What Is Peach?
Peaches are juicy and versatile summer fruits that are native to China and South Asia.
Their Latin name is Prunus persica and peaches are a product of deciduous trees that grow in temperate regions of the world.
Peaches belong to the family of Rosaceae, which includes fruits like plums and cherries.
China is the largest producer of peaches and they are auspiciously revered as a Chinese symbol of longevity and immortality.
Other top contributors to peach production are Italy, Spain, the United States, and Greece.
In fact, Georgia is also known as the “peach state” for its contribution in producing the highest quality peaches with respect to flavor, texture, and nutritional content.
Peaches attained the rank of the state fruit of Georgia in 1995.
They are available in different sizes, and their colors range from yellow to red, depending on the country of origin.
Unlike nectarines, which have a smooth outer surface, peaches have fuzzy, velvety skin. They have a delicate aroma and a juicy, yellowish pulp.
Peaches are drupes or stone fruits because their outer fleshy part surrounds a shell, which encloses an edible seed.
Based on the grip of the flesh being free or rigid on the seed, peaches are classified in the clinging-stone variety where the pulp clings tightly to the pit.
A semi-freestone in which the flesh separates out with little effort, and a free-stone variety in which the pulp separates easily from the pit.
Health Benefits Of Peaches
The peels and the pulp of peaches possess significant antioxidant properties.
The presence of chlorogenic acid in these fruits also contributes to their protective effects.
Antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin help in scavenging oxygen-derived free radicals and thus protect the body against the harmful effects of various diseases.
Peaches are widely used in the cosmetic industry for the manufacturing of skin creams and beauty packs.
The wealth of flavonoids and essential vitamins and minerals in peaches help in sloughing off dead cells, as well as hydrating and revitalizing the skin.
The antioxidants, in peaches, promote faster recovery of skin problems such as blemishes and spots.
Peaches are rich in beta-carotene, which gets converted into vitamin A within the body.
Beta-carotene plays an important role in maintaining healthy eyesight and preventing various eye diseases like xerophthalmia and blindness.
An investigative research study has shown that the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, present in peaches have positive effects associated with a reduced prevalence of nuclear cataract.
As suggested by the studies, lutein and zeaxanthin reside in the macular pigment of the eye and help in protecting the retina from age-related macular degeneration.
In addition to this, these components present in peaches guard the retinal tissues against the damage caused by free radicals and the potential injury caused by high-wavelength light.
Useful in Pregnancy
Peaches are valuable during pregnancy due to the presence of a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin C helps in the healthy growth of the bones, teeth, skin, muscles, and blood vessels of the baby. It also helps in the absorption of iron, which is extremely crucial during pregnancy.
The folate in peaches helps in preventing neural tube defects like spina bifida. Potassium, in peaches, helps in averting the muscle cramps and general fatigue, which is common during pregnancy.
The presence of fiber aids in healthy digestion and reduces conditions like constipation.
Peaches have been linked with fighting of colon cancer and preventing any digestive disorders.
Digestion is the core function that our body performs in order for us to survive and fight off diseases.
Peaches have a high fiber content, which protects the gut from health complications such as diarrhea, hemorrhoids, ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders.
It also ensures a healthy and regular bowel movement to keep the metabolic rate of the body high.
A good digestive system ensures your body is absorbing nutrients properly from the food you intake. Peaches are a great way of adding fiber to your diet.
Healthy Brain Function
Our body relies on the brain to perform even the most common functions, like sleeping or eating.
Without a healthy functioning brain, it is difficult for the organs to receive proper messages through the nervous system.
Peaches have proven effects on the central cholinergic system and help improve brain function tremendously.
Children under the age of five should eat peaches regularly to help with cognitive growth and development.
Immunity is the body’s army against germs, diseases, infections and free radicals. A healthy immunity will ensure a healthy metabolism, which is necessary for effective muscular functionality.
The ascorbic acid and zinc in peaches help the body maintain a strong and healthy immune system.
Vitamin C helps combat seasonal viruses and infections that generally weaken your immunity.
Peaches also slow down the process of cellular degeneration as it contains vitamin C, zinc, and magnesium.
Peach Nutrition Facts
Peaches are part of the genus Prunus, which includes the cherry, apricot, almond and plum. It’s also part of the subgenus Amygdalus along with the almond, as they’re both distinguished by their corrugated seed shells.
The peach is known officially as Prunus persica, earning its unique name from the journey it took from its location of origin, China, through Persia via the Silk Road to Europe.
In addition to its many vitamins and minerals, low calorie content and, of course, delicious flavor, the peach also comes packed with great antioxidants, including all five classifications of carotenoids.
As a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C, plus beneficial fiber, it’s no wonder peaches are such a wonder fruit when it comes to maintaining optimal health and fighting disease.
One medium-sized peach (about 2 ⅔ inches in diameter) contains about:
- 59 calories
- 14 grams carbohydrates
- 1.4 grams protein
- 0.4 gram fat
- 2.3 grams fiber
- 10 milligrams vitamin C (16 percent DV)
- 489 IU vitamin A (9 percent DV)
- 285 milligrams potassium (8 percent DV)
- 14 milligrams magnesium (3 percent DV)
- 0.4 milligram iron (2 percent DV)
A common question people have about peaches is, “Are peaches similar to nectarines?” The answer to that is yes.
Actually, peaches and nectarines are identical fruits genetically, save one genetic allele that causes nectarines to have a smooth, fuzz-free peel.
Nectarines are not, as some people believe, a cross between a peach and a plum.