Peaches are a member of the stone fruit family and full of health benefits. They boast high levels of vitamins, carotenoids, polyphenols, and other nutrients that can prevent a wide range of conditions. Additionally, some types are available year-round, making peaches an easy addition to any diet.
Vitamin and Caloric Content
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one raw, medium peach weighing around five ounces has 58 calories. It provides about 6% of the daily recommendation of vitamin A, 15% of vitamin C, and 2% of vitamins E, K, niacin, folate, iron, choline, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and copper. A single peach also supplies nine milligrams of calcium and 287 milligrams of potassium.
Maintaining a diet rich in fruit can promote a healthy heart. Peaches can lower factors that often lead to heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. Certain studies suggest that peaches can bind to bile acids that the liver produces from cholesterol. The body eventually excretes these, lowering cholesterol levels. Research involving rats reported that peaches may lower levels of angiotensin II, a hormone that raises blood pressure.
To combat invading pathogens, the body releases histamine as part of the immune response. While these histamines help protect the body, they also trigger common allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and itching. Peaches may inhibit the release of histamines, reducing symptoms from overactive immune systems. They may also limit inflammation that occurs as part of the immune response.
Peaches possess various nutrients that may be beneficial to skin health and appearance. Ceramides in peaches promote moisture retention, which can improve skin texture. Studies also showed that applying extracts from peach flesh and flowers could prevent UV damage. In mice, these extracts also protected against the growth of skin tumors, though additional research is necessary to confirm these effects in humans.
Peach skin and flesh are rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, polyphenols, and caffeic acid, which have anti-cancer effects. Peach polyphenols may possess the ability to kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells. Other studies proved that polyphenols in the fruit inhibited the growth of specific breast cancer cells.
Foods that are rich in fiber, like peaches, have many beneficial effects and protect against a range of conditions. Fiber can slow the absorption of sugar and improve blood sugar levels, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also encourages healthy and frequent bowel movements, which may prevent colorectal cancer. Studies also suggest that fiber-rich diets lower the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease and many types of cancer.
Eye Health and Vision
Peaches contain high levels of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Numerous studies have confirmed that increasing lutein levels could reduce the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Other research indicates that increased intake of carotenoids could prevent the development of cataracts. Additionally, vitamin A deficiencies can lead to many different eye conditions. Peaches are a rich source of vitamin A.
Stone Fruits and Metabolic Benefits
According to a 2012 study, peaches and other stone fruits have bioactive compounds that can fight off metabolic syndrome, an issue that leads to serious health complications. Researchers discovered that the mixture of phenolic compounds in stone fruits work simultaneously to fend off components of conditions like obesity, inflammation, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Canned Vs. Fresh Vs. Frozen
A study in 2013 found that levels of vitamin C, antioxidants, and folate were significantly higher in canned cling peaches than in fresh freestone peaches. The vitamin A content was similar in both — even though vitamin A and E levels decreased during the canning process, they stabilized afterward. Studies also show that frozen fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional value as fresh.
Listeria, Salmonella, and Peaches
Major public health investigations of peaches occurred in 2016 and 2020. In 2016, officials identified stone fruit packing, storage, and transportation conditions as the causes of Listeria monocytogenes survival and growth leading to a peach recall. In 2020, regulatory officials issued a recall due to findings of Salmonella enteritis at orchards and packing facilities. The Centers for Disease Control advise washing peaches under running water and cutting away any bruised or damaged areas before eating.