As January is nearing it’s end (although it feels like it just began). This is the time to refocus on keeping up the promises you made to yourself, about looking after yourself better, providing more of the good and less of the bad stuff to your body.
We all need help with the balance of antioxidants in our bodies, as they (antioxidants) are the ones who battle endlessly to keep our bodies in balance and fighting off the effects of illness, stress and poor lifestyle habits.
This week, I’m focusing on a single berry that has some superpowers.. not really, but almost.
Foxberry, bearberry, cougarberry or quailberry…
This berry is so wonderful, it has at least 25 different common names in English. We are in fact talking about lingonberry – that can also be called mountain cranberry.
These beautiful red berries contain plentiful organic acids, vitamin A (as beta carotene), vitamin C, as well as B vitamins. They also contain potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Of these wonderful substances, for example vitamin C and the B vitamins are water soluble, which means you need to include food sources rich in them in your diet daily, to keep the levels topped up. Beta carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. We need vitamin A for healthy skin, our immune system, good eye health and vision. The amazing fact about dietary beta carotene is that the body only converts as much as it needs. So no need to worry about having too much vitamin A in your body, if you are consuming lots of beta carotene rich foods.
Studies suggest that lingonberries are rich in proanthocyanidins (PAC), which are compounds that may help fight inflammation. Inflammation is a process in which the body’s white blood cells and substances they manufacture protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.
According to the Harvard Medical School “Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to reduce inflammation lies not in the medicine cabinet, but in the refrigerator. By following an anti-inflammatory diet you can fight off inflammation for good.”
So why not try to include as much anti-inflammatory food items in your diet as you can?
Imagine if a single berry is capable of all this – what is a well balanced, healthy diet , rich in anti-inflammatory foods able to achieve? Of course, no one can and should not life off berries, but to include them in your daily diet is a really great solution to keep your antioxidant levels topped up.
Sure, it can be difficult to always find fresh berries to top your breakfast off with and snacking on fresh lingonberries might not be for everyone, due to their crisp and tart taste. You might consider buying them frozen or making a compote out of them. And as Scandinavians tend to do, have a little dollop of the compote with your meal, every so often. You can also add them to your breakfast porridge in powder form, sprinkle some on your yogurt as the afternoon snack and use it in baking your own healthy flapjacks or granola bars.
Be kind to yourself
Ease of use is essential in a busy life, so it’s really good to remember to stock your freezer full of all the colourful goodness (berries, fruits and veggies) and not to use them sparingly – they are frozen for freshness and contain a lot of the vitamins and minerals they had when still in the ground.