Health benefits of peaches

Peaches are a characteristically fuzzy fruit native to northwest China. They are a member of the stone fruit family, having one large middle seed, as do cherries, apricots, plums, and nectarines.

The inner flesh of a peach can range in color from white to yellow or orange. There are two different varieties of peaches: freestone and clingstone, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the inner seed or easily comes apart.

Benefits

Stone fruit like peaches, plums and nectarines have been shown to ward off obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.

According to a study from Texas A&M, stone fruit like peaches, plums, and nectarines have been shown to ward off obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

The study suggests that stone fruits have bioactive and phenolic compounds with anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory properties that may also reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) associated with cardiovascular disease.

The authors attribute the benefits to four major phenolic groups in stone fruits: anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetins, and catechins, all of which work together and complement each other to fight off obesity-related illness.

Cancer

As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C, peaches can also help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. While an adequate vitamin C intake is necessary and very beneficial as an antioxidant, the amount necessary to consume for treatment purposes for cancer is thought to be beyond oral intake.

High fiber intakes from all fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.

Skin

The antioxidant vitamin C, when eaten in its natural form (in whole foods such as peaches) or applied topically, can reduce wrinkles, improve overall skin texture and help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution. Vitamin C also plays a vital role in the formation of collagen, the support system of your skin.

Diabetes

Another study from Texas A&M showed that peaches and plum extracts were effective in killing even the most aggressive types of breast cancer cells and did not harm normal healthy cells in the process.

Studies have shown that type 1 diabetics who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetics may have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One medium peach provides about 2 grams of fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 21-25 g/day for women and 30-38 g/day for men.

Heart health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and choline content in peaches all support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Dr. Mark Houston, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St. Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.

In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).