Fragrant, juicy, practical to take with you and colourful, peaches are the queens of summer! Today we'll see why it's such a good idea to savor these delicacies, and we're not just talking about their taste. In fact, peaches bring important health benefits, here are the ones based on the most interesting scientific research.
Peaches are the fruit of the Prunus persica tree. These fruits make their appearance in China about 3000 years ago, and then spread to the rest of Asia and of the world, becoming one of the best known and loved fruits. There are more than 3,000 different varieties of peaches. Perhaps we won't find them all at the greengrocer's near home but we can certainly find a vast choice in the shelves of shops, including peaches with smooth or hairy skin, with yellow or white flesh, round or squashed. Peaches are low-calorie fruits but contain a high amount of vitamins, especially vitamins A, B and C, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and iron. Indeed, among all the fruits, peach stands out for its iron content! Peaches are also antioxidants and provide flavonols and anthocyanins, contained both in the pulp and in the peel (Wu et al, Foods, 2022 - Petruccelli et al, Plants, 2023). The red flesh peach variety is the one with the highest content of phenolic compounds and vitamin C (Serra et al, Foods, 2020).
Peaches for the heart
Peach pulp protects the health of the cardiovascular system. In particular, according to studies, this action can be traced back to the peach's ability to inhibit the release and action of free radicals and to interfere with a hormone, called angiotensin II, implicated in a series of harmful conditions for the heart such as hypertension, arteriosclerosis, heart attack and coronary heart disease (Lemarie et al, J Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone Syst, 2010 - Kono et al, Food Chem, 2013).
Peaches against cellular degeneration
Thanks to their antioxidant content, peaches have also demonstrated an important antioxidant and anticancer action, especially proven with regard to the breast and the various tumors that can affect it (Noratto et al, J Agric Food Chem, 2009 - Vizzotto et al, Food Chem, 2014). Studies have shown that post menopausal women who consume at least 2 peaches a day have a 41% reduced risk of developing breast cellular degeneration. A similar result can also be obtained by consuming more than one serving of blueberries a week (Fung et al, Breast Cancer Res Treat., 2013).
Peaches for the skin
Peaches contain ceramides, which are substances that contribute to the health and beauty of the skin. In fact, studies have shown that taking ceramides extracted from peaches helps keep the skin hydrated and improve skin texture (Koikeda et al, Curr Med Chem, 2017).
Peaches, fresh, canned, syrup or juice?
Peaches are excellent when eaten fresh, being able to offer their maximum potential in terms of vitamins, mineral salts and antioxidants. However, when it's not season what can we do? There are some peach products available all year round, such as canned peaches or peach syrup. Studies have shown that there is nothing like fresh peaches when it comes to antioxidant properties. However, even canned peaches contain antioxidants capable of counteracting free radicals and inflammation, albeit in smaller quantities than the fresh fruit. The vitamin content was comparable to that of the fresh fruit (Durst et al, J Sci Food Agric, 2013). So canned peaches are a tasty way to stock up on vitamins and antioxidants even during the months when fresh peaches aren't in season. Peach syrup, on the other hand, did not show noteworthy properties (Gasparotto et al, J Clin Biochem Nutr, 2014). Even peach juice, with no added sugar, can be a good alternative, having been shown to counteract free radicals (Ko et al, J Med Food, 2005).