One of the best parts (read: only) about winter is all the seasonal fruit available. But which ones should you be adding to your diet? From energy-boosting grapes to bloat-blasting pears, you’ll be feeling your best with these in-season picks.
Energy Booster: Grapes
When your get-up-and-go is gone, enjoying a heaping cup of grapes can give you a two-hour energy boost. Canadian scientists say grapes’ polyphenols switch on liver enzymes that help burn stored glycogen for fuel. What’s more, they tamp down the production of fatigue-triggering inflammation within 72 hours if you snack on them daily.
Happiness Hero: Persimmons
Persimmons have a unique honey-like flavor, and munching on one when you’re feeling blah could help you feel sunnier in just 12 minutes, British scientists say. These gems have tannic and gallic acids, compounds that increase the brain’s production of mood-boosting beta waves.
Stomach Soother: Apples
Many apple varieties are at their sweet peak right now, and UCLA scientists say crunching on one daily prevents bloat and indigestion, plus cuts symptoms by 55 percent if you’re already uncomfortable. How? Apple skin compounds trigger digestive enzyme release.
Delicious Ideas: Sliced apple, slivered almonds and greens for a healthy side. For dessert, fill a cored apple with brown sugar, cinnamon and a pat of butter, then bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Focus Enhancer: Tomatoes
Tomatoes’ reddish pigment (lycopene) is a powerful anti-aging compound for brain cells. No wonder University of Kentucky researchers have found that women who savor a daily 1-cup serving of fresh tomatoes (or 1⁄2 cup of tomato sauce, or 12 oz. of the juice) are 75 percent more likely to feel clearheaded and sharp all day long!
Skin Smoother: Pumpkin
Cooler temperatures can spell trouble for delicate skin. The good news: Adding 1⁄3 cup of pumpkin (fresh or canned) to your daily diet can erase dryness, redness and flaking, making your skin look up to five years younger, Yale University researchers say. Credit pumpkin’s stores of carotenoids, nutrients that encourage the formation of healthy new epidermal cells.
Bloat Blaster: Pear
Great news from Stanford University scientists: Snacking on a large, juicy pear daily can help you shed 4 pounds of trapped abdominal fluids in two weeks! The fruit’s skin is brimming with compounds (phenolic phytonutrients) that enhance the ability of kidney cells to release excess fluids stored in tissues.
TIP: To cook with pears, reach for the Bosc variety — their firm flesh makes them ideal for baking.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.