Filed away in that category? The common sense that’s been pounded into your head since childhood—eat your fruits and veggies to maintain a healthy weight. Sure, it seems like a no-brainer that an apple a day is good for you, but the why has been a perennially hard thing to understand.
But according to a new study in The BMJ, a little-understood compound called flavonoids might be responsible for helping you lose the most amount of weight. What are flavonoids, you ask? They’re little plant-based compounds packing a serious antioxidant punch and are found in all fruits.
A certain class of flavonoids, “anthocyanins,” are found mostly in darker fruits like strawberries, blueberries, grapes, and cherries, and these bad boys can help you drop the most pounds, the study found.
Researchers at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at the eating habits of 124,000 people from across the U.S. over 24 years, and found that people who had plenty of berries in their diet reported less extra bulk throughout the years. A single serving of one of those fruits was associated with 0.16 to 0.23 pounds less weight gained over four years, the study showed, meaning that you don’t have to eat a metric ton of strawberries to reap the benefits.
“Our results suggest that choosing high-flavonoid fruits and vegetables, such as apples, pears, berries, and peppers, may help with weight control,” researcher Monica Bertoia of Harvard’s School of Public Health wrote in the study.
So, there you have it. Time to add all the berries to your morning matcha smoothies.