Earth’s mighty fruits do more than just fill us up with delicious, sweet flavors. Research shows how powerful these treats can be for improving our health, from easing stress to sharpening focus to boosting happiness. Find out the powers of cantaloupe, cherries, plums, blueberries, and strawberries below.
Cantaloupe may soothe physical and mental stress.
Feel serene on busy days by adding a cup of cantaloupe to your daily diet. Per research from the American Chemical Society, credit goes to the melon’s vitamin C, which calm and soothe the adrenal glands, tamping down the release of the stress hormone cortisol. Melon’s vitamin C and beta-carotene content may also reduce oxidative stress in the body.
Cherries may erase aches.
Compounds called anthocyanins not only give cherries their pretty red hue, they also calm overactive pain nerves and ease tissue inflammation. Indeed, Michigan State research suggests that eating 20 cherries daily may relax tight muscles and boost flexibility in as little as one week, plus ease chronic aches and pains as effectively as aspirin and ibuprofen. Tip: Ripe cherries (which are a deep, rich red color) offer the biggest anthocyanin boost.
Plums may sharpen your focus.
Feeling foggy? Biting into a plum may improve your focus. A study published in Ancient Science of Life found that feeding mice concentrated amounts of a plum extract improved the mice’s learning and memory. Credit goes to the antioxidant activities in the extract.
Find plums too tart? Grilling them (cut side down) for five minutes caramelizes their sugars, bringing out sweetness.
Blueberries may instantly energize you.
Nibbling on a handful of blueberries could perk you up plus keep your energy high, as told in a Neural Regeneration Research study. How? Flavonoids in these little gems prevent oxidative stress (which can lead to sluggish thinking) and boost vascular health, which in turn may improve blood flow to the brain.
DELICIOUS IDEAS: For a savory twist, sprinkle blueberries, chopped pecans and feta over spinach, then drizzle with vinaigrette. Or add one cup of blueberries to lemon cake batter and bake as normal.
Strawberries may help smooth skin.
Strawberries are high in vitamin C, which has anti-inflammatory qualities that may reduce bumps and signs of inflammation on your skin. Also, this potent vitamin is essential for the production of collagen. It’s possible, then, that upping your daily strawberry count will help improve the texture of your skin. To start, try nibbling on one cup per day.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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