It's a sure sign that we're in the waning weeks of summer: The store shelves are crammed with back-to-school stuff!
And as the season begins to wind down, you want to grab every chance you get to enjoy not only warm-weather relaxation… but also the delicious summer produce that's still overflowing at the market.
Juicy berries are stars of the season -- and according to a new study, there’s one kind of sweet treat you don't want to miss at its peak.
I’m talking about raspberries.
As it turns out, these bright-red berries can help you "relax" in one place that really counts: your blood vessels!
In the study published in the Archives of Biochemistry and Physics, researchers tested the blood vessel function of a group of healthy adults and then randomly assigned them to drink either a frozen raspberry beverage or a control beverage with no raspberries.
Two hours later, when the researchers re-tested the participants' blood vessel function, they found that those who drank the raspberry beverage had IMPROVED "flow-mediated dilation" (FMD), a sign that their blood vessels had relaxed.
Those who drank the control beverage, on the other hand, saw no FMD improvement.
And the raspberry drinkers' blood vessel relaxation was still going strong 24 hours later!
Now, as I've shared with you before, you want your blood vessels to be relaxed as possible -- because when they're stiff and constricted, blood can't gush freely to every nook and cranny.
And that lack of blood flow can deprive your heart and brain of nutrient-rich blood, setting you up for cardiovascular disease... and even cognitive decline.
The theory is that raspberries can help relax your blood vessels because they're loaded with ellagic acid, a compound that’s known to support vascular health.
Sure enough, those who drank the raspberry beverage in the study had higher levels of ellagic acid in their blood and urine than those who didn't drink any raspberries.
Plus, raspberries are packed with vitamin C, which has also been proven to boost blood vessel function , not to mention fortify your immune system and protect your eye health.
And the benefits of raspberries don't stop there. Previous studies have shown that they can ease inflammation ....... slash your risk of stroke ... and even beat back cancer .
Even though they're at their sweetest and juiciest in summer, you can find raspberries in most grocery stores year-round.
They're delicious on their own, but you can also get the "mouth feel" of an icy dessert by stirring crushed raspberries into Greek yogurt or blending frozen raspberries into smoothies.
Just stay away from raspberry-flavored ice cream, sorbet, and popsicles -- because these sugar bombs won't do your blood vessels a "lick" of good.
And whenever possible, buy organic berries to keep toxic pesticides OUT of your system.