Peaches – a wonderful sweet treat in the middle of summer! We’ve been enjoying peaches from our neighboring province of B.C. via the local Farmer’s Market – such a blessing! As I was enjoying a peach at breakfast, I started to wonder what exactly a peach is all about, nutritionally. I was fairly sure that peaches are great nutritional value in a little package, but what I found amazing about the peach is it’s origin!
Surprisingly, the peach is actually a member of the rose family, and it originates in China (who knew??). In fact, according to WebMD, the scientific name for the peach is Prunus persica and it refers directly to the Silk Road, which was used to transport peaches to Persia. Today China is still one of the top producers of peaches. Interesting!
There are two main varieties of peaches, which are appropriately named: clingstone (you guessed it – flesh of the fruit is clinging to the stone) and freestone (yes, the peach flesh is free from the stone). Clingstone peaches are generally used commercially for canning whereas freestone peaches are usually sold fresh. There are a few different shades of color (golden, light yellow or white), with the lighter colored peaches being a little bit sweeter.
Here is the nutritional profile:
- A medium sized peach contains about 3 grams of fiber
- Peaches contain the antioxidant vitamins A and C, which help neutralize free radicals. Vitamin C is important for our connective tissues and our immune systems. Vitamin A helps our eyes, skin and mucous membranes.
- Peaches contain the minerals fluoride, potassium and iron – which are needed for healthy red blood cells, bones, teeth, and the fluids within our cells.
- Peaches contain other antioxidants such as lutein, zea-xanthin and B-cryptoxanthin – which help our eyes, and protect us from the damage of free radicals, which helps to slow the effects of aging.
Summer is a great time to rejuvenate our body’s immune system by consuming so many wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season. Fresh fruits are also a great a great partner with salad greens – healthy, fresh and light. Here is a link to a salad recipe from WebMD: Peachy Chicken Salad .
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