The tree of peach (Prunus persica) belongs to the subfamily Prunoideae of the Rosaceae family. Prunus persica bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach (in Persian: Houloo). It should be noted that the peach is also named as the Persian Apple (in Persian: Seeb-e Irani) in many part of the world. The scientific name persica, along with the given name of Persian Apple most likely indicate that peaches were originated in Persia (now Iran), and it is most unlikely to consider China as the origin of this fruit as some documents claim. In this article some Historical Notes on Peach, the Nutritional Values of Peach, and the Pros and Cons for the Peach Consumption are briefly studied and discussed.
Some Historical Notes on Peach
As noted, Peach was originated in the ancient Persian Empire and as a Persian Apple, it was then introduced to India, China and the Mediterranean region along the Silk Road before Christian times. Peaches were mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as the 10th century BC and were a favorable fruit of kings and emperors.
Macedonian Alexander introduced this fruit into Europe after he occupied the ancient Persian Empire in 331 BC. From Europe, it was brought to the North America by Spanish explorers in the 16th century.
Hypothetically, the horticulturist George Minifie brought the first peaches from England to its North American colonies in the early 17th century, planting them at his Estate of Buckland in Virginia. Various American Indian tribes are credited with spreading the peach tree across the United States, taking seeds along with them and planting as they made a journey and wandered the country.
Although the third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) had peach trees at Monticello, the US farmers did not begin commercial production of the peach until the 19th century in Maryland, Delaware, Georgia and finally Virginia.
Nutritional Values of Peach
The nutritional values of peach in terms of the amount of nutrients present in 100 gm of peach may be summarized as follows:
Vitamin A - 880 IU
Vitamin B - 02 mg
Riboflavin - 0.05 mg
Niacin - 0.9 mg
Vitamin C - 8 mg
Calcium - 8 mg
Iron - 0.6 mg
Phosphorus - 22 mg
Potassium - 310 mg
Fats - 0.1 gm
Carbohydrates - 12 gm
Protein - 0.5 gm
Dietary Fiber - 0.6 gm
Sugars - 9 gm
Calories – 46
You can use the following information to decide whether or not to include peach in your diet.
The peach is: Low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium/ High in Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Niacin and Potassium.
The nutritional value and health benefits of peaches means that they are good for: Maintaining good general health/ Losing weight (See below).
Avoid eating peaches if you are interested in: Gaining weight
The Pros and Cons for the Peach Consumption
The Healthy Benefits of Peach may be listed as follows:
1. Peaches help make the skin healthy and also add color to the complexion.
2. It has been seen that consumption of peaches helps in the removal of worms from the intestinal tract.
3. Being rich in Vitamin A, peaches might help prevent cancer in organs and glands with epithelial tissue.
4. Peaches comprise of more than 80 percent water and are a good source of dietary fiber, making them good for those trying to lose weight.
5. Consumption of peaches, on a regular basis, can keep your bowel movements regular and even prevent straining.
6. Researches have suggested that peaches have good to excellent antioxidant activity, some antimicrobial activity and good to excellent tumor growth inhibition activity.
7. Peaches have a small laxative effect and a powerful diuretic effect and thus, are recommended to people suffering from rheumatism and gout.
8. Peach flowers have sedative proprieties and are good for children who are restless, especially when the peach is boiled in water with sugar and honey.
9. Peaches have been found to be beneficial for individuals suffering from the following diseases and disorders: Acidosis, Anemia, Asthma, Bladder and Kidney Stones, Bronchitis, Constipation, Dry Cough, Gastritis, High Blood Pressure, Nephritis, and Poor Digestion.
The Hazardous Effects: As with many other members of the rose family, peach seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides. These substances are capable of decomposing into a sugar molecule and hydrogen cyanide gas.
While peach seeds are not the most toxic within the rose family, that dubious honor going to the bitter almond, large doses of these chemicals from any source are hazardous to human health.
Peach allergy or intolerance is a relatively common form of hypersensitivity to proteins contained in peaches and related fruit (almonds). Symptoms range from local symptoms (e.g. oral allergy syndrome, contact urticaria) to systemic symptoms, including anaphylaxis (e.g. urticaria, angioedema, gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms). Adverse reactions are related to the "freshness" of the fruit: peeled or canned fruit may be tolerated.
The World Peach Production
The world peach production is about 10 million tons, second only after the apple, and the highest concentration of peach orchards is around the Mediterranean. While peach production is decreasing in the USA and is stable in the EU it is increasing in China and in South America, particularly in Chile. The main problems linked to the peach industry evidenced by most countries are: low fruit quality, high production costs, international competition and overproduction.
California today grows 65 per cent of peaches grown for commercial production in the US, but the states of South Carolina, Georgia, and Washington also grow a significant amount. Italy, China, USA, India, Greece, and Iran are the first 6 major world producers of the peaches.
1. Peach in Science: In August 2010, a team of researchers at Clemson University, USA, announced that they successfully sequenced the peach tree genome.
2. Peach in Poetry: Here is a very interesting poem about peach as composed by the American poet Li-Young Lee:
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
3. Peach in Quotes and Sayings: Here are some English Quotes on Peach:
If two or three persons should come with a high spiritual aim and with great powers, the world would fall into their hands like a ripe peach: Ralph Waldo Emerson.
…With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination: Robert Fulghum.
Family life is a bit like a runny peach pie - not perfect but who is complaining? Robert Brault (Read more here).
And here are some Persian Sayings on Peach:
Mesl-e Houloo-ye Poost Kandeh (As a free translation in English: The one who looks like a peeled-off peach, referring to a beautiful person).
Hameen Houloo Hameen Gloo (As a free translation in English: It remains the same, referring to something that cannot be either changed or replaced).
4. An Interpretation for the Term “Peach”: Persian Empire Apple Cultivated Here-in = PEACH.
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD
FAOSTAT Website (2011): Online Report on the “Food and Agricultural commodities production in Iran”.
Fideghelli, C. and others (1997): Online Article on the “Peach Industry in the World”.
Natural Environment Website (2011): Online Note on “Peach Nutrition Facts”.
Saadat Noury, M. (1976): Principles of Experimental Nutrition, ed., (in Persian), Tehran University Publications, Tehran, Iran.
Saadat Noury, M. (1982): Principles of Human Nutrition in Health and Disease (in Persian), ed., Tehran, Iran.
Sosinski, B. and others (2010): Online Report on the Peach Genome Database for Rosacea.
Quote Garden Website (2011): Online Quotes on “Peach”.
Various Sources (2011): Online English and Persian Notes on “Peach”, “Persian Sayings on Peach”, and “Benefits of Peach”.
Website of Gratefulness (2011): Online Poem of “From Blossoms”.
Website of Poetry Foundation (2011): Online Biography of Li-Young Lee.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia (2011): Online Article on “Peach”.
Read more about the Moments in the Nutritional Department on MISSING MOMENTS
1. Do you agree with the phrase of “Persian Empire Apple Cultivated Here-in” suggested by this author or you go for another one?
2. Does it have anything to do with the Persian term of Peach (پيچ) meaning as one of the following words: twist, turn, curl, curve, involution, twinge, screw, bolt, and complication?
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