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Eating Well With Whole Foods: Peaches

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski


Do I dare to eat a peach? mused the poet T.S. Eliot. What better time to bite into the juicy flesh of this most refreshing fruit then right now during the dog days of summer!

A member of the rose family, the peach is cousin to the apricot and the plum. Although its botanical name "Persica" suggests Persia as the birthplace to the peach, this delicate and fragrant fruit actually originated in China. A favored fruit of the country’s emperors, references to peaches can be found in ancient Chinese writings dating back to the tenth century. The Chinese viewed peaches as imbued with a mystical quality of longevity and immortality. Here in the United States, the peach has long been hailed as a cherished summer fruit. A variety of American Indian tribes are credited with spreading the peach tree across the nation, taking seeds along with them and planting as they roamed the country. California grows about two-thirds of peaches for commercial production and Georgia grows so many as well that it became known as the Peach State. Outside of the U.S., Russia, Italy, China, India and Greece are some of the leading producers of peaches today.

Peaches can have either white or yellow fuzzy flesh. Those with white flesh are generally very sweet while the yellow-fleshed tend to be more acidic. Peaches taste great and pack a healthy punch. They are a terrific source of vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. Like carrots, peaches are rich in beta carotene, an antioxidant vitamin which is converted into Vitamin A in the body and is responsible for the fruit’s yellow-orange hue. Beta carotene helps prevent damage from free radicals and builds healthy eyesight. Just two peaches a day provide the daily requirement of vitamin C and helps boosts immunity and promotes healthy teeth and gums, bones, skin, and cartilage.

When selecting peaches, either at the grocery store, farmer’s market, or plucking them straight off a tree, remember that they do not ripen once they are picked so choose those that are at their peak. They should emit a sweet aroma and give a bit when gently pressed. For ideal flavor, store peaches at room temperature. Avoid refrigeration, which can ruin their taste. Toss freshly sliced peaches in lemon juice in order to prevent browning. Ripe peaches will store well in the freezer for later use. Peaches make delicious jams, butters, cobblers and pies. Try them sliced on top of your favorite breakfast cereal, mixed into a refreshing fruit smoothie, baked into your favorite whole grain muffins, or eaten simply sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon and a splash of fresh cream.

Peach-Banana

Breakfast Smoothie

You’ll Need:

½ cup plain unsweetened soy milk

¼ cup drained silken tofu

½ small frozen banana

½ cup fresh or frozen peaches

1 tablespoon flaxseeds, ground

½ teaspoon cinnamon

ice (optional)

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!


 Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a freelance wellness writer who specializes in the science of happiness and how it affects our health. She is also a certified health coach who works with clients on nourishing their bodies and souls by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. Suzann holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com, or email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com for a discounted phone consultation.

 

 


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