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Spring Berries
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Many people love the fresh berries that become available in spring. Depending on where you live, berry season may be at peak production in March and April or May and June. Two favorite berries many enjoy are strawberries and blueberries. Here are some interesting and healthy tidbits about these delicious spring berries.

The common garden strawberry is a bright red, juicy and sweet berry that is enjoyed fresh or in other dishes (preserves, pies, and sauces). The United States tops the world in the production of strawberries. Unfortunately, the plants are susceptible to disease and pests so pesticides are often used on them. Strawberries are ranked among the “dirty dozen” foods with pesticides. Because of this, berries should always be thoroughly washed. Or you can purchase pesticide-free berries, which are a little more difficult to come by. Many people enjoy growing their own. I enjoy them most on pancakes.

Strawberries are good for your health. One cup contains only 45 calories. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and flavonoids. Strawberries also contain antioxidants (fisetin) which have been studied in helping people with Alzheimer’s and kidney failure resulting from diabetes. Like all berries, they are filled with phytochemicals that help prevent disease and keep us healthy.


Blueberries are native to North America and have been the dominant berry grown on the east coast. There is actually quite a large variety of this delicious berry (Duke, O’Neill, South Moon, Elliot, Croatan, etc.). If you are purchasing fresh berries, look for consistency in size and firmness. A mix of sizes probably means a mixture of over-ripe and under-ripe berries. Of course, the best way to determine good blueberries is to taste them! Blueberries are one of the easiest berries to freeze and easy to pull out and enjoy on a hot summer afternoon. Blueberries are also ranked among the dirty dozen foods with higher levels of pesticides, so they should also be carefully washed (or purchased organically).

Much research has gone into studying the anti-disease benefits of blueberries. Many nutrients (with hard to pronounce names) have been found to inhibit cancer cell development and inflammation. One phytochemical is called resveratrol. In 2007 a symposium on berry health benefits showed blueberries help to alleviate cognitive decline (in Alzheimer’s disease) as well as other aging conditions. Rutgers research has found blueberries help prevent urinary infections. Other studies show they can help maintain normal blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. One study even showed blueberries can help with symptoms of depression.

Strawberries and blueberries are two delicious fruits the Creator made for us to not only stay healthy, but to relish and enjoy. Whether you slice or toss them in a fruit salad or mix them with your breakfast cereal, there is nothing quite like biting into spring berries!

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

For more info: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/signs-of-spring-berries


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