Peaches are a summer staple. This sweet, juicy fruit is delicious in warm-weather salads and desserts. It’s hard not to love a fresh peach hand-picked from a local orchard or purchased from the farmers market or a roadside stand. But do you know the nutritional value of peaches?
August is National Peach Month. As you celebrate the goodness of a sweet, juicy peach, don’t forget about the health benefits it offers. Here are a few reasons to enjoy peaches guilt-free this summer.
Weight control. Peaches contain few calories and no fat. One large peach contains fewer than 70 calories. When you’re craving something sweet, peaches are a healthy alternative to high-calorie, processed snacks. Use peaches to replace added sugars in your diet by serving them atop your morning cereal or a bowl of yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese.
Vitamins. Peaches contain many different vitamins, including vitamin A, which supports healthy vision; and vitamins C and E, two important antioxidants.
Minerals. In addition to their vitamin content, peaches are also rich in minerals, including potassium. They also provide some magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper and manganese. These minerals help support healthy blood pressure, bone and nervous system health.
Disease-fighting antioxidants. The flesh and skin of peaches contain significant antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, which helps rid the body of disease-causing free radicals, helps prevent chronic diseases and reduces the effects of aging. Chlorogenic acid may also help reduce risk of cancer and fight inflammation in the body.
Fiber. One large peach contains about three grams of fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. Fiber can also help regulate cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease. Women should get about 25 grams of fiber daily, while men need about 38 grams daily.
Looking to use your summer peach haul in a light, fresh salad? Try this simple recipe.
Summer Peach Salad
Makes four servings
1 (6-oz.) package spring greens mix
2 (8-oz.) packages fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
2 large fresh, ripe peaches, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Directions: Arrange greens on serving plate. Top with mozzarella, peaches and prosciutto; sprinkle with thyme. Whisk oil into lemon juice until blended; whisk in salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad.