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Can lingonberries help control diabetes?

Dr. Peter Bongiorno, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
Well known in Sweden, the lingonberry is related to the cranberry, bilberry and blueberry. Native Americans in North America have a history of using the lingonberry to help those suffering with diabetes and cardiovascular illness. Modern research is starting to catch up with what the Native Americans already knew.

A Canadian study with First Nation Cree subjects found that the lingonberry was able to reduce the effect of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) in people with diabetes. AGEs are the byproduct of sugars and heated protein molecules in the body that accumulate in patients with high blood sugar. These AGEs contribute to the damage in a diabetic's vessels. This damage is a major contributor to kidney disease, eye disease and circulation problems that can lead to skin sores and amputation.

Naturopathic treatments for diabetes include exercise, eating low glycemic index foods (low sugar content) that are cooked at low temperatures and are minimally processed, and blood-sugar-balancing herbs like gymnema and cinnamon. Now, it seems we can add lingonberry to this list.

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