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The many health benefits of peaches, cherries and other stone fruits

There’s a lot of nutrition and flavor hiding out in one less-common yet easy-to-love family of fruits; stone fruits. Stone fruits are a category of fruits that have thin skin, tender flesh, and a tough stone (pit) in the center that contains the plant’s seed. Stone fruit season spans from late spring, when you’ll see cherries and apricots popping up at the farmers market, through mid- to late-summer and into the fall, when mangos, plums, peaches, and nectarines shine.

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, plant-based sports dietitian with Greenletes in New York City:  “All stone fruits are a good source of carbohydrates, which are the primary fuel source for cycling. Because the body is able to quickly digest the sugar found in fruit, all stone fruits are great to have 30-minutes before hopping on the bike.”

What nutrients will you get from stone fruit?
“Each type of stone fruit has different nutritional benefits,” Robinson says. For example, cherries contain more flavonoids and natural sleep-promoting melatonin. Nectarines and mangos contain more immune-supporting vitamin C. Apricots, cherries, nectarines, mangos, and plums contain the most cramp-combatting potassium. Apricots, plums, peaches, and mangos are also good sources of immune-supporting carotenoids. The benefits of peaches, nectarines, and plums also include packing the antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which support eye health. And peaches and nectarines also contain the lowest amounts of sugar.

While the nutritional value of stone fruit does differ slightly based on the type, each one delivers a whole host of health benefits. Ahead, the nutrition facts per 1-cup serving (without pits) of some of the most common raw stone fruits, according to the USDA.


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