10 Plus Reasons to Eat a Peach Today
Peaches are juicy, sweet summer fruits that are full of potential health-benefitting nutrients. Don’t just save them for snacks and cobblers. There are many ways to enjoy peaches every day.
The prime season for peaches is between early June and late August. Fruits that are one-seeded, such as peaches (and nectarines, apricots, plums, or cherries) are also called drupes or stone fruits.
Although Georgia is known as the “Peach State,” actually most of the world’s peaches are grown in China. Only 5% of the overall crop is produced in the United States. And despite its name, Georgia is actually third in the US for peach-producing (California and South Carolina are numbers one and two, respectively).
One-half cup of sliced fresh peaches is only 30 calories (about 37 calories for a whole medium-sized fruit), but it is packed with many health-promoting nutrients.
There are more than 10 different kinds of vitamins in peaches. (See antioxidants in peaches and plums) They are a good source of vitamin C, which has anti-oxidant effects and could help the body develop resistance against infectious agents. They are also a good source of vitamin A and beta-carotene, which is essential for vision and maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Other important vitamins include Vitamin E (antioxidant), Vitamin K (helps blood clotting), and six of the B-complex vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid).
Peaches contain minerals such as potassium, fluoride, and iron and well. Potassium is an important mineral for blood pressure; Iron is essential for healthy blood and the delivery of oxygen to the cells.
The fruit is also an important source of dietary fiber. Each whole fruit delivers three grams which is essential for digestion plus benefits colon health. Fiber is also helpful in lowering cholesterol levels and regulating blood sugar.
Peaches also contain poly-phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxathin, and beta-cryptoxanthin which help protect the body against aging and other disease processes - possibly even some types of cancer.
Peaches are delicate fruits that bruise easily. Look for fragrant, smooth-skinned peaches without blemishes, soft spots or greenish skins. The peach flesh should give slightly when gently squeezed. Ripe peaches should be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to five days.
Before eating, be sure to wash peaches under cold running water to remove any dirt from the skin. If peeling or cutting up peaches for a recipe, keep them from turning brown by sprinkling with lemon or orange juice. If a recipe calls for peeled peaches, you can dip peaches cut into halves in boiling water for 30 seconds, then dip in cold water. The skins will slide off easily.
Obviously, peaches make an excellent fruit snack eaten whole. For breakfast, try adding chopped peaches to yogurt, cold cereal or oatmeal or adding them to the batter before making pancakes, waffles, muffins or bread. Peaches are also terrific in a smoothie recipe.
For lunch or dinner, add peaches into a fruit salad or try them as a “salsa” over pork or chicken. Southern Living Magazine has 57 wonderful peach recipes for you to try on today – “Eat a Peach Day” – or anytime during the summer months.
United States Department of Agriculture
Georgia Peach Council