There’s nothing better than biting into a ripe, juicy peach on a hot summer day. As a child, peaches were almost too juicy for me to handle, and I remember having to eat fresh peaches with a healthy stack of napkins at hand to wipe up the juice that always ended up dribbling down my arms. Now, I can proudly say that eating peaches involves far less mess, but the occasional juice that gets away and slides down my arm makes me feel like I am a seven-year-old again. With their great nutrition and taste, peaches are a favorite fruit of mine to eat, especially when they are fresh and in season.
In honor of National Eat a Peach Day (August 22), here are 5 reasons why peaches are a part of my diet and why you should also consider them for part of yours!
Peaches can fit into any meal of the day.
Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can enjoy peaches as part of your meal. At breakfast, you can top oatmeal, cottage cheese, or pancakes with sliced peaches. For lunch or dinner, try sliced peaches in salads, on pizza, or as a part of grilled fruit skewers. And don’t forget about snacks: peaches can be added to smoothies, quick breads, and yogurt for a sweet, between-meal pick-me-up.
Peaches are packed with micronutrients.
Peaches contain vitamin C and vitamin A along with modest amounts of potassium, folate, niacin, and vitamin K. Vitamin C helps us to maintain healthy skin while vitamin A helps both our eyes and our skin to stay healthy. Regardless of if you eat peaches in fresh, frozen, or canned forms, the nutrient profile is similar, and in some cases, frozen peaches may even be the most nutrient packed option since they are preserved at their peak of freshness. You can check out the whole nutrient profile of peaches at the USDA’s National Nutrient Database.
Peaches provide natural antioxidants.
Peaches contain antioxidants called polyphenols, which are anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to prevent cancer and other chronic diseases. Antioxidants help cells to stay healthy by removing free radicals, compounds that can damage our DNA, from the body. Two antioxidants found in peaches, lutein and zeaxanthin, are also known to promote eye health.
Peaches can help you meet your daily fiber quota.
Leave the skin on your peach to add almost 3 grams of fiber per serving. Most of the fiber in peaches is soluble fiber, which has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and can reduce the risk of heart disease.
One medium peach has only 58 calories.
Low in calories, peaches are a great way to add sweet, summery flavor to your meals and snacks. Peaches are about 85% water but contain fiber along with numerous vitamins and minerals, making them a filling, nutrient-dense choice.
Peaches not quite ripe yet? Remember to store them on the counter out of direct sunlight. To speed the ripening process, you can even place them in a closed paper bag; this should allow them to ripen within 1 to 3 days. You’ll know they are ready when they have softened and developed a sweet, peachy smell. Once peaches are ripe, store them in the fridge to preserve their shelf life.