There are a few things that scream summertime like the first ripe peach of the season. Whether they’re added to smoothies, salsas, parfaits, muffins, pies, or eaten straight off the tree, these stone fruits are a delicious addition to countless sweet and savory summer dishes.
However, these flavorful fruits have a few tricks up their sleeve aside from simply expanding the breadth of your culinary repertoire; according to experts, they’re no slouch when it comes to your health, either.
“Peaches provide a host of health benefits that shouldn’t go overlooked. Peaches provide a wide variety of many vitamins and minerals from copper to vitamin C,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.
In fact, peaches have specific compounds within them that may provide unique health benefits to those who consume them. “These compounds, carotenoids and caffeic acid, are known as phytonutrients and act as antioxidants in the body,” says Best. Loaded with potent bioactive compounds, one major side effect of eating peaches is reducing oxidative damage that may lead to cancer.
“These compounds have been found to have anti-cancer properties and block the development of cells from becoming cancerous. Other polyphenols found in peaches help to reduce inflammation and prevent or reduce oxidative stress from toxins and free radicals.” (Related: This Juicy Summer Fruit Helps Boost Your Immune System.)
A 2014 in-vivo study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that peach phenolics were effective at inhibiting the growth of and metastasis of MDA-MB-435 breast cancer cells, with the study’s authors suggesting that either daily consumption of two or three peaches or supplements containing peach polyphenol extract may be an effective means of reducing the spread of breast cancer after a patient is initially diagnosed.
Additionally, a 2010 study published in Environmental Science & Technology found that peach polyphenols demonstrated efficacy in terms of killing breast cancer cells without negatively affecting healthy cells.
So, while you may be tucking into that peach primarily for its tasty flavor, you’re getting a host of health benefits with every bite.
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