Could snacking on fruit help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, balance your blood sugar, and relieve stress? Believe it or not, the answer is yes! Enjoying some fall fruits can help with all those things and more. Here’s the scoop on how six in-season picks can help you feel your best!
Pears: Weight Loss Heroes
Snack more and slim down faster? Yes! Penn State scientists say munching on a pear each morning could trim 180 calories from your daily diet, and 12 pounds off your figure in one year. How? These fall fruits offer a unique blend of fiber and plant acids that calm the hypothalamus — the brain region that controls hunger pangs.
Pomegranate Seeds: Blood Pressure Tamers
Enjoying a half cup of sweet-tart pomegranate seeds (or four ounces of their juice) daily trims up to eight points off your blood pressure in four weeks, a study in the Journal of Nutritional Science found. These ruby red jewels boast five times more artery-relaxing compounds (ellagitannins) than other fall fruits.
Plums: Blood Sugar Balancers
Plums are tasty in sweet and savory dishes, and adding one or two to a meal erases tiredness for up to three hours, UCLA scientists say. Why? Plums’ nutrients activate genes that heighten insulin sensitivity and blood-glucose control. Not sure how to include plums in your diet? Here are two delicious ideas: For lunch, toss sliced plums with salad. For dessert, top halved plums with cinnamon sugar and bake at 400°F for 20–25 minutes.
Persimmons: Stress Stoppers
When your mood is “meh,” biting into a persimmon (it has a honeylike flavor) helps you feel sunnier in 12 minutes, say British scientists. Thanks goes to the fruit’s rich stores of tannic and gallic acids that stimulate your brain’s limbic system, upping the production of mood-boosting beta waves.
Pumpkins: Ache Enders
A yummy way to ward off aches: Savor two and a half cups of pumpkin (fresh or canned) weekly. Researchers at the USDA say pumpkin is packed with natural anti-inflammatories and painkillers (carotenoids) that ease inflammation by 25 percent, plus kick-start tissue healing, quashing pain and boosting flexibility and mobility in seven days.
Apples: Lung Builders
Crunching an apple each day is a great way to support lung health. That’s because flavonoids in apple skins reduce damaging airway inflammation, plus strengthen tissues lining lungs. No wonder Finnish researchers say apple-lovers have a 32 percent lower risk of pneumonia, bronchitis, and chronic coughs, and bounce back three days faster if they fall ill.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.