Medicinal Uses of Peaches
Medicinal Uses of Peaches
Several studies have researched peaches and their role in health. Peaches provide many health benefits, including oxidation of free radicles, eye health, infection protection, lowered blood pressure, heart health, and reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. The following are a few examples:
- Peaches reduce risk of cancer
A study was conducted to determine the cancer-inhibiting ability of peach extracts. Researchers wanted to identify the chemotherapeutic and/or natural chemopreventive compounds they contain. They found that phenolic acids, anthocyanins, procyanidins and the flavonoid quercetin in peach extracts all effectively inhibited the proliferation of certain breast cancer cells.
Another study found that eating fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of head and neck cancers like the mouth, pharynx, and larynx.
- Peaches promote heart health
Researchers found that bioactive compounds in peaches, nectarines and plums were found to inhibit obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They found that anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, catechins and quercetin derivatives from these fruits had the ability to reduce LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, obesity and inflammation from metabolic syndrome.
Peaches contain vitamin C and also several flavonoids. The relationship between these two is synergistic in nature, meaning they help to boost the antioxidant potential of each other. Vitamin C is important in fighting infection, synthesis of connective tissue and acting as an antioxidant that removes damaging free radicals. For example, vitamin C protects LDL (or bad) cholesterol from oxidation; this is a way in which this vitamin protects against heart disease. Flavonoids, like catechins and quercetin, are antioxidants that have been associated with cardiovascular disease prevention.
- Peaches promote eye health
Vitamin A is present in peaches and provides beta-carotene that is converted to retinol. This is important in eye health and also protects against mouth and lung cancers. Because of the polyunsaturated fatty acid content, it helps to maintain mucus membranes and skin elasticity. The darker color the peach flesh, the greater the vitamin A content. Flavonoids, like lutein and lycopene, work together to prevent macular degeneration, heart disease, and cancer.
- Peaches promote overall health and optimal antioxidant status
Minerals like potassium and iron are found in peaches. Potassium is important in food digestion, it helps to regulate heart rate, lower blood pressure and works with sodium to maintain water balance. Iron is needed for formation of red blood cells and to carry oxygen throughout the body. Other flavonoids include zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin, which protect against free radicle damage.
Studies have found that eating anthocyanin-rich fruits, like peaches, help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Red-fleshed peaches are particularly rich in anthocyanins.
Peaches are a good source of phytochemicals. A study looking at polyphenol content in a medium sized fruit at 100 g or 3.5 oz found that polyphenols were measured at 18-54 mg in yellow-flesh nectarines, 14-102 mg in white flesh nectarines, 21-61 mg in yellow-flesh peaches, and 28-111 mg in white flesh peaches. The major phenolic compounds present were epicatechins, catechins, and chlorogenic acid.
- Peaches promote lung health
A Singapore study found an association between increased dietary fiber from fruit and a reduced risk of certain types of lung disease. Specifically there was an inverse relationship between a cough with phlegm and fruits high in flavonoids, such as catechins and quercetin, which are found in peaches.