Peaches (Prunus persica) are delicious and very popular fruits native to China. It’s a small fruit with a sweet yellow or white flesh and fuzzy peel. Peaches are related to almonds, cherries, apricots, and plums. They are considered stone fruit or drupes because the yellow/white flesh surrounds a large middle seed. The fruit can be eaten on its own or added to other dishes.
Peaches are highly nutritious and offer many health benefits, including allergy relief, smoother skin, and improved digestion. There are two varieties of peaches, including clingstone and freestone.
Packed with valuable nutrients like other veggies and fruits, peaches offer many health benefits through their antioxidant properties. The good part is their natural sweetness makes them a great add-on to zero-calorie, processed desserts. Following are some of the health benefits you’ll get from eating peaches.
Help Fights Cardiovascular Disease
Studies show that bioactive compounds present in peaches (and nectarines and plums) might prevent cardiovascular disease and other obesity-related diseases. Researchers believe that catechins, quercetic derivatives, chlorogenic acids, and anthocyanin present in these fruits work together to reduce LDL cholesterol, inflammation related to metabolic syndrome, and obesity.[i]
Aids Production Of Vitamin A
Peaches have carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, and provitamin A carotenoids. The body may process these to vitamin A, which is very important in boosting the immune system and normal vision.[ii]
Reduces risks of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity
Peaches are high in fiber. Fiber is essential for body health since it helps remove bad cholesterol from our bodies; it increases satiety, promotes bowel health, and might help control blood sugar levels. A fiber-rich food can help prevent specific cancers and minimize the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Moreover, eating diets rich in fiber will help keep you full for more extended periods, thus promoting weight loss.[iii]
Helps Fight Inflammation
Peaches are very rich in antioxidants, particularly vitamin C. Antioxidants play a significant role in destroying the free radicals, which result from oxidation in the body and could lead to cancer, stroke, heart disease, and other inflammatory diseases. Undoubtedly, vitamin C is a well-known antioxidant. Besides its antioxidant properties, the vitamin also helps in cell repair and boosting immunity, including anti-aging effects and wound healing.[iv]
Reducing Cancer Risk
Peaches offer a substantial amount of vitamin C. As mentioned above; vitamin C is a good antioxidant that helps destroys free radicals and compounds linked to cancer development. For this reason, enough vitamin C intake might help a person reduce the risks of cancer. Nevertheless, exposure to other risk factors like smoking significantly decreases the amount of vitamin C a person needs.
Preserving Skin Health
Studies show that regular consumption of vitamin C improves the appearance of the skin. As a powerful antioxidant, it plays a significant role in the formation of collagen. This collagen functions as a skin support system, improving skin strength and promoting wound healing. Essentially, vitamin C improves one factor or perceived or actual skin appearance, including coloring, roughness, and elasticity, and wrinkling.
Peach Nutrition Facts
One cup serving of peach contains 14g of carbs, 13g of sugar, and 2g of fiber. Peaches are low glycemic fruits, meaning they have minimal effect on blood sugar levels. On the other hand, the glycemic index and glycemic load of peaches is 28 and 4, respectively. This puts them in a lower range for GL and GI.
The peach is a low-fat food with less than 0.5 grams of fat per fruit. The small amount of peaches is a heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.
Peaches are not rich in protein. Once peach contains 1g of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Peaches contain many essential macronutrients, including vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin. Also, the fruit provides about 247mg of potassium. This is about 7% of the daily-recommended intake.[vi]
Fructose is the natural sugar found in peaches. This sugar is associated with metabolic disease and obesity. However, the small amount of fructose found in peaches isn’t enough to cause any harm (especially if balanced with other beneficial compounds and other fruits).
Moreover, the fructose found in the fruit makes peaches a high FODMAP fruit. So, suppose you’re on a low FODMAP diet to alleviate digestive symptoms because of Crohn’s disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In that case, it’s recommended that you avoid peaches.[vii]
Some children and adults might develop allergic reactions to peaches. This might be true, especially among people with an allergy to birch pollen since the protein in the pollen is similar to that in peaches. Since this isn’t a real food allergy, it’s widely known as OAS (Oral Allergy Syndrome). Some of the most common allergies associated with peaches include itchy throat or mouth or swelling of throat, tongue, mouth, or lips. Therefore, if you suspect an allergy to peach, the best thing you should do is contact a health physician.[viii]
As mentioned earlier, there are two main varieties of peaches, including clingstone and freestone. The name shows whether the flesh comes apart from the inner seed or sticks to it.
Freestone peaches are often consumed out of hand mainly because the flesh part from the stone or shell comes out easily. On the other hand, peaches are the best option for cooking and are most often used for canning. Also, some peach varieties are semi-clingstone/semi-freestone. There are dozens of peach varieties within these categories with variations in shape, size, and color.
Also, you’ll find dried, frozen and canned peaches. The canned peaches may be preserved in juice or syrup and add to the peaches’ sweetness (and calorie and sugar count). Also, some producers can the peach in water, which doesn’t add any extra carbohydrates or calories to the fruit. Frozen peaches have the same nutritional value as fresh peaches.
Also, peaches can be preserved through drying, which removes water. Dried peaches are great snacks, but they contain more carbohydrates, calories, and sugar than fresh peaches. A half-cup of the dried unsweetened peaches contains 33g of sugar, 49g of carbs, and 191 calories.
Peaches are native to Northwest China and have been grown since 1000 B.C.E. in Chinese culture; peaches have a special significance. For instance, the peaches are considered symbols of unity and immortality. The Chinese brides carry peach blossoms during weddings.
Peaches made their way to the west through the silk roads to Persia, which earned them the scientific name (prunus persica). Alexander the Great discovered peaches in Persia. Also, it was Alexander the Great who introduced peaches to the Greeks.
Spaniards introduced the fruits to South America, and the French brought peaches to Louisiana. The Britons took them to their Massachusetts and Jamestown colonies. Columbus brought peaches to America on his 2nd and 3rd voyages.
Today, China is the world’s largest commercial producer of peaches, followed by Italy. In the European Union, Italy is the largest exporter of peaches. The regions of Emilia Romagna and Campania account for over 505 of Italy’s yearly production. On the other hand, California produces over 50% of peaches grown in the United States.
You can only find true wild peaches in China. However, unlike the cultivated peaches, the wild ones are fuzzy, small, and sour. Overall, peaches are a popular cereal and snacking fruit and make incredible jams and pies.
Best Way to Prepare Peaches
Peach can be eaten on its own or can be added to salsa, cottage cheese, yogurt, smoothies, as well as cold or hot cereal, and other savory relishes and chutneys. Use peaches to add color, sweetness, and flavor to salads. Also, peaches can be stewed, grilled, or sautéed or used for preserves, chutneys, and jams.
Storage Tips And Safety
If you buy firm peaches, you should store them at room temperature for about three days so that they can soften. To improve ripening, place peaches in a plastic bag. Refrigerate when the peaches are ripe. If refrigerated, the peaches don’t ripen any further; eat in 2 or 3 days. Don’t wash peaches up to when you’re ready to eat them.
When are peaches best?
How to buy peaches?
What are the Benefits of eating peaches?
Why should you eat peaches?
Can peaches help lose weight?
Are peaches best for sleep?
Is a peach safe to eat?
- [i] McRae MP. Dietary fiber is beneficial for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: An umbrella review of meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med. 2017;16(4):289-299. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2017.05.005
- [ii] Saari JC. Vitamin A and vision. Subcell Biochem. 2016;81:231-259. doi:10.1007/978-94-024-0945-1_9
- [iii] Ibanez F, Castillo P, Cao C, Simons P, Cisneros-Zevallos L. Stone fruit extracts revert insulin resistance and glucose insensitivity in cell models (muscle, hepatic, and pancreatic beta cells) associated to type 2 diabetes. Am Chem Soc National Meeting Book of Abstracts. 2012;244.
- [iv] Pullar JM, Carr AC, Vissers MCM. The roles of vitamin C in skin health. Nutrients. 2017;9(8):866. doi:10.3390/nu9080866
- [v] Peach, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.
- [vi] National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Potassium fact sheet for health professionals. Updated June 3, 2020.
- [vii] Gaby AR. Adverse effects of dietary fructose. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(4):294-306.
- [viii] Kim JH, Kim SH, Park HW, Cho SH, Chang YS. Oral allergy syndrome in birch pollen-sensitized patients from a Korean university hospital. J Korean Med Sci. 2018;33(33):e218. doi:10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e218