According to RDs, this fruit is an anti-inflammatory superhero.

By Betty Gold
July 14, 2020
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As much as I love an early autumn apple-picking adventure or a springy asparagus and pea pasta recipe, peak-peach season always wins. There’s just something about biting into a fresh-picked stone fruit that's so ripe it drips down your chin, or diving into a slice of warm peach pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting on top. Mess factor and all, peaches are perfect.

According to Jenn Lavardera, RD, a nutrition expert for Naturipe Farms, peaches are also one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Here’s what health benefits you’ll reap when you bite in (or when you make one of these delicious peach recipes). Just keep a napkin close!

“While berries are often touted for their antioxidant benefits, peaches have many of those same healthful compounds,” explains Lavardera. “In fact, some varieties of peaches show just as much antioxidant activity as blueberries.” These antioxidants help your body combat and prevent oxidative stress and the production of cell-damaging free-radicals. This is key to staving off inflammation and lowering your risk for chronic illnesses like Alzheimer’s, cancers, and heart disease (more on this below). Take note: the more ripe and fresh the fruit, the more antioxidants it contains. Keep this in mind before opting for canned versions.

According to Lavardera, peaches contain beta-carotene, the healthful compounds you think of when you think of carrots and orange vegetables. Beta-carotene plays an important role in skin and eye health and is also a powerful antioxidant. It’s also a precursor for vitamin A, which helps your body fight inflammation, keeps your gut healthy, and boosts your immune system.

Peaches contain anthocyanins, which are healthful plant compounds that act as antioxidants—the same compounds you think of when you think of berries. “Studies show these compounds can help prevent brain diseases, cancer, diabetes, and inflammation,” Lavardera explains. One lab study found peaches (specifically the Rich Lady peach) may be beneficial in inhibiting breast cancer cells. Additionally, the carotenoids in peaches have also been shown to have anticancer properties.

Lab work has also shown peaches may be beneficial in preventing the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease,” says Lavardera.

“Peaches are a good source of fiber—one large peach has about 3 grams of fiber and just under 70 calories,” says Lavardera. Fiber is a key factor in supporting optimal digestion and gut health, plus it can help maintain stable blood sugar levels. Just make sure you're eating the whole peach, not just the juice.