5 health perks to reap while relishing your peaches

 

Is there anything better in August then biting into a juicy peach? OK-maybe tomatoes are up there too but it’s pretty close. But truth be told, the nutritional value of peaches may be at the bottom of the list of reasons to eat them. The pleasures of the palate that peaches offer are hard to beat.

In any case, it is nice to know that when you bite into yet another delicious peach that you’re consuming top-notch nutrition.

Here are just 5 of the health perks you may reap when enjoying these luscious fruits.

Greater antioxidant intake
Peaches, like other stone fruit (nectarines, plums and apricots, for example) are packed with antioxidants, particularly those known as polyphenols. Quercetin and rutin are just a few of these compounds, some of which consumers look for in supplement form. Stick to the those in fruits and vegetables for maximum benefit.

Food for your healthy gut bacteria
If you read my blog, you’ve likely noticed I’ve been writing about our microbiomes lately. That’s because so much research is pointing to the assorted benefits of healthy bacteria in our gut. But if you’ve been focussing on probiotics only, you’re not being a good host. If you invite healthy bacteria to live in your gut, then feeding them right makes sense. Peaches not only offer fibre but the polyphenols contained also act as prebiotics- the fare of choice that healthy bacteria like.

Breast cancer fighter
Research shows  that peach and plum polyphenols may inhibit the spread of breast cancer cells while not affecting normal cells. While research has been done on extracts, meaning the effect occurs with larger amounts of fruit, the take away message to me is that these fruit are part of a bigger picture of consuming more produce on a daily basis.

Boosting your potassium intake
While there’s so much focus on the sodium content of our food to decrease our risk of conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease and stroke, the mineral potassium simply doesn’t get the attention it deserves in the equation.

In a review of more than 20,000 studies, researchers looking at sodium and potassium intakes and the risk of stroke concluded that paying attention to the ratio of sodium to potassium consumed was a key strategy to lowering the odds of having a stroke.
Peaches measure up calorie wise to those top bananas in terms of potassium. An extra small banana offers 290 mg of potassium for 72 calories while a medium peach clocks in at 285 mg of potassium for only 60 calories.

Help to keep you hydrated
That juicy peach is so juicy for a reason: consider that out of the 150 grams that a medium peach weighs, 133 grams are water. Produce can be a major contributor to hydration as many fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of water. And consider that science shows that water incorporated into food helps to fill you up and tame your appetite while simply drinking water on its own won’t fill you up.

Up next: the recipe for a delicious peach, tomato and corn salad

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Categories: Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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