Berry lovers, the time has come for you to bask in the glory of your favorite sweet, ripe, juicy, delicious fruits! Spring and summer are berry seasons and we’re gearing up to enjoy them once again. Today we’re talking about the health benefits of berries and when they are perfectly ripe for the season.
The Health Benefits of Berries
Berries may differ in size, shape and flavor but they have a few things in common. First, they all contain a good deal of fiber that supports the digestive system, helps satiate the body and may contribute to weight loss. Additionally they all have polyphenols which are powerful plant compounds that have amazing health benefits, and flavonoids, a supercharged antioxidant.
Among the many types of polyphenols are anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Along with other broad spectrum polyphenols, flavonoids and antioxidants, these specific compounds offer a range of health benefits for the brain, heart and nervous system and help prevent disease. Specifically, berries have been shown to increase cognitive efficiency, support heart health (including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and preventing heart attack), and reducing risk of Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer disease, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infections.
Eating berries is a great preventative health dietary measure that you can easily incorporate in your diet. They are small and portable for on-the-go snacks, and they mix well with a variety of meals. Berries are especially great toppings for breakfast cereals, yogurt or cottage cheese, and they make super dessert alternatives as well. By adding a variety of berries to your diet, you can enjoy many sweet health benefits.
If you’re in the mood for berries this spring and summer, keep in mind when they are in-season so you’re getting the freshest and most nutritious fruits. The exact peak season for each berry will vary by region but below are general guidelines for berry seasons in the U.S. If you plan to go berry picking, call local farms to find out their exact season dates.
Strawberry Season: March – November
Look for strawberries that are firm and dark red with stems attached.
Cherry Season: April – July
Look for fully red cherries that are firm and still on the stem
Blueberry Season: May – August
Look for smooth skin on blueberries that are dark blue or dark purple.
Blackberry Season: May – October
Look for shiny, dark berries.
Raspberry Season: May – November
Look for fully red raspberries that maintain their shape.
We hope you have a sweet and delicious berry season and reap all of the health benefits of berries!
Sources: Eating Well, Everyday Health, CUESA and Modern Farmer