Health Benefits of Peaches

The peach is a sweet, juicy fruit known for its distinct color and taste. It’s been a favorite summertime delight for centuries, originating in China. Throughout its existence, many men, women, and children have enjoyed eating it. Today, it remains a popular fruit. You can enjoy it as a solitary snack, within a smoothie, or part of an elaborate dessert.

The hard pit in the middle of the peach is not edible, but the soft fleshy insides and thin, fuzzy skin outside are packed with nutrition and flavor.

Peaches belong to a fruit family called stone fruits because of their hard center. The stone fruit family also includes apricots, which are fuzzy like peaches but smaller, firmer, and less sweet, and nectarines, which have smooth, fuzz-free skin.

Health Benefits

Peaches boast a rare combination — they are low in calories and fat, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and tasty enough to be featured in desserts. They also provide various health benefits.

Disease Prevention

A diet high in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of developing diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and some types of cancer. Peaches are one fruit to help combat these health issues.

For instance, the antioxidants in peaches may protect against the damage from free radicals (harmful molecules that affect cells) that can lead to heart disease and cancer. One of these antioxidants is vitamin C, which the body also needs to fight off infections.

Vitamin A is another antioxidant found in peaches that also helps your immune system fight infection. Peaches also contain the minerals iron and zinc, both of which boost immune system function.

Heart Health

Peaches are a good source of potassium, which your body uses to regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. Foods high in potassium can help lower your blood pressure by allowing the body to get rid of excess sodium and relaxing tension in the walls of your blood vessels.

Peaches can also help improve cholesterol levels and may reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

Digestive Health

On top of antioxidant protection and the benefits of potassium, peaches also contain fiber. Fiber is mostly known for helping your digestive system work and your body maintain a healthy weight.

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Healthy Eyes, Skin, and Immune System

Peaches hold a wealth of nutrients that are good for your eyes. Examples include vitamins A, C, E, lutein and zeaxanthin, copper, and zinc.

The vitamin A in peaches is key to skin health, as it supports the constant process of replacing old skin cells with new, healthy cells. It also helps protect your skin from damage by free radicals. Peaches are a good source of vitamins C and K, which your body uses to heal wounds.

Vitamin E boosts your immune system and helps your eyes and skin stay healthy. Small amounts of zinc are also good in helping your blood clot and your thyroid work, in addition to helping your vision. Copper helps your bones and teeth grow, protects your cells from damage, and helps your immune system.

Nutrition

In addition to the many vitamins and minerals mentioned above, peaches are excellent sources of:

Nutrients per Serving

One medium-size (a little less than 3 inches across) peach contains:

Things to Watch Out For

Fresh peaches eaten raw offer the most health benefits. However, the peak season for peaches is short (usually between June and August), and they do not keep well. Therefore, it’s important to eat them soon after you buy them.

Canned and frozen peaches are also highly nutritious and available in grocery stores year-round. When buying canned peaches, choose peaches packed in natural juice with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners.

How to Use Peaches

A fresh peach is a sweet, refreshing treat on a summer afternoon. Select firm peaches with deep color and no bruises. Place them in a paper bag on the counter for a day or two to soften, then enjoy! Once they are ripe and soft, they will keep in the crisper drawer of your fridge for up to three days.

Peach slices can add color and sweetness (not to mention nutrition) to:

  • yogurt
  • vegetable and fruit salads
  • smoothies
  • oatmeal, granola, and other cereals
  • waffles or French toast
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 12, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Heart Association: “How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure.”

American Optometric Association: “Diet and Nutrition.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Vitamins: The Basics.”

Community Eye Health: “What is vitamin A and why do we need it?”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Peaches, fresh, med, w/o skin, 2.66.”

Mayo Clinic: “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet.”

Nature Communications: “Genome re-sequencing reveals the evolutionary history of peach fruit edibility.”

Rutgers: “Health Benefits of Peaches: A Delicious Summer Fruit.”

University of Arizona: “Nectarines.”

University of Delaware: “August: Peaches.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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