The peach (Prunus persica) is a fruit, native to Northwest China, in the region between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Shan mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It belongs to the genus Prunus, which includes the cherry and plum. Peaches are available in many different sizes, and their colors range from yellow to red, depending on the country of origin. Unlike nectarines, peaches have fuzzy, velvety skin rather than a smooth outer surface.
Here are the seven health benefits of peaches.
1. Peaches may have anti-cancer effects.
Peaches possess anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties through phenolic and carotenoid compounds that fight various cancers. Also, research from AgriLife Research suggests that the chlorogenic and neochlorogenic components in peaches were responsible for killing breast cancer cells while not affecting the healthy cells. The two compounds are found in many fruits, but stone fruits like peaches contain the most.
Beta-carotene is another compound that can help fight cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who ate higher amounts of fruits and vegetables had a lower risked of lung cancer. Smokers may have to be careful with their beta-carotene intake. Several trial studies have reported that beta-carotene may have harmful effects included with its benefits. In one study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the total death rate was eight percent higher among smokers who received beta carotene than among those who did not. Another study from the same journal found that beta-carotene may have mixed health effects among smokers as well. After an average of four years of supplementation of vitamin A and beta-carotene, the smokers were more slightly more likely to die from lung cancer.
2. Peaches can help support healthy eyes.
Research, published in the Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, with 2,300 participants suggests that the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, present in peaches, have positive effects associated with a reduced prevalence of cataracts.
Another study found in JAMA Ophthalmology examined the intake of antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids in fruits and vegetables. They found that fruit intake was inversely linked with the risk of neovascular age-related maculopathy.
3. Peaches can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Peaches have a great potassium to sodium ratio. The recommended 4700 milligrams of potassium are not obtained by many individuals in the United States, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, despite the benefits of increased potassium intake. One large peach contains an incredible 333 milligrams of potassium, compared to zero milligrams of sodium. This helps the blood vessels relax and maintains proper blood pressure.
4. Peaches can contribute to improving your heart’s health.
One study suggested that people who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium, approximately 1,000 milligrams per day.
Another study that included over 1,300 people in China researched the link of daily flavonoid and stilbene, found in peached with heart disease risk factors in Chinese adults. They found that higher dietary flavonoid intake was associated with improving the lipid profiles in Chinese women. However, the significant relationships in the study were not found in men.
Research from the University of California, Davis has suggested that peaches have antioxidant activity that reduces low-density lipoprotein “bad” cholesterol levels while stimulating good HDL “good” cholesterol. This aids in reducing the risk of developing diseases related to the heart and maintains optimal cardiovascular health.
5. Peaches could help your body destroy skin infections.
Candidiasis is a fungal infection due to the yeast called Candida. Also known as thrush when affecting the mouth and yeast infection when referring to the women’s vagina, candidiasis is a highly uncomfortable condition. Luckily there are ways to potentially decrease the risk of this skin infection. A study published in Food Chemistry found that peach consumption could eliminate the growth of the fungus because of its polyphenols, bioflavonoids, and condensed tannins.
Also, one peach contains 19 percent of the vitamin C daily requirements. Vitamin C is a potent natural water-soluble antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents.
6. Peaches can help treat stomach disorders.
Having stomach problems are an uncomfortable feeling and can sometimes be dangerous. A research study found in the BioMed Research International found that peach flower extract can help increase the frequency and strength of stomach contractions in the gastrointestinal tract, thus preventing constipation, indigestion, or gastroesophageal reflux.
7. Peaches can you fight aging.
Zinc is a powerful mineral with many age-reversing benefits by playing an important role in maintaining the integrity and structure of the skin. A study published in Oregon State University suggested a link between zinc deficiency and the decline of the immune system and increased inflammation associated with many age-related health problems, including cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disease, and diabetes.
In the study, the researchers found that when the animals in the experiment were given about ten times their dietary requirement for zinc, the biomarkers of inflammation were restored to those of young animals. More research needs to be done on humans.
- Peaches, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1990/2
- Noratto, G., Porter, W., Byrne, D., & Cisneros-Zevallos, L. (2009). Identifying peach and plum polyphenols with chemopreventive potential against estrogen-independent breast cancer cells. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 57(12), 5219-5226.
- Vu, H. T., Robman, L., Hodge, A., McCarty, C. A., & Taylor, H. R. (2006). Lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract: the Melbourne visual impairment project. Investigative ophthalmology & visual science, 47(9), 3783-3786.
- Chang, S., Tan, C., Frankel, E. N., & Barrett, D. M. (2000). Low-density lipoprotein antioxidant activity of phenolic compounds and polyphenol oxidase activity in selected clingstone peach cultivars. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 48(2), 147-151.
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- Cho, E., Seddon, J. M., Rosner, B., Willett, W. C., & Hankinson, S. E. (2004). Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoidsand risk of age-related maculopathy. Archives of Ophthalmology, 122(6), 883-892.
- Li, G., Zhu, Y., Zhang, Y., Lang, J., Chen, Y., & Ling, W. (2013). Estimated daily flavonoid and stilbene intake from fruits, vegetables, and nuts and associations with lipid profiles in Chinese adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(6), 786-794.
- Belhadj, F., Somrani, I., Aissaoui, N., Messaoud, C., Boussaid, M., & Marzouki, M. N. (2016). Bioactive compounds contents, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities during ripening of Prunus persica L. varieties from the North West of Tunisia. Food chemistry, 204, 29-36.
- Han, W., Xu, J. D., Wei, F. X., Zheng, Y. D., Ma, J. Z., Xu, X. D., ... & Zhang, Y. C. (2015). Prokinetic activity of Prunus persica (L.) batsch flowers extract and its possible mechanism of action in rats. BioMed research international, 2015.
- Wong, C. P., Magnusson, K. R., & Ho, E. (2013). Increased inflammatory response in aged mice is associated with age-related zinc deficiency and zinc transporter dysregulation. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 24(1), 353-359.