Many of us will have grown up with the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” but were never given any explanation of why. Science now suggests that phytonutrients which include flavonoids from fruits such as apples, blueberries and grapes, may offer various health benefits including to our immune system and acting as anti-inflammatories.
Moving further round the fruit bowl, oranges and other citrus fruits have long been associated with stress-relieving properties and a sense of calm. Just cutting open an orange and inhaling the aroma for a few moments will do us good. But when we go on to eat the fruit, the flavonoids it contains have been shown to be one of the most effective nutrients for reducing concentrations of cortisol, otherwise known as the ‘stress hormone’.
Apart from looking tempting, cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory effects which may help to reduce pain. They also naturally enhance levels of the sleep hormone, melatonin. Apparently, the tarter the better is the advice regarding using cherries to aid relaxation and get a good night’s sleep.
And to finish on a green note – when we have a cold, kiwi fruit are probably on our list to boost our Vitamin C levels. However, these small, hairy, green bullets are also high in fibre, rich in potassium with potent antioxidant properties. According to studies they may aid our heart’s health and our respiratory function. But recent research suggests that they may also provide us with improvement to both our sleep quality and quantity. The dose used in the trial was two kiwi fruits taken one hour before bed for 4 weeks and the results suggest that, for adults who report sleep disturbance, kiwi fruit consumption may improve sleep onset, duration and efficiency.
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