Summer's Best Friends: Stone Fruits
Updated: Aug 2, 2021
What are these mysterious "stone-fruits"? Do they live in stones? Well...stone fruits have a 'stone-like core, such as cherries, peaches, plums and more!
One of the most widely cherished stone fruits is cherry! Cherries are known for their juicy, sweet and delicious flesh, but cherries also have multiple benefits for you aside from being extremely tasty. While cherries are also a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, and vitamins B6 and K, one of the most evident benefits is the antioxidants within the dark, purple-coloured cherries. The dark colour contains antioxidants such as anthocyanins, procyanidins, flavonols, and hydroxycinnamic acid, which will help to protect your cells from damage by free radicals. Free radicals are formed as a by-product of other metabolic processes, and they can become toxic to the body when the free radicals build up over time. Furthermore, antioxidants are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the risks of other chronic diseases. In a study, one group ate around 2 cups of cherries. By the end of the study, their biomarker (indicator) for inflammation, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), was reduced significantly. A high CRP level is associated with many unwanted diseases, such as heart disease, neurodegenerative illnesses, and type 2 diabetes. However, cherries should be consumed in moderation as there is 22g of sugar in 154g (1 cup) of cherries.
Other tasty options are peach and apricots! Peaches are not only lower in calories (about 20% less than cherries) but are also high in copper, manganese, and vitamins B3 (niacin), E, and K. Due to their distinct 'orange-yellow colour, peaches and apricots contain high levels of carotenoids, such as beta carotene, lycopene, lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are a group of antioxidants that are especially associated with providing benefits specifically for the eyes. As carotenoids enter the body, the body will convert them to vitamin A, which is especially helpful for maintaining a healthy state of the eyes and avoid eye cancer and disease. Note that though the inner flesh may also seem orange, up to 27 times the total antioxidants are lost if the peel is taken off, so try to enjoy peaches with peels to receive the maximum health benefits!
Another wonderful stonefruit is the plum. Plums have a deep purple colour, while their interior is often a shade lighter. The colours in the skin of plums contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants, including phenolic compounds, such as proanthocyanidins and kaempferol. These phenolic compounds are known for their benefit in protecting your cells from damage caused by free radicals and potentially reducing diseases such as neurodegenerative conditions and heart disease. Prunes are the dehydrated version of plums, and the main difference is their sugar content by weight. Prunes are known for increasing bone mineral density, relieve constipation, and reduce blood pressure. In fact, prunes are high in fibre and contain sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol that your body poorly digests. Hence, this attracts water from your body in an attempt to flush out the undigested material, helping to alleviate constipation. While most of the nutrient is preserved in the prunes, its sugar content is notably higher than fresh fruits are they lack moisture. Hence, it would be best to consume prunes in moderation as it can be easy to eat 10 dried prunes compared to 10 fresh plums.
These limited summer-time stonefruits contain many important nutrients that your body needs to maintain a healthy system, and you can easily incorporate them into your diet. For example, these stonefruits are a great on-the-go snack, while you can add prunes to yogurts and granola to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Healthy recipes with stonefruits: