutrition can also go a long way towards either worsening or alleviating the condition.
On that note, various studies have found that foods containing polyphenols, or micro-nutrients containing antioxidants, can help lower one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Many fruits, such as cranberries, bilberries, and lingonberries, contain lots of polyphenols.
So, for her doctoral thesis, study author Anne Kivimäki decided to look into the cardiovascular effects and benefits of consuming cold-pressed lingonberry juice, cranberry juice and blackcurrant juice. For the research, a group of rats suffering from genetically-induced high blood pressure were fed one of the three juices daily for a period of 8-10 weeks.
Diluted lingonberry juice was found to significantly lower the rats’ high blood pressure, while more pure forms of lingonberry juice greatly improved the rats’ blood vessel function, effectively restoring the vessels to a healthy level of functioning. However, the juice was not able to completely restore the rats’ blood pressure readings to normal, an observation that the research team attributed to the rats’ age-related elevation of blood pressure caused by their genetic predisposition towards the condition. Furthermore, lingonberry juice was found to prevent the expression of genes connected to aorta inflammation.
Researchers believe lingonberry juice’s benefits are likely strengthened by its ability to lower overall low-grade inflammation in the body.
“These experimental findings need evidence from comparative clinical studies on healthy individuals with slightly elevated blood pressure who, at this point, have been given nutritional and lifestyle guidance instead of drug therapy,” Kivimäki explains in a release. “Lingonberry juice is no substitute for medication, but it is a good dietary supplement.”