. . . how peaches, plums and nectarines can keep us healthy Fresh, juicy, sweet and colorful . . . the “stone fruits”: peaches, plums and nectarines are one of my favorite things about summer. And scientists at Texas A&M have found that these delicious fruits possess certain compounds that work in different and synergistic ways to thwart heart disease, obesity and diabetes – together known as “metabolic syndrome.” A study presented at the American Chemical Society’s annual meeting last summer showed that four groups of phenolic compounds found in stone fruits – anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, quercetin derivatives and catechins – have anti-obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties and may also reduce the oxidation of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). (Cholesterol alone isn’t harmful; but when it is oxidized it leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease.) Each of the fruits has similar healthful compounds, but in differing proportions. The researchers recommended eating some of each for maximum benefit. The healthful compounds found in stone fruits are also antioxidants, which strengthen immunity and protect against cancer and a host of other diseases, including Alzheimer’s, as well as aging itself. Fruits with the deepest colors, at peak ripeness, have the most antioxidants. Because fruits are relatively high in sugar, it’s best to limit yourself to about two pieces a day.
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