The natural antioxidants in fruits and vegetables help keep your body working at its best, so consuming a diet that meets your daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to give your body a strong defense against disease. Fruits and vegetables are protective to health as they’re helpful at reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and some cancers. They’re also low in calories, which helps prevent obesity … a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Eating fruit each day — 1.5 cups for women and 2 cups for men, as recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, benefits your health. Let’s take peaches for example.
One cup of diced peach, or 168 g, provides:
- 65.5 calories
- 1.53 g of protein
- 0.42 g of fat
- 0 g of cholesterol and sodium
- 16 g of carbohydrate
- 14.10 g of sugar
- 2.52 g of fiber
Peaches also provide trace amounts of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as magnesium and phosphorus.
Health Benefits of Peaches:
Peaches do not contain a significant amount of any nutrient. However, a cup of diced peach provides 11.1 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, as well as contributing to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium, fiber, and iron.
This amount of vitamin C equates to 12.33% of the RDA for an adult male and 14.80% of the RDA for an adult female, according to guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Despite their relatively low nutrient profile, peaches can still benefit people’s health as part of a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. Peaches can add sweetness to desserts and treats, replacing more harmful added sugars.
Reducing cancer risk:
Peaches provide a significant amount of vitamin C. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent the formation of free radicals, which are compounds that have links to cancer development.
As a result, adequate vitamin C intake may help a person reduce their risk of cancer. However, exposure to other risk factors, such as smoking, increases the amount of vitamin C that a person needs to have a significant effect on cancer risk.
Preserving skin health:
Research suggests that regularly consuming vitamin C can improve the appearance and health of the skin.
A 2015 review of studies found that supplementing vitamin C in the diet improved at least one factor of actual or perceived skin appearance, including wrinkling, elasticity, roughness, and coloring.
Contributing to fiber intake:
A cup of diced peaches contains 2.52 g of fiber. The USDA recommend 22.4–28.0 g per day for female adults and 30.8–33.6 g each day for male adults, meaning that this serving size can provide at least 7.5% of a person’s recommended daily fiber intake.
Fiber-rich foods provide a range of important health benefits, according to a 2018 review. They can protect the health of the colon, support weight management on a long term basis, and reduce the risk of several harmful health conditions.
A person could significantly boost their fiber intake by replacing sweet, low fiber treats with a peach or two every day.
The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables are considerable. As plant food consumption increases, the risk of many lifestyle-related diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, reduces.
A diet containing plenty of fruits and vegetables can also reduce the risk of overall mortality.
Topping up potassium intake:
Potassium is an essential electrolyte that helps cells function. It can also help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and kidney stones, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).
Peaches are not among the top dietary sources of potassium. However, they can still play a role in helping a person manage their risk of chronic disease as part of a healthful diet plan.
Iron is a vital component of hemoglobin, which helps the blood transport oxygen throughout the body. Without enough hemoglobin, a person might experience iron deficiency anemia.
Peaches alone will not provide enough iron to keep iron deficiency anemia at bay. However, people can include them in the diet alongside foods that contain more iron, such as raisins, cashew nuts, or spinach.
Peaches are low in calories (100 g just provide 39 calories), and contain no saturated fats. Nonetheless, they are packed with numerous health promoting compounds, minerals, and vitamins. Fresh peaches are a moderate source of antioxidants and vitamin C which is required for the building of connective tissue inside the human body. Consumption of foods that are rich in vitamin C helps a person develop resistance against infections and helps to eliminate harmful free radicals that cause certain cancers.
Fresh fruits are a moderate source of vitamin-A and beta-Carotene. Beta-Carotene is a pro-vitamin, which converts into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A is essential for prevention of night vision issues and for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and healthy skin. Consumption of fruits like peaches that are rich in vitamin A, are known to offer protection from lung and oral cancers. They contain many vital minerals such as potassium, fluoride and iron.
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Fluoride is a component of bones and teeth and is essential for prevention of dental caries. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
So, make sure you are taking small steps to eat sufficient fruit each day. Peaches are now in season across much of the United States are healthy and contain health promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants including lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. These compounds help to act as protective scavengers against free radicals and play a role in promoting healthy aging and reduction of various disease processes.