Bite into a juicy peach this summer, and savor a whole range of healthy benefits. This member of the rose family is not only low in calories (one cup, sliced, has just 60), it's also packed with potassium -- a medium peach has 285 milligrams (about 5% of your RDA). Potassium is essential for the proper functioning of the body's cells and for maintaining a balance of fluids and electrolytes, important for nerve signaling, muscle contraction, and metabolism.
Peaches are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C and the cancer-fighting antioxidant beta carotene. The Persian apple, as it was once known, hails from ancient China and is a symbol of longevity. In the 1600s, Spanish missionaries planted peach trees in America, and the fruit has become an agricultural staple of the temperate South and West. Can't stand the fuzz? Try eating a nectarine, a kind of peach with a smooth skin.
Other potassium-rich fruits include bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, oranges, and pears.
Peachy Chicken Salad
Makes 4 servings
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced
4 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon crumbled goat cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 green onions, minced
11/2 tablespoons sherry or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dry tarragon
1 teaspoon honey-Dijon mustard
Salt (optional) and pepper to taste
- Whisk together all dressing ingredients. Toss with baby greens in a large bowl.
- Divide salad among four plates. Arrange chicken and peaches on top of greens, garnish with pecans and goat cheese, and serve.
Per serving: 365 calories, 25.5 g protein, 14.5 g carbohydrate, 23.75 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 62 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 88 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 58%.