Whether you prefer a soft, deliciously sweet peach, a few tangy plums or a bowl of fresh red cherries, now is the time to enjoy stone fruits. July and August are season for stone fruits — and orchards, local markets, and grocery stores alike are practically bursting at the seams with them.
Stone fruits are ones where the seed is hidden in a hard, stone-like pit like those in the Prunus family (like plums, apricots, and nectarines etc). These yummy little summery gems are packed with nutrients and unexpected benefits, so with peak season upon us, let’s take a look at all they have to offer.
Obviously they are a great snack material in the summer as not only are they juicy and refreshing but can help replenish water and vitamins during the summer heat. Also, they are small and don’t require peeling or preparation so they are handy to carry around for easy consumption.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of stone fruits.
They help create collagen and fight off cancer
A cup of sliced apricots or plums has 25 percent of your daily vitamin C needs. Vitamin C helps the body form collagen—the main protein in connective tissue—in bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. It also increases iron absorption. When eaten in its natural for or applied topically, can reduce wrinkles, improve overall skin texture and help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution.
As an excellent source of the strong antioxidant vitamin C, peaches can also help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer. While an adequate vitamin C intake is necessary and very beneficial as an antioxidant, the amount necessary to consume for treatment purposes for cancer is thought to be beyond oral intake (mediacalnewstoday.com)
They are high in potassium and Vitamin K
Two small peaches have slightly more of this essential mineral than a medium banana. Two plums contain about one tenth of your daily vitamin K, which helps maintain strong bones.
Eat peaches and nectarines with the skin. It contains insoluble fibre that helps prevent constipation and ensures gastro-intestinal health (www.besthealthmag.ca). It also helps reduce appetite and hunger which is a great help for weight control. High fiber intakes from all fruits and vegetables are associated with a lowered risk of colorectal cancer.
When it comes to ways of incorporating them into your diets, there are many uses. Obviously you can snack on them raw but have you considered making a smoothie, juice or add them to your yoghurt, cereal or dessert? Furthermore, many world cuisines use dried or cooked peaches and apricots as well as plums and prunes in savory dishes – with meats and in stews etc.