The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.
Who doesn’t love a perfectly ripe and juicy plum or peach on a sizzling summer afternoon?
As their name implies, stone fruits (also known as “drupes”) have a stone or pit inside. Their season runs from early spring through early fall, peaking in the middle of summer.
Common stone fruits are:
The bounty of stone fruit doesn’t stop there! At Heinen’s, we offer these unique hybrids to get you out of your comfort zone:
- Apriums: part apricot, part plums, with more apricot characteristics
- Plumcots: part plum, part apricot, with more plum characteristics
- Pluots: part plumcot, part plum
The stone fruit story gets even sweeter! In addition to the pit are these incredible health benefits tucked inside.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in cherries may help relieve muscle pain and damage caused by exercise. These compounds may also reduce symptoms of arthritis and gout, a type of arthritis caused by excess uric acid.
Cherries and cherry juice contain melatonin, a substance involved in the regulation of your sleep-wake cycles. Enjoy a cup of fresh cherries for an evening snack to improve the quality and duration of your sleep.
Immune System Health
You probably know that vitamin C is important for immune health and that oranges are an excellent source of this water-soluble vitamin, but stone fruits deserve special mention too! One study showed an adequate intake of vitamin C improved the symptoms and shortened the duration of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold. Mangoes are an especially good source of this immune-strengthening vitamin.
By preventing the release of histamines in the blood, peaches may help reduce allergy symptoms, like sneezing, itching and coughing. Add a half cup of frozen peach slices to thicken and sweeten your favorite smoothie recipe, or combine fresh diced peaches with plums and apricots for a delicious fruit salsa.
We should be getting 25-35 grams of dietary fiber each day, yet most Americans fall way short of this recommendation. With three grams in one cup of cherries and 2 grams in a fresh peach, stone fruit can help you reach your fiber goals more deliciously.
The benefits of dietary fiber are plentiful, including promoting blood sugar control, lowering blood pressure and managing cholesterol. If you suffer from digestive issues like diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, or constipation, fiber can be a source of support in alleviating these conditions too.
Plums show promise in managing diabetes and heart health. One study showed that plum extracts aid in reducing blood sugar and triglyceride levels in the body, and another study found the flavonoids present in plums exert protective effects against insulin resistance and help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Plums and other stone fruits are delicious grilled!
We are blessed at birth with a preference for sweet, and there’s nothing sweeter than a piece of perfectly ripe and succulent stone fruit to help satisfy this craving. Do your body a favor this summer and check out the cherries, pick up a plumcot, nibble on a nectarine or munch on a mango!