They can be eaten on their own or added to a variety of dishes. What’s more, peaches are nutritious and may offer an array of health benefits, including improved digestion, smoother skin, and allergy relief.
Here are 10 surprising health benefits and uses of peaches.
1. Packed With Nutrients and Antioxidants
Peaches are rich in many vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.
One medium-sized peach (5.4 ounces or 150 grams) provides approximately:
Peaches also offer smaller amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and some B vitamins.
In addition, they’re packed with antioxidants — beneficial plant compounds that combat oxidative damage and help protect your body against aging and disease. The fresher and riper the fruit, the more antioxidants it contains.
In one study, juice from fresh peaches demonstrated antioxidant actions in healthy men within 30 minutes of consumption.
Fresh and canned peaches seem to have similar amounts of vitamins and minerals — as long as canned varieties are unpeeled.
However, fresh peaches have higher levels of antioxidants and appear to be more effective at protecting against oxidative damage than canned ones.
2. May Aid Digestion
Peaches may contribute to healthy digestion.
One medium-sized fruit provides about 2 grams of fiber — half of which is soluble fiber, while the other half is insoluble.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps move food through your gut, reducing the likelihood of constipation.
On the other hand, soluble fiber provides food for beneficial bacteria in your intestines. In turn, these bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids — such as acetate, propionate, and butyrate — which feed the cells of your gut.
Short-chain fatty acids in your gut may also help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of digestive disorders like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and ulcerative colitis.
Peach flowers are another part of the fruit that may benefit digestion. They’re commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat digestive disorders.
Animal research shows that compounds found in the flowers may effectively increase the strength and frequency of gut contractions, which helps maintain the proper rhythm to push food along smoothly.
While studies often use peach flower extract, an herbal tea made from the flowers is commonly consumed in Korea.
3. May Improve Heart Health
Regularly eating fruit — including peaches — may promote heart health.
Peaches may lower risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
What’s more, test-tube studies show that peaches may bind to bile acids — compounds produced by your liver from cholesterol.
The bound bile acids — together with the cholesterol they contain — are eventually excreted through your feces, which may help lower blood cholesterol levels.
Additional test-tube and animal studies found that peaches may reduce total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, as well as blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
Research in obese rats further reported that peach juice may lower levels of the hormone angiotensin II that raises blood pressure.
While these effects seem promising, more studies are needed to confirm them in humans.
4. May Protect Your Skin
Peaches may have protective effects that help keep your skin healthy.
Test-tube studies indicate that compounds found in peaches may improve your skin’s ability to retain moisture — thus improving skin texture.
What’s more, both test-tube and animal studies show that extracts made from peach flowers or flesh applied directly to the skin may help prevent UV damage.
Peach flower extracts were also found to delay the development of skin tumors in mice.
However, more research in humans is needed before conclusions can be drawn.
5. May Prevent Certain Types of Cancer
Like most fruits, peaches provide beneficial plant compounds that may offer some protection against various cancers.
Specifically, peach skin and flesh are rich in carotenoids and caffeic acid — two types of antioxidants found to have anticancer properties.
Test-tube and animal research has also shown that compounds in peach seeds may limit the growth of non-cancerous skin tumors and prevent them from turning into cancerous ones.
Not to mention, peaches are full of polyphenols — a category of antioxidants shown to reduce the growth and limit the spreading of cancer cells in test-tube studies.
Peach polyphenols may have the ability to kill cancerous cells as well, without causing any damage to healthy ones.
In one animal study, these polyphenols were particularly effective at preventing a specific type of breast cancer from growing and spreading.
Researchers reported that a person would need to eat about two to three peaches a day to consume an amount of polyphenols equivalent to that used in the study.
In another study, postmenopausal women who consumed at least 2 peaches or nectarines each day had a 41% lower risk of breast cancer over 24 years.
However, few studies have been done in humans, so more research is needed.
6. May Reduce Allergy Symptoms
Peaches may reduce allergy symptoms.
When your body is exposed to an allergen, it releases histamines, or chemicals made by your immune system to help rid your body of the allergen.
Histamines are part of your body’s defense system and trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing, itching, or coughing.
Research shows that peaches may help reduce allergy symptoms by preventing the release of histamines in the blood.
Moreover, test-tube studies report that peach extracts may be effective as well and limit the inflammation commonly seen in allergic reactions.
However, more research is needed to determine the strength of these effects in people with allergies.
7–9. Other Potential Benefits
Peaches may offer several other health benefits. The most well-researched include:
That said, these studies were small, and most of these benefits have not been observed in humans.
10. Widely Available and Easy to Add to Your Diet
Peaches are easy to find and can be added to your diet in many ways.
They can be eaten raw, baked, grilled, broiled, or sautéed and are easily incorporated into warm or cold dishes alike.
For instance, fresh peaches make a great nutrient-rich snack and can be eaten either on their own or topped with yogurt and a handful of nuts.
Peaches can be added to salads or stirred into a hearty chickpea curry. They add an unexpected touch to salsa and are also a popular ingredient in many desserts.
Lastly, peaches can be blended into a smoothie or gently mashed to add flavor to your water.