It is a well-traveled tree along with the many health benefits of peaches. The oldest orchards are in China. From there, it was taken to Persia (Iran) several centuries before the birth of Christ. After spreading throughout the Mediterranean more than two thousand years ago, the Spaniards introduced it into the Americas. The peach has adapted well to each region where it has been taken. Today, more than half of the world’s peach production is from the Americas.
To enjoy a peach thoroughly, it must be tree-ripened. They are their best a day or two after they have been harvested. Savoring a peach under these circumstances is an unforgettable experience. Of course, it is difficult for city dwellers to share this delight since most peaches are picked green and ripened in storage.
Peach Nutritional Facts
The composition of the peach is a balanced combination of provitamin A, B group vitamins, vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and vegetable fiber, all in moderate amounts. Peaches contain virtually no sodium or fat. They include nine percent fructose and other sugars and less than one percent proteins.
It may be said that the composition of the peach is almost perfect for a healthy heart. Vitamins A, C, and E are nature’s best antioxidants, and few foods contain all three in such balance. The antioxidant effect of these vitamins generally maintains artery health and those that nourish the heart.
It has been proven that antioxidant vitamins inhibit the deterioration of arteries known as arteriosclerosis, thus improving blood flow to tissues and organs. The arteries that suffer the most wear and tear are those that nourish the heart. Because of this, the heart benefits from the large composition of foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E.
The B group vitamins (B1, B2, niacin, and B6), found in peaches in significant amounts, are necessary for heart muscle cell contraction and utilization of the energy of fatty acids and sugars.
Potassium, very abundant in peaches, and magnesium are minerals essential to maintaining a standard, strong heartbeat rhythm. Additionally, the peach has possibly the lowest fat content of any fresh fruit. Most fresh fruit contains very little fat (except for the avocado.) Fat from this fruit, if any, is always healthful vegetable fat, primarily unsaturated. Notably, the peach holds the record for being the lowest in fat: 0.09 percent, in other words, less than one-thousandth. This makes peaches an essential food in low-fat diets often prescribed for cardiac or obese patients.
Not only is the peach the lowest of any fruit in fat, but its sodium content is also among the lowest, with only one milligram (mg) per 100 grams of edible portion. A low sodium diet helps avoid arterial hypertension and aids the heart’s activity.
Health Benefits of Peaches
Peaches are medicinally recommended for the following conditions:
Heart disease – Eating peaches is beneficial whenever there is any degree of heart failure or impairment in the heart’s capacity to perform its pumping effectively. Even though peaches are not a direct heart stimulant, they aid this organ’s work. Peaches are particularly indicated in these cases:
- Ischemia (insufficient blood) in the coronary arteries, manifested by angina or myocardial infarction.
- Valve lesions that interfere with the heart’s pumping capacity.
- Arterial hypertension requires more heart effort.
- Myocardipathy is a disease consisting of the degeneration of the cardiac muscle, whose most common cause is the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Kidney disorders – Peaches are mildly diuretic, with very low sodium and protein content, making them excellent for those with renal failure.
Obesity – Peaches are among the best fruits for creating a sensation of satiety, thus reducing the appetite. Their caloric content is relatively low: 43 kcal/100 grams. Additionally, its depurative action facilitates removing the acidic metabolic waste accompanying obesity.
Peach Scientific Facts
- Scientific name – Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.
- Other names – Persian apple.
- French – Pêche.
- Spanish – Melocotón, Durazno.
- German – Pfirsich.
- Description – The peach is the fruit of the peach tree, a tree of the botanical family Rosaceae. The fruit is a typical drupe: fleshy pulp with a hard stone in the center.
- Environment – Peaches are raised in Southern Europe, Europe, and Asia temperate regions. They are susceptible to freezing.
Different fruits with the same properties
Peaches, nectarines, and paraguayas are three fruits that belong to the same botanical species. Their composition and properties are very similar, so cardiac patients can substitute one for the other and enjoy greater variety.
- Peach – The peach is the most typical representative of the 2,000 varieties of the species Prunus persica cultivated around the world. Some have a smooth peel and an easily removable pit, while others have a velvety peel and pulp firmly attached to the pit.
- Nectarine – In reality, the same botanical species as the peach, although with unique characteristics. It results from successive crosses between peaches and other species of the genus Prunus. It is a succulent fruit with a sweet, slightly tart taste. Its composition is similar to the peach but with more vitamin A and E and a little less vitamin C and fiber.
- Paraguaya – This also belongs to the same botanical species as the peach. In reality, it has its personality. It is from Central Asia, not Paraguay, as its name seems to imply. Its peel is greenish or grayish, and it has a flavor similar to the peach but is somewhat less sweet. Its properties are also identical to those of the peach. They are grown in Southern Europe, although their popularity has spread to other regions.
Fresh and Canned Peaches
(Composition comparison per 100 grams)
|Vitamin A (ug RE)||54||35|
|Vitamin B1 (mg)||0.017||0.009|
|Vitamin B2 (mg)||0.041||0.025|
|Niacin (mg NE)||0.99||0.593|
|Vitamin B6 (mg)||0.018||0.019|
|Vitamin C (mg)||6.6||2.4|
|Vitamin E (mg a-TE)||0.7||0.89|
Peaches in syrup have lower concentrations of all vitamins (except B6) and higher concentrations of minerals (except potassium). Although canned peaches are not as heart-healthy as fresh, it is preferable to eat them than not to eat the fruit, as can happen during winter.
How to use Peaches
- Fresh – The peach’s velvety peel may produce an allergic reaction in sensitive individuals; thus, they should be peeled. The peel may also carry pesticide residuals. While it is true that the peel contains vitamins, eating a little more peeled peach easily compensates for this loss.
- Canned – While canned peaches provide fewer vitamins and minerals, they are available year-round. Peaches canned in as little sugar as possible are preferable.
- Marmalade and juice.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 75, 76, 77. Print.