Some of our favorite fruits are at their peak during the summer and can boost our health in many ways. Feel your best with these six in-season berries that help tame tiredness, soothe pain, and more!
Tiredness Tamer: Strawberries
For a caffeine-free energy boost, dip into a heaping cup of strawberries. Stanford researchers say the seasonal gems brim with compounds (pelargonidin and cyanidin) that coax muscle and brain cells to burn fatty acids for fuel, giving you 35 percent more energy for three hours, plus helping you shake off chronic tiredness in just 72 hours if you enjoy them daily.
Pain Soother: Boysenberries
To sidestep aches and pains, work boysenberries into your diet. New Zealand researchers say these in-season berries contain twice as many anti-inflammatory compounds compared to other fruits, and eating a handful of them daily helps tame muscle and joint pain even more effectively than aspirin!
Worry Ender: Sweet Cherries
Snack away stress? Yes, you can! Canadian researchers found that noshing on 24 sweet cherries tames tension in 15 minutes, and cuts the risk of chronic stress and anxiety in half if you enjoy them daily. Thanks goes to the fruit’s anthocyanins that quickly calm the anxiety center of the brain. Tip: Ripe, richly colored cherries have four times the anthocyanins than firmer, paler ones picked before their prime.
Sleep Deepener: Blackberries
The pigments that give blackberries their color (ellagitannins) prompt your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin. And UCLA researchers say nibbling on 3⁄4 cup of them in the evening can help you drift off in just 30 minutes.
Delicious ideas: Blend 3⁄4 cup of berries with one cup of slightly softened frozen vanilla yogurt and a little sweetener; freeze and enjoy as a bedtime snack. In the mood for savory? Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the berries, sprinkle with sugar and sliced basil, then toss.
Fat Blaster: Red Currrants
Red currants taste like a cross between raspberries and rhubarb (they’re tart, but not so mouth-puckering that you can’t eat them on their own), and snacking on 1⁄4 cup between meals could help you shed six pounds this month, say Swedish scientists. They credit currants’ fruit acids — compounds that energize the appetite-control center in the brain, staving off diet-sabotaging hunger pangs.
Skin Smoother: Blueberries
Eating a daily bowl of blueberries can visibly reduce fine lines, redness and flaking in just 10 days. That’s the word from University of Hawaii researchers, who say this fruit contains a rare plant compound (delphinidin) that speeds the formation of firming collagen and elastin, plus prompts the growth of healthy new epidermal cells.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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