Even though you can buy berries year-round in most supermarkets, often these tasty fruits are even better when they’re in season and freshly picked. That means summertime for many places around the country. If you’re lucky, you can buy baskets of strawberries from farm stands and farmer’s markets starting in June. Other berry varieties — raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and others — ripen throughout the summer.
Strawberries and blueberries are rich in beneficial plant compounds known as anthocyanins, which give berries their vibrant red, blue, and purple hues. Several studies have linked diets with anthocyanin-rich foods to better heart health, including the landmark Nurses’ Health study. Researchers found that women who ate more than three servings of blueberries or strawberries per week had a 34% lower risk of heart attack compared with those who ate fewer. Anthocyanins appear to make blood vessels more elastic and help lower blood pressure.
Berries make a delicious snack on their own, but they’re also great in fruit salads, smoothies, yogurt, cereal, or even green salads. Try sliced strawberries with baby spinach, crumbled goat cheese, and toasted almonds with a raspberry vinaigrette.
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