• janemcgrath48

They're juicy and sweet: full of Goodness

I don’t want to bore you but I find many subjects discussed do not always give the full picture. Here I want you to have as much info as you care to digest!

Almost all fruit have heaps of goodness in them no matter their size: the smallest berry to the largest watermelon.

Here are some great reasons to eat peaches and cherries (apart from their taste!)

Close Cousins: Peaches and Nectarines

Peaches have a lot of nutrients in their skin. (Just make sure you rinse them before you eat them, to get rid of any dirt.) If you’re not a fan of the fuzzy texture, go for a nectarine. They’re actually peaches at heart. Just one different gene gives them a smooth peel.

Don’t be fooled by a peach’s small size and delicate skin. Just one medium peach has up to 13.2% of the vitamin C you need each day. This nutrient helps your body heal wounds and keeps your immune system going strong. It also helps get rid of “free radicals” -- chemicals that have been linked to cancer because they can damage your cells.

An antioxidant called beta-carotene gives peaches their pretty golden-orange colour. When you eat it, your body turns it into vitamin A, which is key for healthy vision. It also helps keep other parts of your body, like your immune system, working like it should.

Fibre: One medium peach can give you as much as 6% to 9% of the fibre your body needs each day. High-fibre foods can protect you from health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and colorectal cancer. But the benefit you may notice the most happens in the bathroom: Getting enough fibre can help prevent constipation.

Clocking in at fewer than 60 calories, peaches have no saturated fats, cholesterol, or sodium. And more than 85% of a peach is water. Plus, foods high in fibre are more filling. When you eat them, it takes you longer to feel hungry again.

Getting Your Vitamin E - Nuts and seeds are the best-known sources of this vitamin, but peaches are ripe with it, too. This antioxidant is important for many of your body’s cells. It also keeps your immune system healthy and helps widen blood vessels to keep blood from clotting inside.

Potassium can help balance out the effects of a diet high in salt. It may also lower your blood pressure, along with your chances of kidney stones and bone loss. You need about 4,700 milligrams of potassium every day, and it’s far better to get it from food than a supplement. One small peach has 247 milligrams of potassium, and one medium peach can give you as much as 285 milligrams of potassium.

Gastric issues: If you have stomach trouble, a snack of canned peaches may be a good idea. They have a soft texture, are lower in fibre than fresh fruit, and are easy to digest. As part of what’s called a “gastrointestinal soft diet,” canned peaches can help soothe an upset stomach et al.

Pearly Whites? As sweet as they are, peaches may help keep your teeth healthy because they have fluoride. This mineral, which you find in toothpaste, is also in some foods, including peaches. It helps get rid of the germs in your mouth that can cause cavities.

The sweeter the smell, the riper the peach. (They’re members of the rose family, after all.) They’re ready to eat when they give to the gentle pressure of your finger. Firm peaches can sit on your counter for a few days to ripen, but once they’re ready, pop them into your fridge. Leaving them out once they’re ripe will lessen their vitamin C.

Versatile: Yes, you can eat a fresh peach out of hand, but why stop there? You can also bake, grill, broil, or sauté this mellow stoned fruit. Add muddled (gently smashed) peach slices to your iced tea or lemonade or throw some into a blender with yogurt or milk to make a healthy smoothie. Spicy peach salsa also makes a sweetly healthy summer topping for fish or chicken.

I'll be posting some more fruits and their wonderful ingredients and benefits. Got some favourites? Let me know and I'll include them here.

Cherries: A Healthy Choice

Whether you like them sweet or tart, these deep red fruits are packed with goodness. Cherries are low in calories and full of fibre, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and other good-for-you ingredients. You’ll get vitamins C, A, and K. Each long-stemmed fruit delivers potassium, magnesium, and calcium too. They also bring antioxidants, like beta-carotene, and the essential nutrient choline.

With all of their nutrients, cherries are clearly good for you. It’s no wonder they have a reputation for all kinds of health benefits. But most studies that aim to support those claims are pretty small. They also use cherries in amounts you probably won't eat on a regular basis -- from 45 to 270 cherries a day -- to get those positive effects. It’s not likely you'll eat enough cherries to see a big difference in your overall health.

Let’s check out what the research says.

Cherries are rich in antioxidants. These are natural chemicals that can help your body deal with day-to-day damage to your cells. The havoc may come from normal metabolism, inflammation, exercise, smoking, pollution, or radiation. Some studies show that both sweet and tart cherries help reduce this damage. One small study found that drinking a little bit of tart cherry juice for 2 weeks helped.

Evidence that cherries fight inflammation is mixed. Researchers reviewed 16 studies to get an answer. Eleven showed that eating cherries or cherry products lowered signs of inflammation. But other studies don’t find that benefit. It’s worth noting that many of these studies include very few people. Proof of a health benefit requires large groups of people.

Some studies say tart cherry juice helps combat muscle damage from exercise. One showed that when marathon runners drank the stuff for a few days pre- and post-race, they recovered from the long haul better. Another study found that when runners drank tart cherry juice twice a day for a week before a long race, they had less pain from running. The drink might ease muscle damage and pain from tough exercise.

In one small study of 19 women with diabetes, those that drank tart cherry juice every day for 6 weeks lost weight and lowered their blood pressure and blood sugar. That doesn’t mean the tangy nectar would keep you from getting diabetes. But it might offer a little help to those who already have the condition.

In the same study of 19 women, tart juice brought cholesterol levels down, which could cut your risk for heart disease. But other studies hold that neither sweet nor tart cherries change these risk factors in healthy adults. Some researchers say only people who are obese get this particular health benefit from the juice of these tiny red fruits.

The idea that cherries might prevent attacks of gout has been around for decades. Some small studies suggest this might be true. A recent study in more than 600 people showed that taking cherry extract made the sudden bouts of severe pain less likely. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the extract worked especially well when paired with allopurinol, a drug often used to lower uric acid and protect against such episodes.

Potential Sleep Aid

Eating either sweet or tart cherries may help you get more and better sleep. Studies suggest that this effect of cherries happens within days. But you need to eat a lot of cherries -- 25 sweet or about 100 tart cherries a day. The easier way to get that many cherries is by drinking a more concentrated juice. The reason this works might be because cherries are a source of melatonin, a hormone that’s important for sleep.

Unlikely to Be an Upper

Some studies show that sweet cherries make you feel better. They might lower anxiety and a hormone related to stress. But other studies haven't been able to recreate those effects. Eating cherries probably isn't the most effective way to put you in a better mood.

Possible Brain Booster

The anthocyanins that give cherries their red colour have been tied to better brain health, thinking, and memory. One study found that drinking cherry juice every day for 12 weeks improved verbal fluency and memory in older people with mild or moderate dementia. That doesn’t make it cure, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to try it.

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