It's no secret that the easiest way to improve your overall health is to start from the inside out. This means taking stock of the food you eat and making the necessary changes that'll positively affect your body. One of our favorite ways to do this is by incorporating delicious, healing fruits to our diet. From fruits that have been shown to enhance your mood to those that'll give you that extra bit of energy you're craving, these are the six sweet fruits that'll help rejuvenate your body.
To Lift Your Mood: Plums
If you’re feeling glum, biting into a plum could put a smile on your face in as little as 10 minutes. Thanks goes to the fruit’s neochlorogenic acid, a compound that stimulates your brain to increase the production of mood-boosting alpha waves. Plums are delicious raw but can also be grilled on the barbecue. Try drizzling them with a little honey and cinnamon!
To Boost Your Energy: Strawberries
Great news from Spanish scientists: Nibbling on one cup of juicy strawberries daily could raise your energy by 35 percent in two days. Turns out, the berries contain plant compounds (pelargonidin and cyanidin) that heighten the ability of muscle and brain cells to soak up and burn energizing blood glucose for fuel.
To Increase Focus: Peaches
Forgot where you put your reading glasses? Snack on a peach! Scientists at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut say peach nutrients (betacarotene, zeaxanthin, and fruit sugars) prompt brain cells to produce focus-enhancing dopamine, erasing brain fog for three hours.
Delicious Ideas: For a savory snack, top a slice of toast with 1/4 cup of cottage cheese, four peach slices, one slice of prosciutto, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette. Or try a sweet sip: Freeze four sliced peaches, then blend with three tablespoons of honey, one teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of water. Enjoy!
To Tame Your Tensions: Gooseberries
Gooseberries get their sweet-tart flavor from malic acid—a compound that stimulates the brain to increase the production of stress-busting beta waves, British researchers say. Enjoy 1/2 cup of gooseberries when you’re rattled, and your edginess and tension could disappear in just five minutes.
To Improve Your Sleep: Cherries
Nosh on 12 sweet cherries an hour before bedtime, and you could drift off 20 minutes faster, plus cut your risk of pesky middle-of-the-night awakenings in half, Canadian researchers report. These tasty gems are nature’s number-one source of sleep-inducing melatonin, and they’re also packed with anti-inflammatory compounds (anthocyanins) that calm sleep-disrupting muscle and joint pain.
To Trim Your Waistline: Cantaloupe
You’ll lose weight significantly faster — and shed up to five pounds of belly bloat a month — if you add one cup of cantaloupe to your daily diet. UCLA scientists say this melon brims with enzymes that nourish your liver, maximizing its ability to flush out stored fats and fluids.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine