Peaches are a sweet, juicy fruit with a distinct color and taste. Most likely originating in China and now grown all over the world, they are a favorite summertime delight. You can enjoy them as is, in a smoothie, or as part of an elaborate dessert.
The hard pit found in the middle of the peach is not edible, but the soft and fleshy exterior and the thin, fuzzy skin outside are very nutritious and appealing to taste. Peaches belong to a family called stone fruits, so-called because of their hard center. The stone fruit family includes apricots (which like peaches are fuzzy) but are smaller, firmer, and less sweet. The family also includes nectarines, which unlike the two have smooth, fuzz-free skin. In this article, we will enumerate 7 health benefits of peaches.
Health Benefits of Peaches
1. Packed With Nutrients
Vitamin C: 17% of the DV*
Vitamin A: 10% of the DV
Vitamin E: 5% of the DV
Vitamin K: 5% of the DV
Potassium: 8% of the DV
Niacin: 6% of the DV
Manganese: 5% of the DV
Copper: 5% of the DV
Carbs: 14 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: less than 1 gram
* Daily Value
Peaches also provide small amounts of magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and some B vitamins. In addition, they are packed with antioxidants which combat oxidative damage and also protect your body against aging and disease.
Fresh and canned peaches are found to have almost similar amounts of vitamins and minerals, provided the canned varieties are unpeeled. However, fresh peaches are found to contain higher levels of antioxidants and are more effective in protecting the body against oxidative damage than the canned ones.
2. May Aid Digestion
Peaches may contribute to healthy digestion. One medium-sized fruit provides about two grams of fiber, one half of which is soluble fiber, and the other half is insoluble.
Insoluble fiber gives bulk to your stool, helping the food to move through your gut and reducing the possibility of constipation. Meanwhile, soluble fiber provides nutrients for the good bacteria in your intestines. These bacteria will then produce short-chain fatty acids (like acetate, propionate, and butyrate) which provide food for the cells of your gut.
Short-chain fatty acids may also reduce inflammation and symptoms of digestive disorders such as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Crohn’s disease.
3. May Improve Heart Health
One of the most important health benefits of eating peaches is that they may improve heart health. Peaches are good sources of potassium, which enable the body to regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Foods high in potassium help lower blood pressure by enabling the body to get rid of excess sodium, thus relaxing the tension in the walls of the blood vessels.
Peaches may reduce the risk factors for heart disease, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Test tube studies show that peaches are able to bind to bile acids, the compounds produced by the liver from cholesterol. The bound bile acids with the cholesterol they contain are then later excreted through your feces, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels.
Additional test tube and animal studies showed that peaches may reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, and may also reduce blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
4. May Protect Your Skin
The vitamin A in peaches promotes skin health. It supports the continuous process of replacing aging skin cells with new, healthy cells. Peaches also help protect the skin from free radical damage. Additionally, peaches provide the body with vitamins C and K, which the body uses to heal wounds.
5. May Prevent Some Types of Cancer
Like most fruits, peaches contain beneficial plant compounds which offer some protection against some types of cancer. Specifically, the skin and flesh of peaches are rich in caffeic acid and carotenoids — 2 types of antioxidants that have anticancer properties.
Compounds found in the seeds of peaches may limit the growth of non-cancerous tumors in the skin, preventing them from turning into cancerous ones. Also, peaches are rich in polyphenols. These compounds can help kill cancerous cells without causing damage to healthy ones.
6. May Reduce Allergy Symptoms
Peaches may reduce allergy symptoms. When your body is exposed to allergens, histamines are released. Histamines are chemicals made by the immune system to help the body get rid of the allergen.
Histamines are part of the body’s defense mechanism which trigger allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, or coughing. Research shows that peaches help reduce symptoms of allergies by preventing histamine release in the blood.
7. May Boost Immunity
Peaches are good sources of immune-boosting nutrients and antioxidants. The antioxidants present in peaches may protect the body against the damage from free radicals — harmful molecules which affect the cells and which may lead to heart disease and cancer. One of these antioxidants which the body needs to fight off infections is Vitamin C.
Vitamin A helps the immune system fight infection. Vitamin E, meanwhile, boosts the immune system and helps the eyes and skin healthy. Peaches also contain minerals like iron and zinc, both of which help boost the immune system’s function.
Small amounts of zinc are also beneficial in helping your blood clot and in helping your thyroid work. Zinc also helps in maintaining good vision. Copper helps your bones and teeth grow strong, protects your cells from damage, and also helps improve your immune system.
How to Eat Peaches
Peaches are readily available and can be included to your diet in many ways. They can be eaten raw, grilled, broiled, baked or sautéed, and can be easily incorporated in warm or cold dishes alike.
For example, fresh peaches are a great nutrient-rich snack that can be eaten on their own, or topped with yogurt and nuts.
Peaches can also be added to salads or combined with chickpeas to make a hearty peach and chickpea curry. They give an unexpected touch to salsa and are a popular ingredient in many desserts. Peaches can also be blended into a smoothie or mashed to add flavor to water.
There are many health benefits of peaches. Peaches boast a rare combination — low in calories and fat, but rich in vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and antioxidants. They are widely and readily available and can be eaten in various ways. You can enjoy them on their own or incorporate them into main or side dishes, smoothies, and desserts.
Do you want to learn more on how to be fit and healthy? Sign up to FITin56 now!