They look like apples. Or quinces with a different color? Or wait, loquats maybe?
Their appearance doesn’t matter. I mean, at least not so much. Given their taste and what they can do for you, what matters is if you have them ready in your kitchen.
Peaches – A Brief
Native to Northwest China, the peach is a deciduous tree whose fruit is also called by the same name. It is scientifically called Prunus persica. The peach fruit is also often known as nectarine, though there is a subtle difference between the two. Commercially, they are two different fruits. Peaches are known by the characteristic fuzz on their skin. Whereas nectarine doesn’t have the fuzz.
The leaves of the peach tree are about 7 to 16 cm long and 2 to 3 cm broad. They are pinnately veined. The fruit has whitish or yellow flesh. It has a delicate aroma and velvety (peaches) or smooth (nectarines) skin. The flowers of the plant come before the leaves – they either are solitary or paired. They are pink and usually contain five petals.
The bark of the peach tree is dark brown-reddish in color. It becomes rough as the tree ages.
In India, the first peach appeared in around 1700 BC. Peaches are called aadoo in Hindi.
Peaches come in a few different varieties. Here, we discuss the most important of them:
Clingstone, where the flesh of the fruit clings securely to the pit. This variety of peaches ripens between May and August. It has yellow flesh that turns to mild red to brighter red close to the pit. These peaches have a soft texture and a high sugar content. They are juicy enough to be taken as a snack.
Freestone, where the flesh can be removed easily from the pit. These peaches are also fresh enough and good to be taken as a snack. But since they are less juicy and sweet, they are ideal for baking purposes.
Semi-freestone, which, as the name suggests, are a hybrid of clingstone and freestone varieties. These have a relatively high sugar content and juiciness, and the flesh doesn’t cling to the pit.
Knowing about peaches is fine – but are they really good for you?
Are Peaches Good For You?
You bet they are. Especially when it comes to sumptuousness, they are the queens.
Peaches are low in saturated fat and cholesterol – which is reason enough to realize their usefulness. They possess an impressive assortment of vitamins and minerals that puts them at the top of the list of must-have foods.
A couple of nutrients the fruit is especially rich in are vitamins C and A. The former offers immunity and fights infection, while the latter improves eyesight and offers protection against cancers.
Peaches also contain minerals like potassium in abundance. And there are numerous other flavonoids that benefit health in various ways.
So, answering the question – are peaches really good for you? If they are not, then what are?
Peaches – Nutritional Information
Serving Size 175g
|Amounts per serving|
|Calories 68||Calories from Fat 4|
|*Percentage daily value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. |
Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs
And now, we head to the wondrous benefits…
Benefits Of Peaches
1. Rich In Antioxidants
There wouldn’t be a soul in this modern world who wouldn’t have heard of antioxidants. And peaches are replete with these. As per a Brazilian study, peaches could be great sources of antioxidants. They also contain chlorogenic acid, another potent antioxidant that has health-promoting advantages (1).
Peaches also contain phenolic compounds, which, as per another study, contribute to the fruit’s antioxidant activity greater than vitamin C or carotenoids (2).
Peaches are also rich in other antioxidants like lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin – all of which play important roles in healthy aging and disease prevention (3).
2. Aid Weight Loss
As per a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, starting the day right goes a long way in helping one lose weight. One of the ways of doing that is to reduce the amount of cereal and make room for some fruits like peaches – this helps one feel full and consume fewer calories (4).
Peaches are also good sources of fiber, and fiber, as we know, promotes satiety and contributes to weight loss (5). An American study states that including dietary fiber with fruits could be a critical step in curbing the obesity epidemic (6). In fact, something as simple as consuming 30 grams of fiber a day can contribute to weight loss in a big way. It also helps curb the other undesirables like high cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Fiber intake has numerous other benefits too (7).
Fiber intake has received so much attention in the recent years. One report published by the University of Massachusetts Medical School has stated fiber intake as the one simple change that can be effective when it comes to diet (8). As per the report, including fiber in the diet could be a reasonable alternative for those individuals who find it hard to adhere to a complicated diet.
3. Help Prevent Cancer
Cancer is a killer. Oh yes, medical technology has advanced, and the treatments are far more successful – still, preventing the dreaded disease is as important. And one of the ways to do so is by consuming peaches.
Peaches also contain another compound called caffeic acid, which, as per a Swedish study, offers protection against breast and colon cancers by reducing the cancer growth (11), (12). And in yet another study, the peach compounds inhibited not only the growth of breast cancer cells but also the secondary growths in the lungs (13). The two major components responsible for this anti-cancer property of peaches are chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acids – these help kill the cancer cells without affecting the healthy ones (14).
4. Promote Skin Health
The vitamin C in peaches also helps in this regard. It is a superb antioxidant that can help reduce wrinkles, improve skin texture, and protect the skin from the sun and pollution (17).
As per a French study, vitamin C was also found to treat photodamaged skin and prevent sun-induced skin aging (18). The vitamin can also make corrections to the severe structural changes to the skin that occur as a result of the aging process (19).
5. Good For The Heart
Peaches contain a unique combination of bioactive compounds that reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. According to a study, replacing sugary drinks with fresh fruit juice rich in polyphenols (like peaches) can help lower the cardiovascular risk factors (20).
The fiber, vitamin C, and potassium in peaches also support heart health. Peaches are also one of the important components of the much-acclaimed DASH diet – which is focused on reducing hypertension (21).
6. Promotes Digestive Health
The dietary fiber in peaches helps regulate and improve digestion (22). And in addition to being good for digestion, the fruit also acts as a diuretic – it helps cleanse your kidneys and the bladder (23).
7. Good For The Eyes
The presence of antioxidant phytonutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin make the fruit ideal for eye health (24). Another study states that the two phytonutrients protect the eye from potential damage caused by light striking the retina (25). Lutein has also been found to lower the risk of developing common age-related eye diseases (26).
Lutein and zeaxanthin are also instrumental in protecting the macula, ultimately preventing the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (27). As per one study, people suffering from age-related macular degeneration, who consumed lutein alone or with other antioxidants, experienced less vision loss (28).
8. Detoxify Your System
Detoxification is something that doesn’t receive much attention. But, it is as important as anything else you undertake to keep yourself healthy. According to a report published by the University of Minnesota, peaches contain vitamins A, C, and E and selenium – all of which act as antioxidants and aid detoxification (29).
9. Can Be Good For Diabetics
Having diabetes in no way means one must abstain from consuming carbohydrates. Carbs are essential – but ensure you watch your portion sizes. A medium peach provides just about 15 grams of carbohydrates. Hence, you can easily have it as part of a meal or a separate snack. It is rich in numerous other nutrients (as we have seen earlier) and helps you maintain overall health.
As per a reputed report, peaches are some of the important foods in a diabetes diet. The report says that 2-4 servings of the fruit per day would do a lot good (30).
10. Help Treat Inflammation
As per a Korean study, peaches possess anti-inflammatory principles (31).
And peaches, as we have already seen, are excellent sources of vitamin C. According to a Malaysian study, vitamin C helps alleviate inflammation – and is particularly helpful for hypertensive, obese, or diabetes patients (32). In fact, the vitamin also helps alleviate chronic inflammation (33).
As per a report published by the Vanderbilt University, vitamin C strengthens the lining of blood vessels as well – which are weakened by inflammation (36). The vitamin can also alleviate rheumatism and gout (37), (38).
11. Help Combat Anemia
Anemia occurs due to the deficiency of iron – and as per a report, peaches are one of the best non-heme (plant-based) sources of iron (39). Anemia can also occur with low levels of vitamin C as low levels of the vitamin might hinder the absorption of iron in the body. Peaches, being rich in both iron and vitamin C, are excellent foods to combat anemia (40). Your body absorbs iron best when you get the nutrient from a plant source (like peaches), in combination with foods rich in vitamin C (like peaches, again) (41).
12. Have Anti-Aging Properties
Topically applied vitamin C is also effective as a rejuvenation therapy – it helps in collagen synthesis, thereby slowing down aging (44). Peaches contain vitamin E as well, and it has been found that antioxidative protection for the skin is higher with the combination of vitamins C and E (45).
13. Help Reduce Stress
As per a report published by the University of Kentucky, peaches act as good stress relievers. They also help reduce anxiety (46). In fact, peach is called the ‘fruit of calmness’ in Hungary.
14. Promote Brain Health
Peaches are good sources of folate that promotes brain health (47).
15. Enhance Immunity
Peaches are rich sources of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps regulate the immune system (48). Another nutrient that makes peaches great foods for boosting immunity is vitamin C (49). If you don’t happen to be a fan of oranges but still want their immune-strengthening benefits, peaches can be a good alternative (50).
16. Promotes Stronger Bones And Teeth
The vitamin C in peaches, apart from having numerous other benefits, also helps build bones and teeth (51). Vitamin C, along with iron, can help reduce lead absorption. This is required for the proper growth of tissues, repairing of cartilages, and the strengthening of the bones and teeth (52).
The vitamin A in peaches also helps in promoting the health of bones and teeth (53).
17. Is Beneficial During Pregnancy
Peaches are a nutritional powerhouse and a great way to take care of the nutrient needs of you and your baby.
During pregnancy, the related hormones can slow down the movement of your intestines. This can lead to constipation. Peaches, being rich in fiber, can help solve this issue (54).
Peaches are also rich in folic acid that is crucial for the development of a healthy baby. It helps prevent serious birth defects (55).
18. Treats Candida Fungus
As per a Tunisian study, the polyphenols and flavonoids in peaches can play a major role in treating Candida fungus (56). It also contains condensed tannins that offer protection against Candida.
That’s about the benefits. And now, to the ‘fun’ side of peaches. The facts about the fruit you probably never knew!
Fun Facts About Peaches
- Peaches are a part of the rose family – just like plums, almonds, and apricots.
- The world’s only peach tower is located in Gaffney, South Carolina. It is a water tower in the shape of a peach that weighs more than 4.5 tons.
- Not just the fruit, even its seeds are useful. Peach seeds can add a wonderful flavor to liquors, syrups, and baked goods.
- The seeds contain hydrocyanic acid, which can be poisonous. But worry not – the acid is lethal only in extremely large amounts.
- The peach is also called ‘stone fruit’, given the hard pits surrounding its seeds.
- Peaches remain a symbol of good luck, longevity, and protection.
All fine. But how do you include these fruits in your diet?
How To Include Peaches In Your Diet
Here are a few ways you can include peaches in your diet:
- You can add peach slices to hot or cold cereals or yogurt. This will make for a peachy breakfast!
- You can toss fresh (or frozen) peaches into a blender with some milk. You can also add bananas and ice. A delicious smoothie is on the way!
- Add some fresh or frozen peaches at the bottom of the tumbler before pouring your everyday morning beverage.
- For a delicious snack, warm a few peach slices and add a little cinnamon. Post which you can include it in your meal.
And now, for some recipes …
1. Creamy Vegan Peach Ice Cream
What You Need
- 5 ml each of sweetened and unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 medium-sized ripe peaches
- Keeping the peaches aside, combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk to blend.
- Stir in the peaches gently.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream freezer.
- Freeze until it achieves an ice cream-like consistency.
- Scoop and serve.
2. Strawberry Peach Green Smoothie
What You Need
- 1 cup of chopped peaches
- 1 cup of whole strawberries and ½ cup of sliced ones
- 2 cups of Swiss chard of spinach
- ½ cup of clean water
- In your blender, layer the peaches, strawberries, and greens.
- Cover all the ingredients with clean water.
- Blend until smooth.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy.
3. Peach Berry Crumble
What You Need
- 1 cup of quick-cooking oats
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- ¼ cup of sliced almonds
For the filling, you can have the following:
- 4 to 5 ripe peaches
- ½ cup of sugar
- ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
- A pinch of salt
- 1 cup each of fresh blueberries and raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 175 o Take a pie plate and slightly butter it.
- In a bowl, mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the butter until it is crumbly. Toss in the nuts.
- For the filling, boil a large pot of water. You must also have a large bowl ready filled with ice water. Cut an X into the bottom of the peaches using a sharp knife. Blanch them until their skins begin to wrinkle. Remove them and place them in ice cold water. You can remove the skins with your fingers. Remove the pits and slice the fruit into wedges.
- In another bowl, add the peaches along with sugar, salt, flour, and the berries. Leave it as it is for 5 minutes, and then transfer to the pie plate. Sprinkle with the toppings, place it on a baking sheet, and bake until the topping is golden. This should take about 50 minutes.
- Place it on a wire rack and let it cool. Serve it warm. You can relish it along with vanilla ice cream.
4. Tomato Peach Salad With Basil
What You Need
- 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 ripe peaches, cut into wedges
- 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
- 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
- Fill a small saucepan with water and bring it to a boil.
- Add the basil leaves to the boiling water and cook for about 15 seconds, or until the leaves wilt and turn bright green.
- Transfer to a blender and puree until smooth.
- While the blender is running, add the olive oil and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
- On the serving platter, spread the basil puree. Arrange the peaches and tomatoes on the top.
- Sprinkle lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.
- Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve.
Now you know what to do with a bunch of peaches. But, how do you buy them? And what about the storage?
Selection And Storage
- Ensure you smell the fruit before selecting it. A peach must ideally have a pleasingly sweet fragrance as it belongs to the rose family.
- Look for peaches that are creamy gold or yellow. A red peach doesn’t mean it is ripe – it simply means it is of another variety.
- The fruit must be soft to touch. But not mushy. Also, don’t squeeze the peaches as they bruise easily.
- If it is a firm peach, place it on the counter at room temperature for a few days. It will ripen.
- Refrigerate the ripe peaches immediately and consume them within a week from purchase.
- Add lemon juice to sliced peaches to keep them from darkening.
However great peaches can be, they do come with certain warnings. Which is what we will look at now:
Warnings / Side Effects
Vegetables and fruits have been believed to help prevent cancer. Which is true. However, one study states that orange/yellow fruits or vegetables might increase the risk of colorectal cancer in men (57).
Peaches are also known as FODMAP foods. They contain poorly absorbed fermentable sugars and are incompletely absorbed in the small intestine. Instead, they are fermented in the large intestine, where they release gas (58). And hence causing bloating. You must eat peaches sparingly if you are prone to abdominal issues.
Peaches contain salicylates, which might cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. The pits of peaches contain a compound called amygdalin – which, when consumed in excess, breaks down to form hydrogen cyanide (which causes poisoning) (59).
And now, some frequently asked questions.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Can I eat peach skin?
Yes. Peach skin contains a lot of antioxidants. Peeling away the skin might make the fruit less nutritious.
Why are peaches fuzzy?
Though there is no exact reason, some scientists believe that fuzz helps protect the fruit from insects.
Are canned peaches good for me?
Yes. Certain studies say they could be better – in terms of nutrition content (60). However, ensure you don’t buy peaches packed in some syrup, but in their own juice. This helps avoid added sugar.
What is a white peach?
A type of peach, actually. The skin of white peaches is pink. They are lower in acid content and taste sweeter than their counterparts.
Do almonds come from peaches?
No. Almonds come from an almond tree.
What are the benefits of peach tea?
Peach tea is brewed from the fresh or dried leaves or the bark of the peach plant. It possesses several therapeutic properties. It helps strengthen the immunity, aids detoxification, promotes cardiac health, and relieves stress. It has most benefits of the peach fruit.
I am assuming you don’t have peaches stocked in your refrigerator yet. And I am also assuming you’ll get them. ASAP. Because, the benefits, as you saw.
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