The most popular juices tend to come from larger fruits like apples and grapefruits. Less common, though not unusual, are juices made from berries, ones that typically focus on the most commonly produced berry crops like blueberries and strawberries. A new study has found that a lesser-known and relatively uncommon juice (in North America, at least) made from a berry called lingonberry may also be something humans should drink, particularly if they suffer from high blood pressure caused by inflammation.
Lingonberries resemble cranberries; they are native to the colder northern climates in North America, Europe, and Asia. Consuming these berries as juice was common in many older cultures and drinks involving the berry can be purchased in parts of Europe. Generally speaking, however, lingonberry juice isn’t something you’re likely to find at the average supermarket in many places, particularly North America.
That’s a shame in light of findings from a study out of the University of Helsinki. As detailed in the doctoral thesis from Anne Kivimäki, drinking cold-pressed lingonberry juice for at least a couple of months may improve impaired blood vessel function and ‘significantly’ lower high blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension.
The study involved lab rats that were genetically engineered to suffer from hypertension. Rats were given either lingonberry juice, blackcurrant juice, or cranberry juice to drink for the duration of 8 to 10 weeks. Benefits were seen in mice that drank diluted and higher concentration lingonberry juice during this time.
The juice was found to stop the expression of genes linked to low levels of inflammation in blood vessels, which can cause narrowing that leads to elevated blood pressure. It is also possible that the polyphenols in lingonberry juice may positively impact the central blood pressure regulator called the renin-angiotensin system, among other things, as well.
Kivimäki points out that additional studies involving humans are needed to investigate this potential health benefit associated with lingonberries. As well, people suffering from high blood pressure should be sure to continue taking their medication — this condition is serious and a potentially protective dietary compound isn’t an appropriate substitute for medical treatment.