Fresh summer fruits make for great snacks that can also help you feel your best! Take a look at how these health-boosting in-season picks.
A yummy way to ward off discomfort: Savor a cup of blueberries daily. Canadian scientists say these sweet treats brim with antioxidants (delphinidin, malvidin and kaempferol) that reduce inflammation by up to 25 percent, plus kick-start tissue healing, easing pain and increasing flexibility and mobility for 63 percent of women studied.
Trouble snoozing? Noshing on a sweet peach at bedtime helps you feel sleepy in just 12 minutes, plus adds up to 30 minutes to your nightly slumber, say Ohio State University scientists. Peaches’ nutrients (cryptoxanthin and chlorogenic acid) boost the formation of relaxing theta brain waves and curb stress hormone production.
The soluble fiber in apples prods the body to release a compound (interleukin-4) that energizes immune cells, helping them quickly destroy invading viruses. No wonder University of Illinois scientists say snacking on two apples daily can cut symptoms in half plus help you recover 50 percent faster if you catch a viral infection.
Delicious ideas: For a hearty breakfast, toss a diced apple, walnuts, and a pinch of cinnamon into yogurt. For dessert, fill a cored apple with brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pat of butter, then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Munching on 20 juicy cherries, one of the most beloved summer fruits, can shake off a glum mood in 15 minutes, and cut your risk of anxiety in half if you enjoy them daily. Credit the pigments that give cherries their red hue (anthocyanins). Australian scientists say these compounds soothe the central nervous system and calm the anxiety center of the brain.
Hint: Cherries with the darkest color have four times more anthocyanins than paler ones.
For effortless summer slimming, add a cup of raspberries to your daily diet. Yale scientists say raspberry compounds (flavonoids) speed metabolism and reduce appetite, cutting food intake by 20 percent. The result? Enjoying this sweet-tart snack daily could help you shed 2 pounds weekly, even if you don’t count calories!
Eating 1⁄2 cup of blackberries daily visibly reduces fine lines, redness and flaking in as little as 10 days, helping skin look up to five years younger, say University of Hawaii scientists. Thanks goes to compounds (ellagitannins) that reduce inflammation plus encourage the formation of healthy new skin cells.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.