An ancient oriental legend says that many years ago, in a small village, lived a fisherman. One day the man left the house to go fishing on the river but his raft got stuck in a cove. Not far away the fisherman saw a cave and, intrigued, walked through it until he came out into a valley entirely covered by trees with strange round and fragrant fruits, orange in color and that he had never tasted, peaches! The fisherman stayed in that valley for three days, feeding on peaches. Then he decided to return to the village but a surprise awaited him here, during his absence everything had changed, where before a small road passed, there were now houses, the market was no longer where he had left it and even the people were unrecognizable. How was this possible? The fisherman discovered, talking to the villagers, that 300 years ago a man had disappeared from there and that he had never been found ... it was him! It was not three days but 300 years, the peaches had kept him alive and rejuvenated. From that day on, peaches became sacred and considered a symbol of immortality. Well, clearly in reality, anyone who eats a peach will not live 300 years, but surely these juicy and delicious fruits are a real treasure trove of healthy properties. So, let's find out more about peaches and their beneficial effects.
Peaches provide vitamins, especially vitamins C, E and A, and fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar and support the intestinal microbiota, favoring those good bacteria responsible for the production of anti-inflammatory substances such as butyrate. Insoluble fibers are able to improve intestinal function and counteract constipation (Slavin et al, Adv Nutr, 2012 - Matt et al, Front Immunol, 2018). Peaches then bring mineral salts, such as magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, selenium, but, above all, potassium, about 8% of the daily requirement of this mineral, which is important for bone metabolism, to regulate blood pressure and for heart health (USDA, Food Data Central Database - Mihaylova et al, Foods, 2021). Both the pulp and the peel of peaches are a source of antioxidant substances, among which stand out chlorogenic acid, but also carotenoids, anthocyanins, flavonoids and phenolic acids with antitumor and anti free radicals action (Rossato et al, J Med Food, 2009).
Peaches and different colors
Peaches have a pulp that can have different colors depending on the substances contained. In yellow-fleshed peaches, carotenoids prevail, which give this shade. The white-fleshed peach, on the other hand, has a higher content of vitamin C and phenolic compounds (Serra et al, Foods, 2020). As for the red color, which is often observed in the skin and sometimes also in the pulp, here the merit is of anthocyanins, other powerful antioxidants (Veerappan et al, Plants, 2021). It should be emphasized that the peach varieties in which the red color prevails are considered those with the greatest antioxidant power, even comparable to that of blueberries (Serra et al, Foods, 2020). This is why it is important to eat peaches of all colors and varieties, in order to ensure a large supply of nutrients!
Peaches and antioxidant action
Peaches show an important antioxidant effect that comes into action just 30 minutes after their intake (Ko et al, J Med Food, 2005). It has been observed that DNA repair processes, especially in the liver, have been found to be more efficient in the case of a diet that also includes peaches, precisely due to their antioxidant action (Croteau et al, J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci, 2010). Not only that, the antioxidants in peaches have also shown an antitumor action, capable of inhibiting the proliferation of some types of tumors such as that of the breast (Vizzotto et al, Food Chem, 2014).
Peaches and heart health
Peaches are good for the heart. In fact, their intake helps to reduce a hormone, angiotensin II, which, by acting as a vasoconstrictor, increases blood pressure (Noratto et al, J Nutr Biochem, 2015). Not only that, peaches help to keep blood sugar and cholesterol under control and to reduce circulating pro-inflammatory substances (Noratto et al, J Nutr Biochem, 2015).
Peaches and skin
Peaches can protect the skin and make it soft, smooth and well hydrated. The credit goes to the ceramides contained in these delicious fruits. Ceramides are lipids present in the skin and are essential for supporting the skin barrier and retaining water. Ceramides tend to reduce with age and therefore supplementing these substances can help with the health and beauty of the skin. Peaches are the fruits with the highest content in ceramides and their regular consumption helps to counteract the loss of water and consequent dehydration of the tissues (Koikeda et al, Curr Med Chem, 2017).
Peaches and allergy
Peaches have been shown to counteract the inflammatory process caused by allergy, thus also reducing the risk of asthma and sinusitis (Shin et al, Food Chem Toxicol, 2010).