By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
August is National Peach Month, so in honor of the beginning of August here are 11 reasons you should include more peaches in your life.
First, let’s discuss what type of peaches are the best to purchase…
Peaches are listed 5th on the Dirty Dozen list which means that they are most likely to have been grown with pesticides; therefore it’s important to look for peaches that are locally grown or organic. Locally grown produce tends to come from smaller farmers that use mono-crop practices less often, and therefore it requires that they use fewer pesticides. Similarly, organically-grown produce also uses fewer pesticides naturally and tends to be cleaner. The benefit to seeking locally grown peaches and other produce over organic is that it tends to be less expensive than organic and also helps to support your local economy.
Due to the high level of pesticides used on peaches in traditional farming, many find that they have an allergy to peaches (itchy mouth is the most common symptom) along with like produce like raspberries, apples, and nectarines that also tend to have a lot of pesticides used to control pests in growing environments. In addition to seeking locally grown peaches (along with other similar produce such as raspberries and apples), removing the skin and/or cooking the fruit can help to reduce some of the common itchy mouth symptoms that many experience.
Okay, now let’s get to why we love peaches!
Peaches are not only tasty, sweet, and juicy, but they’re also a great source of phytonutrients and also very easy to use in a variety of ways.
1. Snack on them.
Peaches are a great snack because they only contain about 50-60 calories, 1 gm of protein, and 2 grams of fiber. Pair a peach with a small handful of nuts (8-9 pieces) for a balanced snack that contains healthy fats under 200 calories.
2. Eat more, look younger.
Peaches contain vitamin C which plays a role in the formation of collagen and helps to maintain skin integrity while helping to potentially delay the onset of wrinkles. Another benefit of vitamin C found in peaches is that some research suggests vitamin C may help protect skin from damaging effects of sun exposure.
3. Add to your homemade breakfast cereal.
Peaches add a natural sweetness and are a great addition to different types of breakfast cereals and can be both added fresh and cooked into the breakfast cereal during preparation. Try it on top of one of our favorites, the Coconut Cream Smoothie Bowl.
4. Control your glycemic index.
Peaches are a source of chlorogenic acid, a nutrient that has been shown to be potentially beneficial in preventing the liver from producing excess glucose, which may help to prevent or delay onset of glycemic disorders such as diabetes.
5. Sweeten your salads.
Peaches are sweet and delicious and a great and healthy way to add flavor to salads. They can be added to green leafy salads or to quinoa/tabbouleh salads as well like the Crunchy Vietnamese Salad, the Simplest Summer Quinoa Salad, and the Strawberry Basil Macadamia Salad.
6. Healthy up your heart.
Peaches are a good source of many different types of plant-based nutrients including potassium which has been shown to promote healthy blood pressure. One peach contains about 330 mg of potassium (recommended daily amount is about 4700 mg).
7. Makes sweets smarter.
Peaches are not only a great snack but also make for great desserts. Peaches can be consumed alone or even grilled or baked with other fruits to make an all-natural and tasty dessert like in the Sweet Summer and Apple Peach Fruit Bakes.
Research suggests that compounds found in both the flesh and peel of peaches, chlorogenic acid and neochlorogenic acid, may be beneficial in preventing cancer cell growth. These compounds also act as antioxidants to help repair oxidative damage within cells that over time may contribute to cancer and other diseases. To get the most benefit from a wide variety of antioxidants and phytonutrients, it’s important to vary the colors and types of fruits and vegetables consumed.
9. Add to your blender.
Peaches are a great base for smoothies because they add a subtle sweetness that can help to balance tart greens or other vegetables. Both fresh and frozen varieties work well when it comes to blending it up for a delicious smoothie. Try them in the Peaches & Cream and Green Goji Goodness smoothies.
10. Source of electrolytes.
Not only is potassium potentially beneficial to promoting healthy blood pressure, but it also acts as an electrolyte in the body to help regulate hydration and fluid balance. Potassium is one of the nutrients lost through sweat, so eating a peach post-exercise can be a good way to help replenish what has been lost. Adding peaches to a juice or smoothie post-exercise can also be a great way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat.
11. Juice them (of course!).
Peaches are a great addition to any juice and because they offer a good source of potassium and can make for a great post-exercise juice as a way to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. Over-ripe peaches can be goopy in juices, therefore using peaches that are just ripe or just under-ripe make for a better texture. Enjoy the Peachy Green and Summer Peach Greens juice recipes.
Have fun getting peachy this season!