A New Study by Harvard University’s School of Public Health Adds Science to Summer’s National “Eat a Peach Day”

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A long-time favorite of peach lovers everywhere, August 22nd National Eat a Peach Day has historically focused on the juicy pleasures of a just-picked peach or the comforts of a peach cobbler: essentially any and every reason to enjoy one of summer’s most beloved fruits. Yet, thanks to a newly released study by Harvard University’s Department of Nutrition, we now know that peaches pack a nutritional punch that may aid in the fight against ER- (ER negative) breast cancer.

Led by a team from Harvard and including Dr. Walter C. Willett, Epidemiology and Nutrition Chair, Harvard University Department of Nutrition, the study looked at more than 75,000 women over the course of 24 years and tracked diet as it related to incidents of ER- breast cancer. The study: “Intake of specific fruits and vegetables in relation to risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer among postmenopausal women” found that those women eating two servings of peaches a week had lower incidents of ER- tumors and therefore, ER- breast cancer.

These findings further amplify the important role peaches play as a part of a healthy diet. A recent multi-year study conducted by Oregon State University (OSU) and the Linus Pauling Institute, concluded that California canned peaches are nutritionally equivalent to their fresh counterparts, and that some nutrients increase thanks to the canning process.

Click here to view a short video overview of the study: bit.ly/YqK7X2.

Just as lycopene levels increase when tomatoes are cooked/canned, so too do key nutrients found in fresh cling peaches. The OSU study found that antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C all increased, and that folate levels in canned peaches were up 10 times compared to their fresh counterparts.

“These studies tell a compelling and growing nutrition story,” says Researcher Bob Durst of OSU. “The current data is clear: peaches in any form, canned or fresh, are just plain good for you. They contain all-natural vitamins and phytochemicals, the impact of which we are just beginning to fully understand.”

And while August is also “National Peach Month,” clearly the benefits of this fruit far outlive summer’s seasonality. According to Dr. William Li of The Angiogenesis Foundation on a recent appearance on The Dr. Oz Show, “Peaches contain a ‘trifecta’ of cancer fighters...things that actually work together to prevent tumors growing in the breast." Li also stressed that "any form of peach, fresh, canned or frozen is good for you.”

This is good news considering what’s at stake: According to breastcancer.org: More than one out of every 10 breast cancers — are found to be ER- or “triple-negative,” noting, “for doctors and researchers, there is intense interest in finding new medications that can treat this kind of breast cancer.”