Jun and team studied 20 healthy volunteers (10 men and 10 women) to find out how their bodies metabolized dinner eaten at 10 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. All study participants went to sleep at the same time: 11 p.m. Study findings show that blood sugar levels are higher, and the amount of fat burned lower, when eating a late dinner, even when people ate the same meal. “We weren’t surprised. Other researchers have done similar work looking at circadian rhythms and diet, and other labs have shown that if you eat out of phase with your body’s normal circadian rhythm, you don’t metabolize glucose the same way,” Jun said. The study found that late eaters had peak blood sugar levels almost 20 percent higher and fat burning reduced by 10 percent, compared with those who ate dinner earlier. “The effects we have seen in healthy volunteers might be more pronounced in people with obesity or diabetes, who already have a compromised metabolism,” said the study’s first author Chenjuan Gu, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins University, in a statement.
1. Plums In addition to their pleasing taste, plums offer a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, and health-protective plant compounds. They’re particularly rich in hydroxycinnamic acids, which are a type of polyphenol antioxidant. By reducing cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals, antioxidants may reduce your risk of various diseases. Plums are also rich in vitamin C and provitamin A carotenoids, both of which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 2. Strawberries Strawberries are particularly high in antioxidants like vitamin C, anthocyanins, phenolic acids, and flavonoids. In a 3-week study, 21 women who ate 9 ounces (250 grams) of frozen strawberries daily experienced a significant increase in antioxidant activity in their blood. What’s more, these healthy berries may slash your risk of disease. Research suggests that eating strawberries may help reduce heart disease risk factors, lower inflammatory markers, and increase fiber intake, all of which may protect against chronic health conditions like heart disease and certain cancers. 3. Grapes Despite their small size, grapes pack a serious nutritional punch. Many varieties exist, and while all make a healthy choice, some are higher in antioxidants than others. In a recent study comparing 30 grape varieties, Black Pearl, Summer Royal Black, Pearl Green, Seedless Green, and Seedless Red grapes exhibited the strongest antioxidant and free-radical-scavenging activities. These varieties were found to be packed with antioxidants like caffeic acid, epicatechin, catechin gallate, protocatechuic acid, gallic acid, and rutin. Indeed, these antioxidants may be the reason why these tasty fruits are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers. 4. Apples Apples are associated with a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease and several cancers, including colorectal cancer. Notably, they’re a concentrated source of flavonoid antioxidants. A study in over 56,000 people linked a higher intake of apples and other flavonoid-rich foods to a reduced risk of death from all causes, including from cancer and heart disease. 5. Peaches Peaches are often enjoyed in jams and pies, but it’s best to eat peaches raw. That’s because fresh peach peels and pulp have higher antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity than cooked peach products. In addition to phytonutrients like phenolic acids and carotenoids, peaches provide a good source of fiber, vitamin C, provitamin A, and potassium. 6. Avocados Avocados are not only creamy and delicious but also packed with nutrients like fiber, healthy fats, potassium, magnesium, folate, and vitamins C and K1. In fact, studies suggest that these fatty fruits may help reduce weight, blood sugar levels, and heart disease risk factors like LDL (bad) cholesterol. 7. Blueberries The impressive benefits of blueberries are well documented. These berries contain several potent antioxidants and are especially rich in anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that account for up to 60% of their total polyphenol compounds (25). Eating fresh blueberries each day, even in moderate amounts of 1/3 cup (113 grams), has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as slower rates of mental decline in older adults (25). 8. Cherries Thanks to their high concentration of vitamin C and polyphenol antioxidants, cherries have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Both sweet and tart cherries — as well as their juice and powder — are associated with many health benefits. For example, a review of 29 studies found that consuming these foods led to reductions in markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as decreased blood pressure, VLDL cholesterol, and HbA1c — a marker of long-term blood sugar control. 9. Grapefruits Grapefruits may help improve the nutrient content of your diet. A review of studies in over 12,000 people showed that people who ate this citrus fruit had higher intakes of magnesium, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, compared with those who didn’t eat it. Plus, the analysis found that women who ate grapefruit had lower body weights, as well as lower levels of triglycerides and the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP), plus higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. 10. Blackberries Blackberries are packed with anthocyanin pigments, and evidence suggests that eating them regularly benefits your health. An 8-week study in 72 people with high blood fat levels gave one group 10.1 ounces (300 mL) of blackberry juice and pulp daily. Those who drank this combo experienced significant reductions in blood pressure and CRP levels, as well as significant increases in HDL (good) cholesterol, compared with a control group. 11. Black chokeberries Black chokeberries (Aronia melanocarpa) are native to eastern North America and typically found in jams, juices, and purées. They’re a concentrated source of phenolic acids and flavonoids, including anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, and flavonols. In a 12-week study, 66 healthy men who consumed chokeberry powder and extract daily experienced improved blood flow and increased blood levels of phenolic antioxidants, which may improve heart health. 12. Tomatoes Although often considered a vegetable, tomatoes are a type of fruit. They’re one of the richest sources of lycopene, a carotenoid pigment that’s associated with powerful heart benefits. It should be noted that tomato peels contain significantly higher levels of antioxidants than the pulp. For this reason, be sure to enjoy tomatoes — and tomato products — unpeeled. HEALTHLINE NEWSLETTER Get our twice weekly wellness email To inspire you to exercise and eat well, we’ll send you our top health tips and stories, plus must-read news. Enter your email Your privacy is important to us 13. Figs Figs are fiber-rich fruits that also pack other nutrients like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins B6 and K1. What’s more, they’re loaded with polyphenol antioxidants, which have been shown to have numerous benefits. In fact, figs are a more concentrated source of these beneficial compounds than red wine or tea. 14. Raspberries In addition to being high in polyphenol antioxidants, raspberries are one of the richest sources of fiber among all fruits and veggies. Test-tube and animal studies suggest that eating these berries may reduce your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, though human research is needed. 15. Blood oranges Blood oranges are a sweet orange with a reddish rind due to their high levels of anthocyanins. They’re also loaded with vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that acts as a powerful antioxidant. In fact, blood oranges typically contain 32–42 mg of vitamin C per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) — or 35–47% of the Daily Value (DV) for this vitamin. 16. Nectarines Nectarines are high in vitamin C, beta carotene, and numerous other antioxidant compounds. Consuming beta-carotene-rich fruits like nectarines may help reduce disease risk and early death. One review of studies in over 174,000 people associated beta carotene intake with a significantly reduced risk of death from all causes. 17. Pomegranates Many studies tie pomegranates to a variety of health benefits. These fruits boast compounds like ellagitannins, anthocyanins, and organic acids, which give pomegranates potent antioxidant activity. Human research reveals that pomegranate juice and extracts may help reduce oxidative stress, blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, triglycerides, inflammation, and muscle damage. Animal and test-tube studies suggest anticancer properties as well. 18. Kumquats Kumquats are small, orange-colored citrus fruits with tart flesh. They’re high in health-promoting nutrients and plant compounds like vitamin C, polyphenols, and carotenoids. They’re native to China, where they’ve been used as a natural treatment for coughs, colds, and inflammatory conditions for centuries. 19. Mangos Mangos are a popular tropical fruit full of antioxidants, including gallic acid, quercetin, and ellagic acid, as well as the carotenoids lutein, alpha carotene, and beta carotene, which give the fruit its yellowish hue. Mangos are also rich in fiber and may help promote healthy bowel movements. In a 4-week study in 36 people with chronic constipation, eating 10.5 ounces (300 grams) of mango daily significantly improved stool frequency and consistency and reduced markers of intestinal inflammation, compared with an equivalent dose of a fiber supplement. 20. Gogi berries Goji berries are native to Asia, where they’ve long been used as a functional food to promote health and increase longevity. Due to their high antioxidant levels, these fruits are incorporated into tinctures, teas, and other herbal remedies to treat conditions that affect your eyes, liver, kidneys, and digestive system. Goji berries are high in fiber, polysaccharides, phenolic compounds, and carotenoid pigments, which give this fruit its bright orange-red color. Goji berries may protect your vision and lower blood levels of blood fats. Plus, they may have anticancer, immune-protecting, and brain-boosting properties. 21. Cranberries Cranberries are packed with beneficial plant compounds. Human and animal studies note that eating cranberries and cranberry products may lower certain blood fat levels and have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-diabetes effects. Cranberries are quite tart, so they’re often enjoyed dried and sweetened, or in sweet dishes like sauces and jams. To get the most benefits, opt for low sugar or unsweetened products. 22. Lemons Lemons are commonly used to flavor foods and beverages. This citrus fruit is rich in vitamin C, essential oils, and polyphenol antioxidants. Human studies show that daily lemon intake may help reduce blood pressure when combined with walking. What’s more, test-tube and animal research indicates that this fruit has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-diabetes properties. 23. Papayas Packed with tropical flavor, papayas are rich in vitamin C, provitamin A, folate, and potassium. They also contain many antioxidants but are especially rich in lycopene. Eating lycopene-rich fruits like papaya may protect against heart disease and certain cancers. Interestingly, lower lycopene levels are associated with an increased risk of death from all causes. 24. Watermelons Watermelon is a hydrating fruit that’s loaded with fiber, vitamin C, provitamin A, and many antioxidants. Animal studies demonstrate that it has powerful anti-inflammatory, brain-protective, and liver-supportive properties. What’s more, watermelon is the richest food source of the amino acid l-citrulline. L-citrulline is needed for the synthesis of nitric oxide, a molecule that’s essential for blood vessel dilation and other bodily functions. This may be why human studies associate watermelon intake with lower blood pressure levels. 25. Acai berries You may have heard of acai berries due to the popularity of acai bowls, a delicious concoction made with frozen acai berries and other fruits. These berries’ polyphenol antioxidants may offer numerous benefits For example, human studies link acai berries and juice to higher blood antioxidant levels, protection against cellular damage, and reduced levels of blood fats, blood sugar, and insulin
An abundant variety of foods can help boost your energy. Whether they’re packed with carbs for readily available energy, or fiber and protein for a slower release of energy, these foods can help increase your power and stamina. Additionally, many of these foods contain significant amounts of other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of these compounds are involved in the production of energy within your cells, and they all provide many other health benefits. If you want more energy, incorporating these foods into your diet is a great place to start.