Peaches

peaches-health-benefitsPeaches

Have you said these phrases or heard someone say, “You’re a peach?”, “Life’s a peach?”, or “I’m just peachy.

What is the meaning of these phrases above?

There are a number of meanings depending on how it is being used, but generally speaking, peachy means “very good or excellent” and it dates back to at least the 1900’s.  One source says some peaches were used to produce a natural high by interfering with the leptin receptors in the brain. Certain kinds of peaches were commonly sold as a drug and when people were “high” from eating them they said they were feeling “Peachy” and were outlawed in the 1940’s.

There are more than 300 varieties of peaches (Prunus persica literally means “Persian plum” and it is closely related to the plum) that grow and flourish in the United States, and over 2,000 varieties globally, although the fruit is native to China.

  1. The peach tree, in China, is often considered to be the “Tree of life”.  

  2. Peaches are a common symbol in Chinese art symbolizing immortality (or the wish for a long and healthy life).

  3. A healthy stress-reliever that helps reduce anxiety. Peaches are often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in Hungary.

Peach and nectarines are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. In contrast to peaches, whose fruits present the characteristic fuzz on the skin are dominant in a gene that produces trichomes (hairs) on the fruit. Nectarines are characterized by the absence of the recessive gene creating a (fuzz-less fruit). Peaches are also related to the cherry, apricot, and almond.  Two varieties, available May to November, fall into two general types: freestone and clingstone, based on how tightly the pit adheres to the surrounding flesh.  White peaches are sweeter than yellow peaches, but it is because white peaches are less acidic. Yellow peaches are more assertive in flavor and will stand up well in recipes needing a balance of sweet and tart.  Freestones are usually preferred for eating fresh or for freezing, while clingstones are used primarily for canning.

Perhaps being “Peachy” has something to do with how it benefits our health.

1. Protects Eye Vision

Beta-carotene is responsible for eye health and peaches contain a good amount of this antioxidant, along with vitamins A and C. Regular consumption of peaches can improve your vision health by increasing blood circulation throughout your body.

The beta-carotene also nourishes and protects the retinas in your eyes from free radical damage, as well as the carotenoids build up in the macular tissue of your eyes and helping to prevent cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

The powerful antioxidant like lutein, present in peaches is known as the “the eye vitamin”.

2. Promotes Skin Health

Peaches area great source of vitamins A and C, which are highly essential for skin health. Vitamin A provides moisture to the skin, which improves the skin’s texture making it soft and supple. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage.

Just one large peach a day can keep your skin glowing and flawless. You can also rub peaches directly on your skin to help get rid of dark circles and wrinkles.

3. Maintains Body Weight

Peaches are fat-free and contain an average of only 68 calories. The high amount of sugar in peaches is natural and therefore does not have an adverse effect on health. If you are on a weight-loss mission, having peaches handy will help you avoid more fattening and processed snacks.

4. Prevents Cancer

Peaches are rich with antioxidants that help prevent cancerous cell growth. Caffeic acid is an antioxidant specifically found in high levels in peach nutrition protecting the body from the dangerous carcinogenic mold aflatoxin that’s often found in certain types of food like peanuts, corn and peanut butter. Caffeic acid destroys 95% of the production of aflatoxin. Peaches are known particularly for effectively protecting the body against lung, colon and oral cancers. Also, polyphenols, phenolic acids, known as chlorogenic and neochlorogenic acid, in peaches successfully inhibited the growth and metastasis (spreading to other organs) of at least breast cancer cells. Peaches appear to stop one strain of breast cancer cell lines from growing without damaging normal cells.  It is recommend breast cancer patients eat two to three peaches a day to experience the same cancer-protective effects.

The compounds in peach seeds reduce the growth of papilloma (tumors) on the skin and slow their carcinogenesis, the process by which benign tumors develop into cancer.

5. Controls High Cholesterol

Eating peaches on regular basis may help control high cholesterol and problems that lead to diabetes and heart disease. This is mainly because peaches contain phenolic compounds that prevent the oxidization of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol.

Also, foods rich in beta-carotene like peaches are good for lowering the cholesterol level in the blood stream.

6. Improves Cardiovascular Health

The antioxidants in peaches benefit your heart by destroying free radicals that start chain reactions within your body and can damage or kill cells. Peaches also contain bio-active compounds that help fight metabolic syndrome, a combination of risk factors that causes inflammation, obesity and heart problems.

There are also other nutrients in peaches that promote cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol levels and increasing blood flow to the heart. Regular consumption of peaches will help protect you from heart attacks and strokes.

7. Supports Digestive Health

Eating peaches helps cleanse toxins from your colon, kidneys, stomach and liver due to its high fiber and potassium content.  The high fiber content pushes out any excess toxic waste matter from your colon, and the high amount of potassium reduces kidney-related diseases and reduces your chance of developing ulcers. Peaches are easy on the digestive system and generally will not cause stomach discomfort.

8. Controls Blood Pressure

One large peach contains a high amount of potassium and very low sodium, which can help you maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium works with sodium to regulate the body’s water balance and in turn helps to maintain a normal blood pressure.

Peaches also contain some magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, iron and calcium, which work together to support red blood cells and promote healthy blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, eating a peach daily can help combat the problem.

9. Protects Against Anemia

For those with iron-deficiency anemia, health experts suggest increasing your dietary intake of iron-rich foods like peaches. Iron helps increase the production of hemoglobin, thereby minimizing and preventing anemia. Peaches also have a high amount of vitamin C that helps your body absorb iron better.

10. Reduces Inflammation

Peaches have excellent anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Because inflammation is at the root of most diseases, it’s also helpful to know that peaches and other fruits like it help decrease inflammation levels in the body.  Dieticians recommend that those suffering from gout or rheumatism eat peaches on a regular basis. The high vitamin A in peaches also helps treat rheumatism. Peaches also can have a diuretic or a light laxative effect that helps reduce inflammation, one of the major symptoms of gout and rheumatism.

To get the maximum health benefits from peaches, eat them raw along with the skin. Just eat one fresh peach daily as part of a healthy lifestyle diet.

Sources:

  1. https://draxe.com/peach-nutrition/
  2. http://www.fruitsinfo.com/peach-health-benefits-nutrition-values.php
  3. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/16-health-benefits-of-peaches.html
  4. http://www.botanical-online.com/melocotonesangles.htm
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Hippocrates

Promoting a lifestyle of preventative care!

WELLNESS PRINCIPAL:  Health comes from within.  You cannot buy it in a bottle.

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