Peachy keen

There are some unadulterated pleasures in life; dipping your body in the ocean on a warm spring morning at dawn, the overheard laughter of your children and cradling a cup of something warm while you catch up with a valued friend jump to mind. You can add many things to this list according to your own predilections but surely an almost universal pleasure is that moment of biting into the sweetly tart and succulent flesh of a just-ripe stone fruit. The added bonus of stone-fruit is that they are largely good for you. In fact, a new study has shown that peaches may help to restrict the spread of breast cancer.

Peaches are native to north-west China but they have spread around the world. One medium-sized peach has 0.5 grams of fat, two grams of fibre, one gram of protein and a range of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B3, potassium, magnesium, zinc and copper in trace amounts. Peaches also contain polyphenols and these are the substances that may help in breast cancer.

The new study involved mice with aggressive breast cancer cells being given peach extract. After a few weeks the cancer cells stopped spreading and the researchers identified that the peach polyphenols were working by blocking the gene expression of metalloproteinases. These metalloproteinases are enzymes released by cancer cells to break down surrounding tissue allowing the cancer to spread.

This was a mouse-based study but the researchers calculate that to achieve the same intake of peach polyphenols used in this study a human would need to eat two to three medium-sized peaches per day.

It should be noted that this research was partly funded by the US Department of Agriculture and the California Tree Fruit Agreement. However, it remains that the study was accepted and published by a reputable journal which was satisfied at the rigour of the findings.

In no way does this suggest that self-treatment for breast cancer with peach consumption is an option. It does, however, point to a very pleasant way to support your body.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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