The early Chinese knew the health benefits of peaches clear back in the tenth century. While they often used the pit for medication, they also had a saying, "longevity peach," meaning the peach extended your life. Modern science finds that Chinese medicine is often right on mark and this time is no different.
Peaches are a good source of many different vitamins and minerals, but one that particularly prologues life is potassium. Peaches provide a high source for this mineral. If you have a shortage of potassium, you're likely to have fatigue, anxiety, muscle weakness, skin problems, poor memory, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmia, congestive heart failure or heart deterioration and vibration in your ears. The laundry list of potential diseases low potassium has more potential to develop if you're on diuretics, have abdominal problems or diarrhea or simply sweat profusely.
Another health benefit of peaches is the amount of beta-carotene it contains. The body changes beta-carotene to vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential in so many of the body's functions. A recent study showed that people who had higher amounts of vitamin A in their diet had less risk of developing cataracts. Other studies show a derivative of vitamin A might be instrumental in curing COPD, at least in mice. There are presently no studies on humans.
Peaches also contain lycopene and lutein. These are also carotenes, like beta-carotene and give color to the peach. There are several studies and indications that these two substances, can help prevent macular degeneration, cancer and heart disease.
Peaches are high in fiber. There are two types of fiber. Insoluble fiber doesn't dissolve in water and soluble fiber does. Insoluble fiber is heart healthy because it collects water and increases the bulk of the stool. Your stool then acts like little scrubbers along the intestines and removes the build up of waste. This helps prevent colon cancer. Cleansing the intestinal wall also increases the amount of nutrients your body can absorb and rids the body of toxicity. Insoluble fiber also helps to lower cholesterol levels.
Almost everyone knows that oranges are a good source of vitamin C. The Florida orange growers won't let you forget. However, peaches are also high in vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight cancer by improving the immune system and preventing cellular change.
Popeye look out because Miss Georgia Peach may be just as strong. Even though Popeye is "strong to the finish ‘cause he eats his spinach," he could have a peach and get almost as much usable iron. While peaches are not as high in iron, there's a great debate whether the iron in spinach is usable due to the oxalate. This binds with the iron and forms ferrous oxalate, which the body can't use. Iron is necessary to improve metabolism, make neurotransmitters, hemoglobin, regulate body temperatures, create antibodies and many other functions.
Best of all, peaches taste good and offer a sweet taste treat or give you a lift when the afternoon doldrums hit you. They won't make you crave more sugar but perks you up without adding extra calories. Combine that fact with all the health benefits of peaches and you have the perfect afternoon snack or evening dessert.