6 Health Benefits of Peaches

The stone fruit has more health benefits than you might realize.

Peaches are a member of the stone fruit family, along with nectarines, plums, apricots, and cherries, and they're also a relative of almonds. In addition to being downright delicious, especially at their peak, peaches offer some unique health benefits. Here are six reasons to get your fill of this gorgeous, fuzzy fruit while it's plentiful.

They're Good for Gut Health

One yellow peach (about 100 grams) contains 1.5 grams of fiber, according to the USDA. In addition to preventing constipation and supporting good digestive health, the fiber from peaches helps manage blood sugar levels. Peaches also contain prebiotics, which feed beneficial bacteria in the gut tied to anti-inflammation, immunity, and mood.

You Can Get a Boost in Your Immune System

Peaches support immunity in three ways. White and yellow peaches can contain between 4.15 to 14.2 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, per an October 2020 Foods study. Several types of immune cells need this nutrient for their production, function, and protection. Additionally, the vitamin A in peaches helps form the mucous membranes in your respiratory tract. Stronger membranes form better protective barriers to keep germs out of your bloodstream. Peaches also defend immunity by way of their natural antimicrobial properties, as noted by a January 2017 Frontiers in Microbiology study.

They Have Antioxidant Properties

Antioxidants are found in peaches, according to the October 2020 Foods study. Antioxidants are known to combat oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the production of cell-damaging free radicals and the body's ability to counter their harmful effects. That's key for brain health, as oxidative stress is known to be a causative factor in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

You Might See Healthier Skin

Peaches have beta carotene and vitamin C, per the USDA, which support healthy skin. Beta carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, helps protect skin from sun damage, warms skin tone, and helps create a natural glow. Vitamin C is needed to build collagen and improve skin elasticity. Peaches are also hydrating, as over 85% of a fresh peach is water.

Your Vision Could Improve

The lutein and zeaxanthin in peaches help protect the retina and lens. The two carotenoids have been shown to reduce the risk of two common eye disorders—macular degeneration and cataracts—as noted in an April 2017 Molecules article. The vitamin A in peaches also helps support healthy vision. While rare, a true deficiency of vitamin A can lead to a condition called xerophthalmia, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), which can damage normal vision and result in night blindness (the inability to see in the dark or low light).

They Can Be Helpful for Blood Pressure

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), peaches are high in potassium. Since consuming a lot of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, potassium can help regulate blood pressure by acting as a natural diuretic to sweep excess sodium and fluid out of the body. This relieves pressure on the heart and arteries, while simultaneously lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How To Add More Peaches to Your Diet

Peaches can be enjoyed in both savory and sweet dishes. Whip peaches into smoothies; add to oatmeal or overnight oats; puree for sauces, pudding, or frozen pops; incorporate into pie, cobbler, and other desserts; or enjoy them as is.

The stone fruit is fantastic grilled, added to garden salads, transformed into salsa, or slivered into slaw. Unlike cherries, peaches continue to ripen after they're picked. If you prefer a juicer peach, place it in a paper bag at room temperature to speed up its transformation.

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