When you’re looking for a healthy and filling snack, you can’t go wrong with a peach. With only 58 calories and no fat in a medium-sized peach, you’ll get energy-providing carbohydrates, dietary fiber and a variety of minerals such as potassium. But that’s not where the benefits stop. Peaches are packed with antioxidant vitamins, B vitamins that support metabolism and vitamin A for your eyes.
Provitamin A Protects Eyes
Peaches contain the carotenoid beta-carotene, which is also known as provitamin A because your liver converts it into vitamin A. In this form, beta-carotene supports night vision, keeps your skin and mucus membranes healthy and regulates DNA. If your body does not need vitamin A, the beta-carotene you consume from any natural source, such as a peach, is used as an antioxidant rather than vitamin A. For this reason, it does not accumulate to toxic levels or cause side effects, which can happen with high amounts of regular vitamin A and beta-carotene supplements. One medium peach supplies 16 to 20 percent of recommended daily allowance, or RDA, of vitamin A.
Antioxidant Power Part 1: Vitamin C
Free radicals form as waste products of normal metabolism and from environmental stress such as sunlight. Regardless of the source, these radical molecules must be neutralized or they damage healthy cells. This is the job filled by antioxidants such as vitamin C. In addition to eliminating free radicals, vitamin C helps metabolize fats and synthesize collagen and neurotransmitters. You’ll get 10 milligrams of vitamin C from one medium peach. This amount provides 13 percent of women’s and 11 percent of men’s RDA.
Generate Energy With B Vitamins
Peaches have about 3 to 4 percent of the RDA of thiamin, riboflavin and B-6, but they supply a more substantial amount of niacin. Like all the B vitamins, niacin is a coenzyme, which means it activates and speeds-up a variety of activities in your body. It’s essential for producing energy and repairing DNA. Your body can produce niacin from the amino acid tryptophan, but you still need to include it in your daily diet. Women should consume 14 milligrams daily, while men need 16 milligrams. One medium-sized peach contains 1.2 grams, or about 8 percent of the RDA.
Adding to the Antioxidant Power: Vitamin E
You’ll get 7 percent of your RDA of another vital antioxidant from one medium peach: vitamin E. Where vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant, so it protects essential fats in your body from harm caused by free radicals. Fats fill important roles that would lead to health problems if they were damaged. For example, special structures made of fat and protein, called lipoproteins, carry cholesterol through your bloodstream. If lipoproteins are damaged, the cholesterol breaks free and can stick to the blood vessel wall.
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Peaches, Raw
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Carotenoids
- Harvard School of Public Health: Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin C
- Linus Pauling Institute: Niacin
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E