Lingonberries vs Cranberries: Differences and Health Benefits

For most people, it’s quite difficult to tell lingonberries and cranberries apart.

Not only do the berries look similar to the untrained eye, but they also share a tart flavour. Adding to the confusion, the evergreen shrubs that the berries come from look very much alike—both belong to the heath family.

Lingonberries and cranberries make delicious and nutritious snacks. You can use them in juice, jams, purées, jellies, and porridge.

Despite their similarities, however, cranberries and lingonberries aren’t the same.

Lingonberries are scientifically recognized as Vaccinium vitis-idaea and grow in the boreal forests in the northern hemisphere.

Cranberries, on the other hand, thrive in bogs and seasonally flooded areas. Cranberries from Europe are called Vaccinium oxycoccos and those from the United States and Canada are known as Vaccinium macrocarpon.

Regardless of which berry you prefer, LOOV Food is the place to shop!

Before you start shopping, let’s have an in-depth look at both berries. To determine which berry best meets your needs and preferences, we’ll discuss their differences and health benefits.

What Exactly Are Lingonberries?

Organic Lingonberries freeze dried LOOV
Wild lingonberries growing in the northern hemisphere

Have you ever tasted traditional Swedish cuisine? If so, you may have sampled lingonberry sauce.

Lingonberries are native to the Arctic tundra throughout the northern hemisphere. During the growing season, the Arctic region is characterized by long days—providing plenty of light and cool temperatures. These conditions are ideal for producing richly flavoured wild lingonberries.

Lingonberries have a tart and slightly sweet flavour that nicely complements savoury dishes.

Swedes use them in all kinds of recipes. For instance, köttbullar is the classic Swedish meatball dish served with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.

Chicken and fish are also often served with lingonberry sauce. For breakfast, Swedes spread lingonberry jam on their toast.

Although cultivated lingonberries are more widely available, the highest-quality berries are those picked wild in Scandinavian countries.

LOOV Food’s lingonberries are handpicked from organic forests in Finland and Estonia. We freeze-dry our berries to preserve their nutrients, taste, and colour.

We have two lingonberry products in our catalogue: Freeze-Dried Organic Whole Wild Lingonberries, and Freeze-Dried Organic Wild Lingonberry Powder.

The whole freeze-dried berries are great as a snack on their own, while the powdered version is perfect for baked goods.

You can add either the powder or the dried fruit to your smoothie, yoghurt, cereal, porridge and other recipes.

Note: In other parts of the world, the lingonberry is known by names such as cowberry, bearberry, foxberry, dry-ground cranberry, and mountain cranberry.

What Exactly Are Cranberries?

Cranberries come from trailing evergreen vines and dwarf shrubs in the Vaccinium genus and subgenera:

  • Oxycoccos— common in Northern Europe
  • Macrocarpon—common in America and Canada

Vaccinium oxycoccos, or European cranberries, grow in Northern Europe’s acidic bogs. The red berries remain popular for wild harvesting in Nordic countries and Russia.

With low sugar content, cranberries are notoriously tart. To make their strong flavour more palatable, most people add them to smoothies or cereal, or chop them up to use as a garnish. You can also use cranberries to make salsas, chutneys, and relishes.

LOOV Food brings you wild, handpicked European cranberries from Scandinavian forests. Unlike cultivated cranberries, our berries are rich in nutrients and ecologically produced.

If you’re looking for a tart treat, check out LOOV Food’s Freeze-Dried Organic Wild Cranberry Powder.

What Makes Lingonberries and Cranberries Different?

The table below summarizes the differences between lingonberries and cranberries:

Lingonberries Cranberries
Vaccinium vitis-idaea Vaccinium oxycoccosWild European variety

 

Vaccinium macrocarponCultivated American variety

Tart with a slight sweetness Tart and bitter flavour
Grows in wet, acidic soils in boreal forests Grows in acidic bogs and seasonally flooded areas
Grow on small, evergreen, low-growing shrubs Grow on creeping vines or dwarf evergreen shrubs
Have green leaves that are slightly curved on the edges and bell-shaped, white or light pink flowers Have long branches covered with small, green leaves and dark pink flowers
A red berry size measuring about 6–10 mm (0.2–0.4 in) A red berry measuring about 9–14 mm (0.4–0.6 in)
Was widely used to treat scurvy in the past One of the most popular herbal remedies for urinary tract infections
Can be consumed fresh and raw, dried, or as a part of jams and sauces Usually dried and sweetened before consumption

 

Often consumed in the form of sweetened juice

The Health Benefits of Lingonberries and Cranberries

Organic Nordic lingonberrieswhole fruit lingonberries cupcakes
Whole fruit lingonberries cupcakes

They are both used to treat and prevent a variety of conditions. Due to its vitamin C content, lingonberries were used to treat and prevent scurvy in the past. In a similar way, cranberries have become the most popular home remedy for urinary tract infections.

The red colour of both berries comes from anthocyanins, antioxidants that are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Both also contain quercetin—a flavonoid that helps reduce swelling, kill cancer cells, and reduces the risk of heart disease.

The fruits contain other compounds that function as antioxidants, including manganese and vitamins A, B, C, and E. A 100-gram serving of lingonberries supplies 139% of the daily required intake for manganese.

Their nutritional value means that these berries come with a slew of health benefits. Let’s discuss some of them:

Boosting Your Gut Health

The bacteria and other microbes in your gut have a lot of say when it comes to your health. Research shows that gut microbiota is linked to your risk of obesity, depression, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Your diet plays a big role in determining the composition of your gut microbes. Including berries, such as lingonberries and cranberries, in your diet is one of the best ways to boost the health of your digestive system.

Testimonial from Geovanni Nolan
Testimonial from a happy customer

The fibre in these berries contains a type of prebiotic that feeds your gut bacteria. Animal studies show that lingonberries can alter gut microbiota and protect against low-grade inflammation.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to many conditions, including heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.

Aiding in Weight Management

If you want to achieve or maintain a slimmer waistline, add lingonberries and cranberries to your diet.

The berries help in weight management in various ways.

  • Low in calories: Both berries are very low in calories. A 100 gram serving of fresh lingonberries contains only 54 calories, while a similar serving of cranberries provides 46 calories.
  • High fibre content: When eaten as a whole berry, both varieties are high in fibre. That fibre keeps you full for longer—staving off unhealthy food cravings and overeating.
  • Promote gut health: By restoring the balance of microbes in your gut, cranberries and lingonberries may also help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Inhibit fat digestion: Some studies suggest that lingonberries contain a compound that inhibits an enzyme responsible for digesting fat.

One study involved mice being fed a high-fat diet. At the end of the three-month study, those that received 20% of their calories from lingonberries weighed 21% less and had significantly lower body fat than the control group.

Keeping Your Heart Healthy

Many kinds of berries, including cranberries and lingonberries, are known to be good for your heart health. That benefit is mainly due to their antioxidant content.

Polyphenols—one of several antioxidants—lowers the risk of heart disease by decreasing bad cholesterol while increasing levels of good cholesterol.

In a study on the metabolic effects of berries, mice were fed a high-fat diet. For some mice, lingonberries made up 20% of that diet. The mice that were fed lingonberries had 30% lower cholesterol levels than those in the control group.

Polyphenols and other antioxidants also prevent platelet build-up, reduce inflammation, and improve blood circulation, all of which make for a healthier heart.

Stabilising Your Blood Sugar

With low sugar content, lingonberries and cranberries won’t give you a sugar high.

Native Americans used lingonberries to help those suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular illness. Scientific study has proven that this remedy is effective.

Lingonberries and cranberries contain manganese, a mineral that helps control blood sugar levels. A 2012 study found that drinking one cup of cranberry juice daily helped regulate blood sugar in male patients with type 2 diabetes.

Similarly, a 2010 Canadian study found that regularly consuming lingonberries reduced the effect of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

AGEs are proteins or lipids that have bonded with sugar molecules. They damage a diabetic’s blood vessels and are also linked to the development and worsening of other degenerative diseases.

Reducing Your Cancer Risk

Fruits, including berries, have numerous minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that may help reduce cancer risk.

Preliminary studies show that the berries may help protect you against breast, colon, and ovarian cancers.

In one study, mice prone to intestinal tumours were fed freeze-dried, powdered lingonberries. At the end of the 10-week experiment, the mice that were fed lingonberries had 60% smaller and 30% fewer tumours than those in the control group.

Other Health Benefits

It’s almost impossible to cover all the amazing benefits of cranberries and lingonberries in one short article.

Other health benefits from the berries include:

  • Fighting gum disease
  • Boosting brain power
  • Nourishing the skin
  • Combating tooth decay
  • Warding off colds
  • Protecting the kidneys
  • Improving eye health

Buy the Best Wild Nordic Lingonberries and Cranberries

Now that you are equipped with information about both cranberries and lingonberries, it’s time to shop for them.

At LOOV Food, we are committed to bringing you the purest handpicked wild berries from Nordic forests.

All of our products:

  • Are 100% organic and natural
  • Contain zero additives, preservatives, and fillers
  • Have no GMOs or refined sugars

We have a careful production cycle that includes freeze-drying to preserve all the flavours and nutrients from our berries.

Take a look at what our customers have to say:

Carefully packaged and fresh lingonberry powder. I live down south so there are no lingonberries. I love the flavour and tartness. Great value for the money. You can use the powder in so many ways. I love it in my yogurt and made a cream pie in a macadamia nut crust at Christmas. Yummmm. – Jade

Moreover, we package our superfoods using environmentally-friendly materials and ensure that they’re delivered to you as consciously and sustainably as possible.

Get a taste of the magic of Nordic forests today. Buy freeze-dried lingonberry and cranberry whole berries and powders from LOOV Food.

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