Properties and Benefits of Peaches: In Chinese art and culture, peaches (Prunus persica) are seen as a symbol of immortality. It is said that this fruit has magical powers, thus it bestows on whoever eats them deathlessness. Chinese emperors were said to have feasted their immortal gods with ‘peaches of immortality’ so as to ensure they had everlasting life. For this reason, peaches are commonly depicted in many Chinese writings as well as Chinese art. Maybe we too should eat more peaches seen that they were the ambrosia of the Chinese deities.
Though eating a peach might not actually add 1,000 years to our life, they are indeed highly nutritious fruit which can certainly help us increase our life span cosiderably. As you may have guessed already, peaches originate in China. They slowly started gaining popularity and nowadays they are cultivated throughout the world. Depending on the climate, there are many varieties, differing in colour, shape, size and even flavour.
Regardless of the variety however, fresh peaches are a cocktail of nutrients which can help with a variety of medical conditions. For instance, peaches are a good source of potent antioxidants such as vitamin C. Famous for its highly beneficial effects on human health, vitamin C is a strong antibacterial, very efficient against infections, and in seeking and destroying free radicals.
Free radicals are responsible for the oxidation processes throughout our entire body, processes which can cause irreparable damage to our mucous membranes, internal organs and interfere with the overall good functioning of our body. In addition to this, vitamin C is the basis for collagen production, thus ensuring the youthful appearance of our skin.
Peaches contain decent amounts of vitamin A as well. It is a well-known fact that the consumption of foods rich in vitamin A provides protection against lung and mouth cancers, not to mention boosts immunity. Vitamins K, E and B-group vitamins are found in small amounts in peaches as well and contribute to an overall good health. With only 39 kcal/100 g, the fruit are extremely figure-friendly.
Peaches basically contain every important mineral which makes them a healthy addition to our diet. Note, in the nutritional table above, the presence of potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, calcium, iron, zinc and phosphorous. Potassium from peaches helps regulates body fluids which, in turn, has significant positive effects on heart rate and blood pressure.
Magnesium is important for the proper integration of calcium in bones and is beneficial for practically every muscle in our body. And the biggest, most important muscle in our body is the heart. Iron is essential for those suffering from anaemia, while copper sustains important enzymatic activity as well as iron metabolism and prevents premature hair graying and eye discoloration.
Because peaches belong to the Rosaceae family (genus Prunus), their seeds are a source of hydrogen cyanide. Although ingesting a peach seed will not kill you, it would be wise not to eat too many because they can prove dangerous to human health. Also, some people may develop an allergy to this fruit, in which case it would be best to avoid it, both in fresh and dried form.
Depending on the colour, peaches may contain a variety of phytochemicals and other nutrients such as neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid, catechin, ellagic acid and anthocyanins. Chlorogenic acid and neochlorogenic acid are polyphenols, natural substances with amazing antioxidant and anticancer properties. Anthocyanins (found in peaches with a reddish flesh) are flavonoids, natural pigments with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and protective properties.
The flesh of a peach can have a single colour or it can be a sort of gradient combination of yellow, orange and red hues, which is indicative of a cocktail of polyphenols and flavonoids.
All in all, peaches are a delicious and quite nutritious summer fruit, available from July to September. Considering the amazing nutrients that can be found in this juicy, ambrosial fruit, peaches are definitely a great choice if you want to keep healthy.