Stone Fruits Help Ward Off Obesity
Categorized as "stone fruits" or "drupes" due to the large, firm pits inside them, peaches are associated with apricots, plums, nectarines and cherries. And being part of the stone fruit family, they're often recognized for their connection to warding off extreme weight gain and obesity, according to a study conducted by Texas AgriLife Research.
"Stone fruits like peaches contain bioactive and phenolic compounds, specifically anthocyans, quercetins, catechins and chlorgenic acids, that collaborate to fight obesity and inflammation," Lisa Moskovitz (RD, CDN), the CEO of New York Nutrition Group says.
These four phenolic compounds, according to Adena Neglia (MS, RDN, CDN) of Brown & Medina Nutrition, assist with the process of fighting obesity thanks to their anti-oxidant effects.
"This means that they react with dangerous free radicals to prevent them from damaging our health," Neglia says. "The combination of phenolic compounds in peaches work together to decrease the risk of oxidation-associated diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease."
They're Full of Vitamins
Containing vitamin A, C, E and K, as well as six of the B complex vitamins, peaches offer a wealth of health benefits for the human body, from improving our vision (vitamin A), to assisting our immune system function (vitamin C).
"Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects red blood cells from being damaged, while vitamin K plays a critical role in blood clotting," Neglia says. "Finally, the B vitamins are essential for proper metabolism and play a role in healthy cell and nerve functions."
Assists with Eye Health
Not a fan of carrots or leafy greans? Although it's still recommended to keep these nutritious foods in your diet, if you're struggling with weak vision and want something other than veggies to munch on, peaches should be your go-to. These stone fruits act as a rich source for beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A and promotes "proper circulation and blood flow throughout the body which in turn, keeps your eyes strong and healthy," according to Moskovitz.
And with one medium peach containing approximately 243 micrograms of beta carotene, peaches not only help maintain healthy vision, but they can also help prevent eye infections.
They're Great for Pregnancy
Thankfully for all you moms-to-be out there, peaches aren't banned during pregnancy, so feel free to enjoy as many as you want. Chock-full of nutrients, the sweet fruit is a healthy choice, especially when it comes down to the child's development.
According to research conducted by BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, taking folic acid supplementation during pregnancy can help reduce the risk for small for gestational age (SGA). In turn, this can help prevent complications in the child later in life such as obesity, diabetes and mental health problems.
Peaches Are Rich In Potassium
Rich in healthy minerals, one medium peach contains about 285 mg of potassium, and approximately 14 percent of the recommended amount of potassium, according to Neglia.
"Potassium is required for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the body," Neglia says. "It helps with smooth muscle contraction which is crucial for a healthy heart, and works to maintain fluid balance which helps protect you against high blood pressure."
In addition to this, potassium can help prevent the formation of kidney stones while also lowering the risk of stroke.
Canned Peaches Might Be Just As Healthy
Although added sugar might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of canned fruits, a study from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture revealed that canned peaches can actually be equally as healthy as fresh peaches. In fact, it was reported that the level of vitamin C found in canned peaches was significantly higher than that in the fresh fruit. With that said, be aware the next time you're out at the grocery store, as many brands pack their products with excess sugar and syrup.
May Help Fight Cancer Cells
According to a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, it was reported that peach extract was shown to help fight off aggressive breast cancer cells.
"The cancer-fighting compounds that give peaches their credibility include powerful antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, and the phenolic compounds mentioned earlier," Moskovitz says.
It's important to note however that this study doesn't reveal a cure for cancer, as healthy as peaches may be.
"[The study] implies eating three peaches per day may help kill or inhibit metastasis of cancer cells," Neglia says. "The researchers say this is because of specific phenolic compounds in peaches. However, the study was conducted on mice, not humans, and the mice were consuming peach extract, not whole peaches. More research is needed before you start eating three peaches a day, so focus on eating the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables a day to stay healthy."
How are you going to add peaches to your diet? Tweet us @wewomenUSA!
This article was written by Emma Goddard. Follow her on Twitter @egoddardhokie.
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