Posted 4 years ago

Peach and Basil Salad

It’s Officially Peach Season!

Peaches are a fuzzy fruit native to northwest China. They are a member of the stone fruit family, which means that their flesh surrounds one large middle seed. The inner flesh of a peach ranges in color from white to yellow or orange. There are two different varieties of peach: freestone and clingstone. These names indicate whether the flesh sticks to the inner seed or easily comes apart from it.

The benefits of consuming fruits and vegetables are considerable. As plant food consumption increases, the risk of many lifestyle-related diseases including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancers reduces.

Some benefits to including peaches in your diet include the vitamin C and fiber content of these sweet, juicy fruits.  A cup of diced peach provides 11.1 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, as well as contributing to the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of potassium, fiber, and iron. This amount of vitamin C equates to 12-15% of the RDA for adults. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent the formation of free radicals, which are compounds that have links to cancer development.

Despite their relatively low nutrient profile, peaches can still benefit people’s health as part of a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. Peaches can add sweetness to desserts and treats, replacing more harmful added sugar. That same cup of diced peaches contains 2.52 g of fiber.

Fiber-rich foods provide a range of important health benefits- They can protect the health of the colon, support weight management on a long-term basis, and reduce the risk of several harmful health conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and several cancers.  A person could significantly boost their fiber intake by replacing sweet, low fiber treats with a peach or two every day.

Peach Nutrition
One cup of diced peach provides:
65.5 calories
1.53 g of protein
0.42 g of fat
0 g of cholesterol and sodium
16 g of carbohydrate (all naturally occurring)
14.10 g of sugar (all naturally occurring)
2.52 g of fiber
Peaches also provide trace amounts of vitamins A, E, and K, as well as magnesium and phosphorus.

Here in Arizona peaches peak in July and August so now is a great time to explore this juicy, sweet fruit. A delicious way to add peaches to your diet is a delicious salad that marries summer’s juicy, sweet peaches and aromatic basil with velvety fresh mozzarella. This quick to fix, simple salad has a lot of vitamin C, beta-carotene, calcium and fiber. Serve as a light main dish or side salad.

Peach and Basil Salad with Fresh Mozzarella

Peach and Basil SaladIngredients
1 lb. peaches, sliced into wedges, then cut crosswise (frozen may be used)
8 oz. part skimmed, fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, torn into medium pieces
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. rice vinegar
Pinch salt
Freshly ground black pepper, optional

In large mixing bowl combine peaches, mozzarella and basil.
Drizzle on oil and vinegar, add salt and pepper, if using, and toss gently until evenly coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 4 hours.

Makes 4 servings (5 cups).
Per serving: 240 calories, 14 g total fat (7 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 35 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 15 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber, 410 mg sodium, 11 g sugar, 0 g added sugar.

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