Bananas may help cure kids’ asthma. Blueberries build better brains. And dried plums builds better bones. Could there be better reasons to start eating fruit?

Going bananas may help kids breathe easier (too bad they may not be with us much longer). New research shows that children who ate just one banana a day had a 34% less chance of developing asthmatic symptoms. Early banana consumption may also be associated with lower risk of childhood leukemia. Bananas’ fiber, potassium, vitamin C and B6 content support heart health. Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid which may play a role in preserving your memory and boosting your mood.

Next, blueberries: cancer researchers who are exploring the link between disease and nutrition say as little as a cup a day can help prevent cell damage linked to cancer. They’re full of antioxidants, flavonoids and other vitamins that help prevent cell damage. Researcher Laura Newton says, "Antioxidants protect cells by stabilizing free radicals and can prevent some of the damage they cause." Free radicals, atoms that contain an odd number of electrons and are highly reactive, can cause cellular damage, one of the factors in the development of cancer; many believe a diet filled with fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk. "Studies suggest that antioxidants may help prevent the free-radical damage associated with cancer," says Newton.

Finally, plums (dried ones, that is–which are more concentrated). They can improve bone health in postmenopausal women (and people of all ages). Researcher Bahram H. Arjmandi says, “Over my career, I have tested numerous fruits, including figs, dates, strawberries and raisins, and none of them come anywhere close to having the effect on bone density that dried plums, or prunes, have. All fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on nutrition, but in terms of bone health, this particular food is exceptional.”

When Anne Strieber found her clothes were getting too tight she thought they had all shrunk, until she realized she had gained weight due to Type II diabetes, a genetic condition that manifests in late middle age and makes it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. She not only discovered WHY some of us have this gene, but what to do about it, and after three years of diet and exercise, she managed to lose 100 pounds–and YOU can too! And guess what: Even dieters and diabetics are now advised to eat three servings of fruit a day!

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