Although most common in summer, these fruits are available most of the year and pack some powerful health benefits!
These sweet fruits have two things in common, a pit, or stone and excellent health benefits! The term “stone” comes from the stone-hard pit, which is typically found at the fruit’s core. As the fruit hangs off the tree branch, the stone supports it and provides a passage for the nutrients to flow from the tree to the growing fruit.
Collectively, these fruits tend to be low in sugar, calories and fat—making them a great snack for weight management or to curb a sweet-tooth craving. Packing a nutritional punch, stone fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fibre and more!
With the Latin name Prunus persica, peaches are native to China and South Asia and are a product of a
deciduous tree that grows in temperate regions of the world. This fuzzy fruit is high in vitamin C, which helps reduce wrinkles, improve the skin’s texture and fight skin damage associated with the sun. It’s excellent for collagen production, prominent for healthier, glowing skin.
Peaches are high in dietary fibre, making them a great snack for those watching their weight. They also contain potassium, which is essential for proper nerve signals, muscle function, cellular functions of the body, metabolic processes, utilizing carbohydrates and maintaining electrolyte balance. A lack of potassium can lead to hypokalemia, a dangerous syndrome which affects muscle strength, respiratory failure and an irregular heartbeat.
A study from Texas A&M University found that peaches, plums and nectarines contain bioactive and phenolic compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that can fight off obesity-related diabetes and reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) associated with cardiovascular disease. The same university also released a study connecting peach and plum extracts with reduced levels of cancer cells.
TIP: To ripen peaches faster, place them in a paper bag or near a sunny windowsill.
Scientifically known as Prunus armeciaca, apricots are smaller than peaches and have gold velvet-like skin. Believed to have originated in Armenia, they contain high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C and pectin—a soluble fibre which is necessary for good colon health, maintaining healthy cholesterol and helping with constipation and disorders like irritable bowel syndrome.
Apricots are high in antioxidants like flavonoids, which have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. They are also high in other powerful antioxidants including quercetin, proanthocyanidins, epicatechins and catechins—phytonutrients known for their strong anti-inflammatory properties.
This golden fruit is also known for promoting a healthy liver. In a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that apricots were able to protect against liver damage and fatty liver (where the liver accumulates fat) in animals. A similar study done by the journal Transplant Proceedings found that adding sundried organic apricots to the diet of rats with part of their liver removed, helped promote liver regeneration—suggesting apricots may have a similar effect in people.
There are two kinds of plums: European(P. domestica) and Japanese (P. salici-na). The common European plum
originated near theCaspian Sea—and is at least 2,000 years old. The Japanese plum was first domesticated in China over thousands of years ago, but then extensively developed in Japan. Typically, European plums are smaller, purple or blue in colour and often made into jams—whereas Japanese plums are fat, juicy and red, often eaten fresh and tend to have a longer shelf life.
Discover More: Check out this great article about the top 10 foods for your brain health!