Draining and detoxifying, peach is a summer fruit rich in water, vitamins and antioxidants. It is very versatile in the kitchen, as well as being excellent when eaten fresh. Discover its properties and benefits.
The peach is the fruit of a plant native to China whose scientific name is Prunus Persica. The peach tree reached Europe through Persia, hence the Latin name “persica”.
Symbol of immortality, peaches were grown in China as early as 5,000 years ago. The plant blooms in spring and gives a unique spectacle as the branches are full of pink flowers. The peach tree is very resistant, but generally does not exceed 8 meters in height.
Peaches ripen from mid – May until September. The largest producers worldwide are the United States, Greece, China, Turkey, Italy and Spain. There are several varieties of this fruit. Below is an overview of the most popular and consumed types of peaches.
Types of peaches: characteristics of the most common varieties
Peaches are the summer fruits par excellence, and are divided into different and highly appreciated varieties. In this regard, a description of the best known and most widespread types follows.
- Yellow peach: perhaps the best known and most widespread variety, the yellow peach (common peach) has a velvety casing, which encloses a yellow pulp. The latter is decidedly sweet and juicy, while it is easy to remove the internal core;
- White peach: like the yellow peach, also the “white peach” has a velvety skin to the touch, very similar, from the outside, to the first variety. The pulp is instead different, resulting whitish and filamentous;
- Nectarine: nectarine peaches are another very popular and popular type and are also known as “nectarines”; they are distinguished by their smooth, hairless shell. The color of the peel tends to red, while the pulp can be white or yellow, defining two subgroups of nectarines (white and yellow, in fact);
- Snuffbox: also known by the denominations of “saturnia” or “saturnina”, the snuff-box fishing has an unmistakable flattened and flattened shape. Its flavor is rather sugary and very pleasant, while its pulp is generally white and juicy. This variety is mainly widespread in the Marche area and in Sicily;
- Percoca: typically from Campania, but also widespread in Calabria and Puglia, percoca is characterized by its hard and compact pulp, of a bright yellow color. It is a variety particularly suitable for syrup preparations, as well as for making juices. Finally, percoca is absolutely excellent if immersed in red wine;
- Merendella: this variety of peaches is widespread in Calabria and Sicily, and is characterized by a smooth, greenish and mottled red skin. The pulp is juicy and its shades can vary from white to yellow, while its flavor is somewhat sweet;
- Verona peach: famous for its PGI mark, Verona peaches include various varieties typical of the area in question. The color of its skin is intense, while its pulp has a sweet flavor. The brand refers to peaches with white or yellow flesh, early, medium or late ripening;
- Peach from Bivona: widespread in the Agrigento area, this variety stands out for the aromatic notes of its pulp, which is also sugary and compact. The peel has a variegated color, between white and red.
Let’s now take a look at the nutritional values and benefits of peaches, which are similar between the different types and varieties.
Peaches: calories and nutritional values
The few calories of peaches (39 per 100 grams of edible part), combined with the high quantity of water and the good satiating power, makes it a fruit suitable for low-calorie diets or for those who want to keep fit, having a healthy and light snack. Peaches contain very little fat and low biological value proteins. On the other hand, the fiber and carbohydrate content is good. From the point of view of micronutrients, however, peaches contain good amounts of vitamins (in particular vitamin C and some B vitamins), mineral salts (potassium, magnesium, phosphorus) and antioxidant compounds.
Nutritional values per 100g of peaches:
- Water: 89 gr
- kcal: 39
- Proteins: 0,91 gr
- Grassi: 0,25 gr
- Fibre: 1,5 gr
- Carbohydrates: 9,5 gr
- Soccer: 6 mg
- Magnesium: 9 mg
- Potassium: 190 mg
- Phosphorus: 20 mg
- Ferro: 0,25 mg
- Vitamin C: 6,6 mg (11% RDA)
- Vitamin B1: 0,024 mg (1,7% RDA)
- Vitamina B2: 0,031 mg (1,9% RDA)
- Vitamin B3: 0,806 mg (4,5% RDA)
- Vitamin B5: 0,153 mg (2,6% RDA)
- Vitamin B6: 0,025 mg (1,3% RDA)
- Folate: 4 µg (2% RDA)
- Vitamin E: 0,73 mg (7,3% RDA)
- Lutein + zeaxanthin: 91 µg
- Beta-carotene: 162 µg
- Glycemic index: At 28 at 56
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Peaches: nutritional properties
As we have anticipated above, in peaches there are mineral salts that perform important functions in our body such as potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. The most abundant vitamins are instead vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B3. There are also antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Let’s look at the characteristics of these compounds in a little more detail.
- Potassium: peach is a fruit that contains a good amount of potassium, a mineral suitable for those suffering from high blood pressure as it balances the pressure, lowering it. It also facilitates the elimination of excess fluids by counteracting water retention and cellulite;
- Magnesium: foods rich in this mineral, such as peaches, are useful for those suffering from insomnia, nervousness, depressive states, but also muscle cramps and to relieve menstrual pain. In fact, magnesium intervenes in the transmission of nerve impulses and in muscle contractility, relaxing the muscles;
- Phosphorus: this mineral is essential for maintaining the structure of bones and teeth as it is part of their mineral fraction. It also enters the constitution of proteins and enzymes, regulates the pH, participates in cellular repair processes and also in the activation of some vitamins;
- Vitamin C: peaches are a good source of this vitamin which counteracts the damage of free radicals thanks to its powerful antioxidant action, promotes the absorption of iron in the intestine, is essential for the synthesis of collagen and stimulates the immune system;
- Beta-carotene: it is a natural pigment that gives the yellow-orange color to peaches. It has a powerful antioxidant action and therefore protects against oxidative damage by free radicals responsible for cellular aging. Vitamin A or Retinol is produced from beta-carotene in our body, which intervenes in the processes of cell growth and repair and is essential for visual function, preventing macular degeneration;
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: these two substances are carotenoids with antioxidant action that protect the eyes from light radiation, as they are located inside the retina.
Peaches: health benefits
The properties of peach are due to its important components. In short, these fruits have antioxidant properties, are refreshing, draining and are excellent for remineralizing and fighting summer fatigue, but not only. Let’s find out together the benefits that derive from the consumption of this colorful fruit.
✓ Has antioxidant properties
The peel and pulp of the peach contain various substances with antioxidant action such as beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin E, vitamin C, chlorogenic acid and various phenolic compounds that prevent damage caused by oxidation, also exerting beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system and disorders related to oxidative stress.
✓ It is refreshing and thirst-quenching
Peach is an ideal fruit to prevent dehydration due to excessive sweating in the summer, thanks to the high water content. It also helps quench thirst. The excellent mineral content, then, makes it an ideal fruit to recover the mineral salts lost with sweating.
✓ Reduces blood pressure
This property of peaches is due to the potassium content, which is able to balance blood pressure and promote the elimination of excess fluids.
✓ Helps in the reduction of bad cholesterol
The fiber contained in peaches together with the phenolic compounds present in the peel, are useful in case of high cholesterol as they help to reduce its levels, in particular by lowering the so-called bad cholesterol. It is also preferable to consume peaches from organic farming.
✓ It is diuretic
Thanks to the presence of potassium, the consumption of peaches stimulates diuresis, counteracting water retention and cellulite and keeping the kidneys healthy.
✓ It is useful for maintaining eye health
Peach contains two antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in the body mainly in the retina of the eyes where they protect it from damage from light radiation. This is why consuming foods rich in these substances promotes eye health.
✓ Contrasts constipation
Peach contains a good amount of fiber, which helps stimulate intestinal transit and detoxify from toxins. It is therefore a good food to counter constipation.
✓ Easily digestible
Peach is a fruit that is easily digested so it can be consumed by those suffering from poor digestion, by pregnant women and by children who love it for its sweet and juicy flavor.
How many peaches to eat per day
A standard serving of peaches is about 150 grams, equal to a medium-sized fruit. The guidelines for a healthy diet recommend eating 2 or 3 portions of fruit a day, therefore, when they are in season, we can also eat two or three peaches a day, possibly alternating with other seasonal fruits to make our diet more varied. possible. However, this quantity could be reduced in the case of diabetes or low-calorie diets, depending on the subjective needs established by the professional.
Peaches: some usage tips
To benefit from the properties of peaches, we recommend that you consume them fresh, firm and keep them in the fridge for no more than 3-4 days. The ideal would be to consume them as a snack.
In addition to being excellent if consumed as they are, peaches also lend themselves to numerous sweet recipes, even in the light versions and with few added sugars. These delicious fruits can in fact be among the ingredients of soft cakes and pies, but also of cheesecake, plum cakes and spoon desserts. Without special procedures, the flavor of peaches can be enriched with alcohol additions, starting from the simple dressing of the wedges with rum or grappa, up to the preparation of preserves in alcohol. More imaginative recipes involve the use of peaches in the preparation of summer salads.
The fruits in question are also appreciable in the dehydrated and in syrup variants (which we will see shortly), although they differ from the fresh product for several nutritional aspects. For the best results of the various recipes it is generally preferable to resort to the varieties of peaches with yellow and compact pulp. The appropriate degree of ripeness can be distinguished by the bright colors of the skin, as well as by the slightly soft (but not soft) texture of the fruit.
There are also juices and extracts with peaches. Excellent, for example, the juice prepared with 2 peaches, a slice of pineapple and a mango or with peaches, melon and carrots.
Peaches are also used in cosmetics because they make the skin nourished and velvety. To make a peach face mask, you need a ripe peach, a tablespoon of unsweetened almond milk and a teaspoon of almond oil. Just cut the peach into pieces and put everything in the blender. Spread on your face and leave for 20 minutes. Your skin will be soft and radiant!
Peaches in syrup: how to make them at home and nutritional characteristics Peaches in syrup represent an alternative way to preserve and eat these fruits. For the preparation of peaches in syrup it is preferable to use the “percoca” variety, which is more suitable due to its consistency. First of all, you need to wash the peaches (1kg), blanch them for 2 or 3 minutes, then cool them under running water. Therefore, it is possible to cut them into 2 – 4 parts, first removing the peel and then the internal core, and distribute them in sterilized and airtight glass jars.
At this point, the syrup must be prepared by boiling about 600 ml of water with 150 – 200 g of sugar. Therefore, mix everything over low heat and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once ready, the syrup can be poured into the jars, completely covering the peaches up to an inch from the edge. You must therefore close the jars, put them to boil for 5 minutes, then dry them and let them cool upside down. Peaches in syrup are ready to be stored in a cool and dry place.
Since they are immersed in a sugary liquid and prepared with passages at high temperatures, peaches in syrup will have different nutritional characteristics from the original fruits. First of all, they have a higher caloric intake, sometimes doubled, compared to peaches as they are, which boast an energy value of only 39 kcal. The boiling phases affect the content of thermolabile substances, such as vitamin C and some antioxidants, while immersion in the syrup can be associated with the dispersion of mineral salts.
Peaches: contraindications and potential negative effects
There are no particular contraindications for the consumption of peaches, except for those who are allergic to this fruit. The only precaution is to try to consume them away from main meals as it could cause fermentation if consumed together with carbohydrates and dairy products. The peach stone is toxic as it contains amygdalin, a substance which in contact with the enzymes of the bacterial flora is harmful.