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These Are The Five Healthiest Summer Berries In The United States

By Maria Cook

Summer means more than fun in the sun. Summer is also berry season! Because of their tiny size, these delicious fruits make great on-the-go snacks, and can even help you stay hydrated on the hottest days. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and they hold a vast array of health benefits.

Unlike many kinds of healthy produce, berries can be found in just about every supermarket, and there are many all-natural, organic brands to choose from. You can also find them at your local farmer's market, or even find farms or community gardens that allow you to pick your own. Picking or buying berries in bulk also allows you to preserve or can them while they're at their peak, helping them to last even beyond the summer season. 

Since they're still in season now, let's explore the health benefits of the five most popular summer berries in the U.S.   

1. Strawberries

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With their relatively large size, unique texture, and famously sweet flavor, it's no wonder the strawberry is the most popular berry in the United States. It is commonly used in everything from baked goods, to smoothies, to jams, and jellies. But most people may not realize the health benefits of this almost candy-like fruit.

For one thing, strawberries are high in dietary fiber, which means that eating them will keep you full for a while. They are extremely high in vitamin C, which boosts immunity and can even help protect against the common cold. 

Strawberries are also high in iodine, which can help improve and maintain brain health. The folic acid present in strawberries may be of particular interest to pregnant women, since folic acid can help prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord by up to 70 percent. 

2. Blueberries

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The U.S. is the world's biggest producer of blueberries, and they are the second most popular berries in the country. Blueberry pie is one of the most popular kinds of pie in the United States, but besides being delicious, this berry is famous for being an antioxidant powerhouse. Blueberries can even help fight the number one killer of both men and women in the United States--heart disease--by helping to lower LDL cholesterol. 

3. Raspberries

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The third most popular berry in the U.S. is the versatile raspberry, which can be tart or sweet, bright or dark, depending on which of the four varieties (red, black, purple, or yellow) you choose. Their health benefits are almost as diverse as their colors, from fighting cancer to promoting eye health. Raspberries have a high concentration of ellagic acid, which has been shown to help prevent some types of cancer. 

Eating raspberries can also help ward off damage from macular degeneration, an age-related eye condition which can lead to blindness. Raspberries have long been prized in the beauty world for their ability to fight signs of aging skin, such as wrinkles and darkening. A wide variety of recipes for raspberry facial masks can be found online.