By Mimi Johnson, NCL Health Policy Associate Blueberries are my all-time favorite food. Whether frozen, fresh, or preserved, they are truly nature’s treat, and July has been designated as the month for celebrating these wonderfully nutritious berries. In honor of the blueberry, I recently traveled to a local farm and picked a few buckets’ worth. While you don’t have to spend your Saturday laboring away for berries, your local farmers’ markets and grocery stores will likely have the fresh stuff in stock – the peak season runs mid-May through August. If you can’t get your hands on fresh ones, frozen berries pack the same punch. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants – the richest of any fruit – and help block bacteria from sticking around in the body. Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as manganese and fiber. In addition to promoting brain health, blueberries are also believed to help reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Including blueberries in a diet rich in vegetables and fruit can help lower your risk for chronic conditions and help maintain a healthy weight. The summer months make it easy to fill your plate with colorful, nutrient-rich foods. To see if your meals need some help, visit the CDC’s interactive site where you can learn how to better reap the benefits of fruit and veggies. If you’re interested in picking up some fresh berries or other healthy produce, head to your local farmers’ market. Many markets offer cooking demonstrations and farmers are always ready to share their tried and true recipes.