Peach Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Peaches, annotated
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman 

Similar to nectarines, peaches are a stone fruit with a juicy, sweet flesh. The main difference between the two is the skin. Peaches have a thin, fuzz-covered skin, while nectarines are smooth with no fuzz. The flesh ranges from white to pale orange, and they can be interchanged in recipes. The best part: Both are rich in vitamins and antioxidants that provide health benefits.

Peach Nutrition Facts

One small peach (2.5in diameter; 130g) provides 51 calories, 1.2g of protein, 12.4g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of fat. Peaches are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin A. This nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 51
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 12.4g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Sugars: 10.9g
  • Protein: 1.2g
  • Vitamin A: 20.8mcg

Carbs

One small peach has 12.4 grams of carbohydrates, 1.9 grams of fiber, and 10.9 grams of naturally occurring sugar, according to the USDA. Peaches are a low-glycemic fruit, which means they have a minimal effect on blood sugar. Peaches' glycemic index is 28, and their glycemic load is 4, putting them in the low range for both GI and GL.

Fat

Peaches are a low-fat food with less than half a gram of fat per small fruit. The small amount of fat in peaches is heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

Protein

Peaches aren't a rich source of protein. One small peach has just over 1 gram of protein. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Peaches contain several important micronutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, and B-complex vitamins like thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. The fruit also provides 247 milligrams of potassium, which is 7% of your recommended needs using the daily value of 4,700 milligrams.

Calories

One small peach (130g) provides 51 calories, 86% of which come from carbs, 9% from protein, and 5% from fat.

Summary

Peaches are a rich source of carbohydrates, fiber, and natural sugars with little fat or protein. Peaches provide vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and B vitamins.

Health Benefits 

Like other fruits and veggies, peaches offer benefits via their micronutrients and antioxidants. And their natural sweetness means they can take the place of empty-calorie, processed desserts.

May Help Fight Inflammation

Peaches are rich in antioxidants, especially vitamin C. Antioxidants seek and destroy free radicals, which result from oxidation in the body and can lead to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

Vitamin C is perhaps one of the most well-known antioxidants. In addition to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C aids in boosting immunity and cell repair, including wound healing and anti-aging effects.

Can Reduce Risk of Certain Diseases

Peaches are also a good source of fiber. Fiber is important for general health, as it helps to remove cholesterol from the body, promotes bowel health, increases satiety, and can help stabilize blood sugars.

A fiber-rich diet can help prevent certain cancers and reduce the risk for diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In addition, eating a diet rich in fiber can help to keep you full and promote weight loss. 

Aids Vitamin A Production

Peaches contain carotenoids, particularly the provitamin A carotenoids alpha carotene and beta carotene. The body can synthesize these into vitamin A, which is essential for normal vision and immune health.

Helps Fight Obesity-Related Diseases

Some research shows that bioactive compounds in peaches (as well as plums and nectarines) may inhibit obesity-related diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Researchers believe the anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives, and catechins from these fruits (all antioxidants) work synergistically to reduce LDL or "bad" cholesterol, obesity, and inflammation related to metabolic syndrome.

Allergies

Some adults and children may develop an allergy to peaches and other stone fruits. This may be especially true for people with birch pollen allergies because the protein in birch pollen is similar to the protein in peach. Instead of a true food allergy, this is known as an oral-allergy syndrome (OAS).

Common peach allergy symptoms include an itchy mouth or throat or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat. If you suspect a peach allergy, talk to your doctor for a diagnosis and advice on managing the allergy.

Adverse Effects

The natural sugar in peaches is mostly fructose, which has been associated with obesity and metabolic disease. But the amount of fructose naturally found in fruit is not harmful (especially when balanced with all the beneficial compounds in peaches and other fruit).

Still, the fructose in peaches makes them a high-FODMAP fruit. If you consume a low-FODMAP diet to reduce digestive symptoms due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn's disease, you should avoid peaches.

Varieties

Freestone peaches are commonly eaten out of hand because their flesh parts easily from the pit or stone. Clingstone peaches are better for cooking and are used most commonly for canning. Some varieties of peaches are semi-freestone/semi-clingstone. Within these categories are dozens of peach varieties with variations in color, size, and shape.

You'll also find canned, frozen, and dried peaches. Canned peaches can be preserved in syrup or juice, which adds to the fruit's sweetness (as well as its sugar and calorie count). Some producers can peaches in water, which does not add extra calories or carbohydrates to the fruit. Frozen peaches are typically equivalent in nutrition to fresh peaches (but check the ingredients list to confirm no sugar has been added).

You can also preserve peaches through dehydration. Dried peaches are a sweet on-the-go snack, but dehydrated fruit has more sugar, calories, and carbohydrates than fresh peaches. A half-cup serving of dried, unsweetened peaches contains 191 calories, 49 grams of carbs, and 33 grams of sugar.

When They're Best

Fresh peaches are a great summertime treat; their peak season is in July and August. When buying peaches, choose fruits that smell sweet. They should have a creamy, yellow, or yellow-orange color and unwrinkled skin.

They should also yield slightly to pressure. If the skin is green, the fruit was picked too early, and it likely won't ripen—skip these. In addition, avoid peaches that have bruises or soft spots. 

Storage and Food Safety

If you buy your peaches somewhat firm, you can place them on the counter to soften at room temperature for two to three days. To enhance ripening, place them in a paper bag with an apple. Refrigerate when they are ripe. 

Once refrigerated, peaches will not ripen any further; eat within two or three days. Do not wash peaches until they are ready to be used. 

How to Prepare

Peaches are great eaten as is, or you can add them to smoothies, yogurt, cottage cheese, hot or cold cereal. They're also delicious in salsa and other savory chutneys and relishes. Use them to add flavor, sweetness, and color to salads. Peaches can also be sautéed, grilled, stewed, or used for jams and preserves. 

Recipes

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