Some of the best health benefits of peach palm include its ability to boost energy levels, protect vision, prevent the development of cancer, improve the health of your skin, optimize your digestive system, reduce blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, protect infant health, speed up growth and development, and aid in weight loss.
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Peach Palm, which is scientifically known as Bactris gasipaes, is actually a palm tree that bears a fruit that is considered a drupe, and contains a single seed. The fruits are smaller in size than peaches and plums, and they range in color from yellow to red, depending on the variety of the peach palm. These palm trees are native to South and Central America, and are not a widely exported crop, although they can often be found in exotic import markets. The fruit has been in use for centuries, if not millennia, but first received international attention when Spanish explorers discovered thousands of peach palms on the shores of Costa Rica. This country is still one of the most important producers of peach palm and it is an important part of their economy.
The fruit is considered very valuable because it provides a storehouse of energy, which can replace common culinary staples that provide carbohydrates, like potatoes. In fact, the consistency and texture of cooked peach palm is similar to a sweet potato. Peach palm is usually not eaten raw, as it has a rather strong, acidic taste, but when cooked, it can be dried into meal or flour to be used at a later time. The raw fruit does not stay ripe for very long, and should be eaten or cooked soon after being picked. Economically, it is important both as an export crop, but also because it can replace some of the other overexploited species of exotic fruits that have received global attention in recent years, such as acai. The rich combination of nutrients in peach palm makes it very beneficial for our health in a variety of ways.
Nutritional Value of Peach Palm
Besides being a delicious addition to a fruit basket, peach palms are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds that make them an ideal component of a healthy diet. Peach palms contain significant levels of fiber, carbohydrates, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A,vitamin B, and vitamin K, as well as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc.
Health Benefits of Peach Palm
Peach palm is perhaps best known for acting as an energy reserve. This energy-boosting fruit packs a whopping 37 grams of carbohydrates in every 100 grams. Carbohydrates are the building blocks of our energy supply, and by breaking down these carbohydrates, our body is able to refuel itself very quickly. For this very reason, peach palm is often turned to as a quick energy booster in South American countries, and this very effective carb-loading tool is becoming more popular in other countries as well.
As with most fruits and vegetables, peach palm is a very good source of dietary fiber, which impacts our body in a number of ways. When it comes to digestion, fiber facilitates the smooth digestion of food and eliminates constipation. It can reduce excess gas and bloating as well, while also helping to prevent more serious gastrointestinal conditions, like gastric ulcers and colon cancer.
Heart Health & Diabetes
Fiber continues to serve the body in terms of diabetes, as it can help to regulate the insulin and glucose production activities by affecting those levels in the bloodstream. By slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream and optimizing the functions of the pancreas, peach palm’s fiber can help to reduce the effects of diabetes, or prevent it from developing in the first place. When it comes to heart health, fiber clears out excess cholesterol from the blood vessels and arteries, thereby lowering the chances of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes.
One of the most important vitamins found in peach palm is vitamin A, as well as other carotenoids that help protect the body. Carotenes are essential for vision health, as they act as antioxidants to reduce or eliminate cataracts, while also preventing macular degeneration in the ocular cells.
When it comes to keeping our body’s largest organ protected, vitamin C, vitamin A, and a healthy fluid balance in the body can be very effective. Peach palm possesses both of those antioxidant vitamins that can stimulate the regrowth of new skin cells and protect the ones that are there, while the potassium levels in peach palm ensure a proper water balance in the body and facilitate the exchange of fluid to cells to keep them functioning at an optimal level.
Promotes Growth & Development
Peach palm is especially recommended for children, as it is ideal for spurring proper growth and development. Aside from its balanced composition of vitamins and minerals, peach palm also has proteins and other organic compounds that are essential for growth. Furthermore, for pregnant mothers, the folic acid levels in peach palm make it great for protecting against neural tube defects.
As already mentioned, the immune system is benefited due to vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidants, as well as certain key minerals like magnesium and calcium, which can stimulate the white blood cells to act more efficiently, and can also eliminate the chronic damaging effects of free radicals.
Word of Caution: There are no known allergens contained in peach palm, although the occasional, mile food allergy has been reported. Generally, it is safe to consume for everyone – and beneficial too!