Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are in-season locally mid-May through August. Fresh, local berries are succulent, sweet, beautiful in color, and bursting with nutrients.

From a health standpoint, berries contain a variety of phytochemicals, namely anthocyanin and quercetin. They also have very high antioxidant content relative to other fruits and vegetables. The phytochemical and antioxidants in berries play a significant role in preventing cancer growth and reducing inflammation. In addition to berries anti-cancer properties, they are also excellent for cardiovascular health, weight maintenance, blood sugar control, reducing blood pressure, and perhaps even preventing diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Not to mention the fact that they’re loaded with other important micronutrients such as vitamin C and fiber.

The great thing about berries is that they’re extremely versatile. Here are some quick and easy ways to get your daily dose:

  • Make a berry yogurt parfait. Layer plain yogurt with an assortment of berries, a sprinkle cinnamon and your favorite nuts and seeds.
  • Make a berry smoothie. Blend ½ banana, with one cup of mixed blueberries, strawberries and blackberries, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 1 cup spinach or kale.
  • Add berries to your salad. Toss berries with arugula, spinach or kale and top with a tablespoons of nuts and seeds for a festive summer salad.
  • Use berries as a topping. Add mixed berries to oatmeal, cereal or as a topping on whole wheat toast with a smear of almond butter.
  • Make a berry salsa. Mix blueberries with red pepper, jalapeno, onion, lime and chopped cilantro and toss over a piece of wild grilled salmon.

Tip: Don’t let leftover berries go to waste! Wash and dry berries and then freeze them for later use.

By: Danielle Rosenfeld, MS, RD, LDN

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