Peaches are a fuzzy fruit native to northwest China. They are a member of the stone fruit family, which means that their flesh surrounds one large middle seed.
The inner flesh of a peach ranges in color from white to yellow or orange.
There are two different varieties of peach: freestone and clingstone. These names indicate whether the flesh sticks to the inner seed or easily comes apart from it.
In this article, we look at the possible health benefits of peaches, their nutritional profile, and how to include more of them in the diet.
Peaches do not contain a significant amount of any nutrient. However, a cup of diced peach provides 11.1 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, as well as contributing to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium, fiber, and iron.
This amount of vitamin C equates to 12.33% of the RDA for an adult male and 14.80% of the RDA for an adult female, according to guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Despite their relatively low nutrient profile, peaches can still benefit people's health as part of a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. Peaches can add sweetness to desserts and treats, replacing more harmful added sugars.
Reducing cancer risk
Peaches provide a significant amount of vitamin C. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent the formation of free radicals, which are compounds that have links to cancer development.
As a result, adequate vitamin C intake may help a person reduce their risk of cancer. However, exposure to other risk factors, such as smoking, increases the amount of vitamin C that a person needs to have a significant effect on cancer risk.
Preserving skin health
Research suggests that regularly consuming vitamin C can improve the appearance and health of the skin.
A 2015 review of studies found that supplementing vitamin C in the diet improved at least one factor of actual or perceived skin appearance, including wrinkling, elasticity, roughness, and coloring.
Contributing to fiber intake
A cup of diced peaches contains 2.52 g of fiber. The USDA recommend 22.4–28.0 g per day for female adults and 30.8–33.6 g each day for male adults, meaning that this serving size can provide at least 7.5% of a person's recommended daily fiber intake.
Fiber-rich foods provide a range of important health benefits, according to a 2018 review. They can protect the health of the colon, support weight management on a long term basis, and reduce the risk of several harmful health conditions.
A person could significantly boost their fiber intake by replacing sweet, low fiber treats with a peach or two every day.
The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables are considerable. As plant food consumption increases, the risk of many lifestyle-related diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, reduces.
A diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables can also reduce the risk of overall mortality.
Topping up potassium intake
Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps cells function. It can also help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney stones, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
Peaches are not among the top dietary sources of potassium. However, they can still play a role in helping a person manage their risk of chronic disease as part of a healthful diet plan.
Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, which helps the blood transport oxygen throughout the body. Without enough hemoglobin, a person might experience iron deficiency anemia.
Peaches alone will not provide enough iron to keep iron deficiency anemia at bay. However, people can include them in the diet alongside foods that contain more iron, such as raisins, cashew nuts, or spinach.
One cup of diced peach, or 168 g, provides:
- 65.5 calories
- 1.53 g of protein
- 0.42 g of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol and sodium
- 16 g of carbohydrate
- 14.10 g of sugar
- 2.52 g of fiber
Peaches also provide trace amounts of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as magnesium and phosphorus.
Peaches are in season during the summer. During this time, they are the freshest and have the most flavor and nutritional value. It is best to choose peaches with taut, fuzzy skin that gives in to pressure slightly.
To ripen peaches, place them in a paper bag or near a windowsill with plenty of sunlight.
When buying canned peaches, people should avoid those with too much syrup and look for varieties with no added sugars.
Here are some ideas for including peaches in the diet:
- Create a summer salad by starting with mixed greens or spinach and adding dry-roasted nuts, fresh peaches, fresh mozzarella, and grilled chicken, salmon, or tofu. Drizzle with a balsamic dressing.
- Eat peaches as a quick and easy on-the-go snack that requires no prep time.
- Add peaches to a breakfast dish. Sliced peaches make a great addition to oatmeal and cold cereals. They can also be an excellent topper for pancakes, waffles, and French toast.
- Muddle peaches into a glass of lemonade, iced tea, or water for a burst of fresh, fruity flavor.
- Bake sliced peaches with a drizzle of honey and cinnamon for a quick and healthful dessert.
- Make a fresh salsa with diced peaches, mango, jalapenos, red peppers, and chipotle pepper. The salsa can add flavor and texture to dishes such as tacos.
- Add a few slices of frozen peaches to a smoothie. Mix them with pineapple juice, half a frozen banana, and Greek yogurt for a sweet, tangy treat.
Although peach is far from a superfood, it can play an important role in health as part of a healthful, balanced diet.