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The nutritional benefits of peaches

Pies, cobblers and smoothies might be the first things that come to mind when people think of peaches. Perhaps nutrition needs to muscle its way into that discussion?

Peaches are typically viewed as a sweet treat, particularly in summertime. But peaches also provide a host of health benefits, which can make anyone who enjoys a peach-based sweet treat feel a little better about their indulgence.

Peaches and heart health

Peaches are rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium. The potassium content in peaches, though moderate, is still significant, as the American Heart Association notes that potassium plays an important role in the management of high blood pressure. In addition, a 2014 animal study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that consumption of peach and plum juice provided protection against cardiovascular disease.

Peaches and body weight

One of the keys to long-term health is the ability to maintain a healthy weight from childhood through adulthood. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that a single large peach contains just 68 calories. Peaches also do not contain any saturated fats, making them a good low-calorie snacking option that can help people maintain a healthy weight.

Peaches and cancer risk

A report from the American Institute for Cancer Research linked fruits with a lower risk for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, lung, and stomach. Peaches are rich in free radical-fighting vitamin C. That could explain their link to reducing cancer risk, as free radicals are unstable atoms that often contribute to cell damage that is a hallmark of cancer. In addition, MedicineNet reports that peaches are high in polyphenols, which studies have found prevent the formation and spread of cancer cells in lab tests.

Peaches and vision

Peaches also can have a positive impact on vision. According to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University, a medium-sized peach provides roughly 6 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin A. That's helpful for vision, as the American Optometric Association notes that vitamin A supports functioning of the conjunctival membranes and cornea. In addition, the AOA reports that vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children.

Peaches have a well-earned reputation as a sweet treat. However, the powerful peach is more than just a post-meal palate cleanser, and in fact can play a vital role in promoting long-term health.

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