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Small fruits, big benefits

Eat more of these small fruits which are big in health-boosting compounds

Cherry 
When you’ve had a great workout but want to minimise muscle aches and pains tomorrow just add some cherry juice to your post-workout drink. Subjects who drank just 200ml of the juice daily for four weeks had far less muscular inflammation thanks to the fruit’s antioxidant compounds  anthocyanin and other phytochemicals, according to a study from the University of Michigan. What’s more, these berries are high in sleep-aiding tryptophan so can help you get more shut-eye, so says Louisiana State University. Alas, a tub of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia doesn’t count.

Blueberry 
Not many natural foods are blue but those that are, such as blueberries, are packed with anthocyanins, which as well as being a powerful antioxidant also fights diabetes, improves cognitive power and improves heart health. Blueberries are high in a particular type of the compound, known as cyanidin-3-glucoside, which is thought to improve the ability of muscle cells to take in nutrients from the bloodstream, and so aids fat loss and muscle growth.

Raspberries 
If you’ve heard of “raspberry ketones” you won’t be surprised to learn that these berries have long been billed as a miracle weight-loss aid. Whilst there’s no evidence that taking these tablets will get you leaner, there is evidence that eating more of the fruit in its natural form can help your body become more efficient at freeing up fat stores for fuel. It’s thanks to key phytonutrients in rapsberries, specifically rheosmin, that improve fat cell metabolism, and they’re packed with other beneficial antioxidant compounds. Throw them in a blender or sprinkle them on your morning oats for a big nutrient hit.

Lingonberries 
It’s unlikely your local Tesco Metro stocks them, but lingonberries are worth seeking out. Big health food shops should have them, albeit it in dried, juice or jam form, because they’re high in vitamins A and C, magnesium and the flavonoid quercetin to reduce inflammation, and they may even prevent cancer cell growth to help you live longer.

Blueberry 
Not many natural foods are blue but those that are, such as blueberries, are packed with anthocyanins, which as well as being a powerful antioxidant also fights diabetes, improves cognitive power and improves heart health. Blueberries are high in a particular type of the compound, known as cyanidin-3-glucoside, which is thought to improve the ability of muscle cells to take in nutrients from the bloodstream, and so aids fat loss and muscle growth.

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