The benefits of peaches

The benefits of peaches

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Peaches – or  Prunus persica  – small fruits with a rough peel and sweet white or yellow pulp.

They are believed to have originated in China over 8,000 years ago ( 1 ).

Peaches are botanically related to plums , apricots , cherries and almonds. They are considered stone fruits or stone fruits, because their flesh surrounds the bone.

They can be eaten on their own or added to various dishes. Moreover, peaches are nutritious and can bring a range of health benefits, including improved digestion, smooth skin, and allergy relief. In the article we will consider in detail the healing properties of peaches based on scientific facts.

What are the healing properties of peaches

Here are 10 amazing benefits for the health and use of peaches1.

1. Packed with nutrients and antioxidants

Peaches are rich in many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.

One medium-sized peach (150 grams) provides approximately ( 2 ):

  • Calories: 58
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: less than 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 14 grams
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Vitamin C: 17% Daily Value (CH)
  • Vitamin A: 10% of CH
  • Potassium: 8% of CH
  • Niacin: 6% of CH
  • Vitamin E: 5% of CH
  • Vitamin K: 5% of CH
  • Copper: 5% of CH
  • Manganese: 5% of CH

Peaches also offer less magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and some B vitamins.

In addition, they contain antioxidants – beneficial plant compounds that fight oxidative damage and help protect your body from aging and disease. The fresher and richer the fruit, the more antioxidants it contains ( 3 ,  4 ,  5 ,  6 ).

In one study, fresh peach juice demonstrated antioxidant effects in healthy men within 30 minutes after ingestion ( 7 ).

It has been proven that fresh and canned peaches contain the same amount of vitamins and minerals – provided that the canned varieties are not peeled ( 8 ,  9 ).

However, fresh peaches have a higher level of antioxidants and are therefore more effective in protecting against oxidative damage than canned ones ( 9 ,  10 ).

Peaches are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They also contain beneficial plant compounds, such as antioxidants, which can help protect your body from aging and disease.

2. May aid digestion

The healing properties of peaches begin in a beneficial effect on the health of the gastrointestinal tract.

One medium-sized fruit produces about 2 grams of fiber, half of which is soluble fiber, and the other half is insoluble ( 2 ,  11 ).

Insoluble fiber increases the volume of your stool and helps promote food through the intestines, reducing the chance of constipation ( 12 ).

Soluble fiber, on the other hand, provides food for beneficial bacteria in the gut. In turn, these bacteria produce short chain fatty acids, such as acetate, propionate and butyrate, which nourish intestinal cells.

Short chain fatty acids in the intestines can also help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of digestive disorders such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis ( 13 ,  14 ,  15 ).

Peach blossom petals are another part of the fruit that can aid digestion. They are widely used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive disorders.

Animal studies show that the compounds contained in flowers can effectively increase the strength and frequency of contractions of the intestines, which helps maintain the right rhythm in order to smoothly promote food ( 16 ).

Peaches contain fiber, which promotes normal digestion and reduces the risk of intestinal upsets. Peach blossoms are also good for intestinal health.

Peaches and other fruits

3. May improve heart health

Eating fruit regularly, including peaches, can contribute to heart health.

Peaches can lower cardiovascular risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol ( 18 ).

Moreover, in vitro studies show that peaches can bind to bile acids – compounds that your liver produces from cholesterol.

Associated bile acids – together with the cholesterol they contain – are excreted through the feces over time, which can help lower blood cholesterol ( 19 ).

Additional in vitro and animal studies have shown that the healing properties of peach can reduce the levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, as well as blood pressure and triglycerides ( 20 ,  21 ,  22 ).

Studies in obese rats have also shown that peach juice can lower the level of the hormone angiotensin II, which raises blood pressure ( 22 ,  23 ).

Although these effects seem promising, more research is needed to confirm them in humans.

Peaches contain compounds that can help lower risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, as well as triglycerides and cholesterol. However, additional human studies are needed.

4. Good for skin health

Peaches can have a protective effect that helps keep your skin healthy.

In vitro studies show that compounds found in peaches can improve your skin’s ability to retain moisture – thus improving skin texture ( 24 ).

Moreover, in vitro and animal studies show that extracts made from peach flowers or pulp applied directly to the skin can help prevent ultraviolet damage ( 25 ,  26 ,  27 ).

Peach flower extracts have also been found to inhibit the development of skin tumors in mice ( 28 ).

However, in order to draw conclusions, additional studies in humans are needed.

The healing properties of peaches for the skin are provided with compounds that help keep your skin healthy by maintaining hydration and protecting against the harmful effects of the sun. However, more research is needed.

5. May prevent some types of cancer

Like most fruits, peaches provide healthy plant compounds that can offer some protection against various types of cancer.

In particular, peach peel and pulp are rich in carotenoids and caffeic acid – two types of antioxidants with antitumor properties ( 29 ,  30 ,  31 ,  32 ).

In vitro and animal studies have also shown that compounds in peach can limit the growth of non-malignant skin tumors and prevent their transformation into malignant tumors ( 33 ).

Not to mention that peaches are full of polyphenols, a category of antioxidants that studies have shown to reduce growth and limit the spread of cancer cells in vitro studies ( 34 ).

Peach polyphenols can also kill cancer cells without harming healthy ones ( 35 ).

In one animal study, these polyphenols were especially effective in preventing the growth and spread of a certain type of breast cancer.

Researchers report that a person needs to eat about two to three peaches per day in order to consume the amount of polyphenols equivalent to the amount used in the study ( 34 ).

In another study, postmenopausal women who consumed at least 2 peaches or nectarines daily had a 41% lower risk of breast cancer for 24 years ( 36 ).

Thus, we see that the healing properties of peach can be truly promising. However, few studies have been conducted in humans, so scientific evidence is needed.

Compounds found in peaches may offer some protection against cancer by limiting the formation, growth, and spread of cancer cells. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

6. May reduce allergy symptoms

Peaches can reduce allergy symptoms.

When your body is exposed to an allergen, it releases histamines or chemicals produced by your immune system to help rid your body of the allergen.

Histamines are part of your body’s defenses and cause allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, or coughing.

Studies show that peaches can help reduce allergy symptoms by preventing the release of histamines into the bloodstream ( 37 ).

Moreover, in vitro studies report that peach extracts can also be effective and limit the inflammation commonly seen in allergic reactions ( 38 ,  39 ).

However, more research is needed to determine the healing properties of peaches in relation to immune function, especially in people with allergies.

Peaches can help reduce the immune system’s response to allergens, thereby reducing allergy symptoms. However, more research is needed, especially in humans.

7-9. Other Potential Benefits

Peaches can offer several other health benefits. The best studied include:

  1. May boost immunity: peaches are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. In vitro studies show that they can also fight certain types of bacteria ( 40 ).
  2. They can protect against certain toxins: in one study, peach extracts given to smokers increased urinary excretion of nicotine ( 41 ).
  3. May lower blood sugar: studies show that compounds found in peaches can help prevent high blood sugar and insulin resistance in obese rats ( 22 ).

However, these studies were small, and most of these healing properties were not observed in humans.

Peaches can boost immunity, rid the body of toxins, and lower blood sugar. However, research in these areas is limited.

10. Widely available and easily added to the diet.

Peaches are easy to find and can be added to your diet in many ways.

They can be consumed raw, baked, grilled, fried or stewed and easily added to warm or cold dishes.

For example, fresh peaches are a great, nutritious snack and can be eaten either on their own or with yogurt and a handful of nuts.

Peaches can be added to salads or stirred in a hearty chickpea curry. They add an unexpected touch to salsa and are also a popular ingredient in many desserts.

Finally, peaches can be mashed to make smoothies or fruit water.

Peaches are widely available and can be eaten in various ways. Enjoy them yourself or easily include them in main courses, side dishes, smoothies or desserts.

Peaches at the market

How to choose and store peaches

Peaches come in different varieties – some white, others yellow. White peaches are sweeter and yellow ones are more tart.

When choosing peaches, as a rule, the sweeter their smell, the more ripe they will be. Try to avoid brownish, bruised, or wrinkled fruits that may be damaged or overripe. Instead, look for peaches with hard or only slightly soft flesh.

You can say that the peach is ripe and ready to eat when you press on its flesh and feel that it is slightly amenable to pressure.

Peaches continue to ripen after harvest. Therefore, if your peaches are too hard, try leaving them on the table for one to three days.

Ripe peaches are stored for about a week at room temperature. If you do not plan to consume them during these periods, it is best to store them in the refrigerator to avoid over-aging.

Ripe peaches can also be frozen, but it is best to cut them first and cover their flesh with a little lemon juice to avoid darkening.

Peaches can be bought in canned or frozen form. Keep in mind that canned peaches usually contain less antioxidants than fresh or frozen peaches, and for a healthier choice, try choosing a variety packaged in water instead of syrup ( 9 ,  10 ).

It’s best to buy fresh peaches that are either unripe or slightly ripe. Fresh peaches are the most nutritious, then, according to their usefulness, they are frozen and canned. If you buy canned food, it is best to choose varieties packaged in water without adding sugar.

Final thoughts

Peaches are rich in many vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.

They are easily included in various dishes. The healing properties of peaches are diverse – they can bring impressive health benefits, including healthier skin, fewer allergy symptoms, and improved digestion and heart health.

Peaches are also associated with a lower risk of certain cancers and can increase immunity, protect against toxins, and lower blood sugar.

In general, it is a fruit that is worth adding to your diet.

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