Sweet, succulent peaches are healthier than we realized. Full of phytonutrients that may fight obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, peaches may be much more than just delicious.
These phytonutrients, known as phenol compounds, fight against metabolic syndrome, a state of insulin-resistance and inflammation which can lead to serious health problems. According to studies by Texas AgriLife Research, the phenolic compounds found in peaches have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties and may also reduce the bad cholesterol associated with cardiovascular disease.
In studies conducted by Texas AgriLife Research, breast cancer cells, even the most aggressive type, died after treatments with peach and plum extracts, while the normal cells were not harmed in the process. Again, it was the phytonutrients, specifically the phenolic compounds, found in peaches and plums that were responsible for killing the cancer cells while not affecting the normal cells.
A large peach has 68 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber. While not containing high amounts of any one vitamin, it’s packed with 10 different ones, including Vitamins A and C and some minerals such as potassium.
While fresh peaches may be our first choice, don’t hesitate to use canned peaches. A recent study found that the canning process opens the cell walls of the peach’s flesh, making some nutrients such as vitamin A, folate and others more readily available to our body and, in some cases, canning actually increases the level of the nutrient. For instance, the vitamin C content is four times greater in canned peaches than it is in fresh peaches.
A sweet, juicy, tree-ripened peach is the best, but peaches don’t become sweeter once they are picked. So when you find delicious peaches in season, buy lots of them and freeze them. Just submerge them in boiling water for a minute or two so that the skin slides off, cut them and throw them in freezer containers. Enjoy them while they last and enjoy canned peaches for the rest of the year.
Oatmeal with peaches and almonds make for a quick and delicious breakfast, especially when made with milk or a milk alternative instead of water. There’s no need to depend on instant oatmeal when hearty and inexpensive rolled oats take only a minute or two longer to prepare. Put 1/2 cup of rolled oatmeal in a larger-sized cereal bowl and cover with milk or almond milk (about 3/4 cup). Microwave on high for two minutes, stir, and microwave for another minute or two, depending how you like it. Add fresh peaches, cinnamon, raw almonds, and Monk sugar or raw honey to taste. It’s hard to skip breakfast when this quick, healthy, tasty option is available!
Try Oatmeal Pancakes with Peaches. It’s prepared using cottage cheese in the batter to hike up the protein for a breakfast that keeps you full. Also, try these Peach Goat Cheese Quesadillas for a fun new taste combo. Peach Quinoa, a side dish made with peaches and mint, is excellent with fish or chicken, and coming soon is a Peach Crisp made with almond flour that is so good!
Enjoy the sweet, juicy peaches available now, and frozen or canned peaches all year to take advantage of the super phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that they offer. Take the August 2013 Healthy Challenge and eat peaches to be healthier and happier.