Few sweet snacks embody summer quite like a peach. Feeling the soft fuzz against your upper lip, its slight tartness hitting your tongue, and sweet juice dripping from the corners of your mouth onto your hands are what warm backyard nights are made of.
However, peaches have a lot more to offer than just that summertime feeling (although that’s definitely a big plus, IMO). Here, integrative and functional dietitian Nour Zibdeh, MS, RDN, CLT, explains what exactly it is about peaches that makes them so good for you.
What are the benefits of peaches?
1. Peaches are a good source of vitamin C. Sorry oranges, you aren’t the only fruit in town good for this. One medium-sized peach has 10 milligrams of the important antioxidant (about 13 percent of your recommended daily intake). “This is good for the immune system, reducing free radical oxidative damage, and reducing the risk for chronic diseases,” Zibdeh says.
2. They’re full of vitamin A. Zibdeh points to peaches’ high vitamin A content as another reason why the fruit is a healthy win. “Vitamin A is important for healthy skin and eyes, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system,” she says. “It’s also needed for building a healthy gut lining which is going to help fend off pathogens that we might encounter in our food or environment.” Carrots tend to get all the attention when it comes to vitamin A, but as Zibdeh points out, it’s far from the only way to get your fill.
3. They’re fibrous. Fiber is crucial for good gut health, but if you want to get as much fiber as you can from peaches, the key is to eat the whole fruit, not just enjoy its juice. One medium-sized peach has 3 grams of fiber—including the skin, so go ahead and eat that too!
4. Peaches have potassium. “Potassium is an important mineral that helps lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and balance fluids in the body,” Zibdeh says. There’s 285 mg of the stuff in one medium-sized peach—about 11 percent of what most adult women should be eating per day. “Deficiency in potassium can cause muscle cramps,” she adds, making the point that it’s not a bad idea to enjoy one as a post-workout snack.
5. They contain calcium. One medium-sized peach has nine milligrams of calcium (a small amount, but still there!), which contributes to strong bones and teeth. So if you snack on yogurt on the reg with bone health in mind, add some peaches on top to get even more of this important benefit.
6. Peaches are hydrating. Peaches are between 85 and 89 percent water, which means they’re a great way to stay hydrated—especially when it’s hot out. While nothing can replace good ‘ol H20, the fruit is a good addition to what’s in your water bottle.
Negative qualities of peaches
While peaches are full of nutritional benefits, Zibdeh says it is important to be mindful of the sugar content, which is about 13 grams per medium fruit. “While peaches may have few extra grams of sugar compared to other fruit, to put it into perspective, it’s much less sugar than you would get from soda, juice, or a few small cookie,” she says.
If you are sensitive to FODMAP foods, peaches might not agree with you. “Peaches contain a type of natural sugar that feeds gut bacteria, and if you have a healthy gut and gut flora, that’s typically a good thing. However, if you have digestive discomforts like stomach pain, bloating, gas, belching, diarrhea, or constipation or if you have been diagnosed with IBS or SIBO, you may not tolerate peaches,” Zibdeh explains. “They are often in the ‘avoid’ lists in digestive healing diets like the low FODMAPs diet.” If you notice stomach upset after eating peaches, Zibdeh suggests consulting with a digestive health dietitian or a doctor to see what’s going on.
3 ways to try peaches
Charring and caramelizing the peach flesh and topping it off with a smooth, nutty cream is a completely new way to enjoy the summer fruit. This recipe also calls for raspberries and oranges, which ups the antioxidant content while adding extra flavor.
Enjoy a peachy treat on the go—without getting your hands all sticky—by working it right into your smoothie. Also featuring ginger, turmeric, and black pepper, this morning beverage helps reduce inflammation.
Blend peaches with honey and non-dairy yogurt, freeze it for a couple hours, and transform it into a creamy, nutrient-rich vegan ice cream! And yes, it tastes like pure magic, too.
Check out this low-sugar fruit pyramid for healthy options that won’t spike your blood sugar. Another fruit you don’t want to overlook: pears.
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