Peaches, with their soft skin and sweet flesh, are a summertime staple. One of the largest fruit crops grown in the United States, peaches provide a great deal of nutrients with few calories and no fat. Peaches are a healthy way to fit in one of your daily servings of fruit.
One large peach, about 2 3/4 inches in diameter, contains just 68 calories and no fat. Eating peaches instead of more fattening, processed snacks, such as chips, baked goods, cereal bars and cookies, can help you manage your weight. Peaches are naturally sweet and can replace some of the added sugars in your diet. Use them to top unsweetened whole-grain cereal, plain yogurt or plain low-fat cottage cheese, instead of choosing versions of these foods sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup or cane sugar.
Peaches contain 10 different vitamins. A large peach provides 570 international units of vitamin A, important to healthy vision, and 11.6 mg of vitamin C, an antioxidant and tissue-builder. Peaches provide lower levels of vitamins E and K, with about 6 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Vitamin E is another antioxidant, while vitamin K is essential to your body's blood clotting capabilities. Peaches are also a source of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid.
A large peach provides 333 mg of potassium. Potassium can help you maintain healthy blood pressure as well as prevent kidney stones and bone loss. The Institute of Medicine recommends that all adults consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day. Peaches provide some magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, iron and calcium as well. These minerals work to support red blood cell, bone and nervous system health.
In the "Journal of Medicinal Food," a study published in October 2009 reported that significant antioxidants are present in the flesh and skin of peaches. One of the major antioxidants in peaches, chlorogenic acid, helps scavenge free radicals -- compounds that your body acquires through exposure to pollutants, food and the environment -- to reduce the effects of aging and deter chronic diseases. This antioxidant may also help ward off cancer and reduce body inflammation.
A large peach provides 17 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of which come from fiber. Fiber is essential to smooth and healthy digestion, preventing constipation and ensuring digestive health. Fiber may also play a role in regulating your cholesterol levels, helping to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. An adult woman should try to consume 25 g of fiber daily, and an adult man 38 g daily.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Eat Fruit?
- "Journal of Medicinal Food"; Antioxidant Potential of Peels and Fleshes of Peaches From Different Cultivars; S. B. Rossato, et al.; October 2009
- "Journal of Hygiene Research"; Biological Effects of Chlorogenic Acid and Body Health; S.Y. Li, et al.; November 2005
- Institute of Medicine; Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids; September 2002
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intake, Vitamins; 2001
- USDA: Nutrient Database: Peaches, Raw
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes : Electrolytes and Water