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At Professor Wellbody's Academy of Health & Wellness, we understand there's only one thing harder than making healthy behavior changes: Sticking to them! We all need a little help from our friends, and that's the purpose of the Wellbody Blog, a friendly online gathering spot--a community well--where you can dip into health news; wellness tips; recipes; latest research about nutrition, exercise, sleep and hygiene; plus, real stories from virtual neighbors who are also trying to change their lives for the better. Start from wherever you are; share ideas, information, inspiration. At Pacific Science Center, we believe each of us can do something everyday to improve our health and well-being.

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Wellbody Recipe: Nothin' Beats a Grilled Peach

grilled-peachesNothing screams summer like peaches. Warmed by the sun, glowing amber and rose, a perfectly ripe peach needs nothing more than a hungry admirer with a few relaxing minutes to savor the flavor – and a napkin to sop up drips.

However, if you want to elevate nature's bounty to decadent heights (or if your peaches aren't quite ripe), then use fire. Glowing heat will draw out and caramelize the juices, painting a tangy sweet gloss on the softened golden flesh; flames create a slight char, a papery crackle that dissolves on the tongue and tastes like toffee.

In the midst of peach season, who needs desserts bloated with fats or sweetened with added sugars and high-fructose corn syrup?

One large peach has about 70 calories, no fat. It's high in vitamin A (important for healthy vision) and vitamin C, an antioxidant key to building and repairing tissues. Peaches also provide antioxidant vitamin E and vitamin K (vital for blood clotting), thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. The potassium in peaches (350 mg), helps maintain blood pressure and prevent kidney stones and bone loss.

Major antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, in the fuzzy fruits help scavenge free radicals linked to aging, chronic disease, inner inflammation and cancer.

Finally, a large peach contains three grams of fiber, essential for smooth digestion and likely beneficial in regulating cholesterol and reducing risk of heart disease.

Here's a book recommendation--sumptuous summer reading featuring peaches: Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm by David M. Masumoto. And, of course, a foolproof recipe...

Grilled Peaches

Ingredients

Peaches (1 per person)- Select fragrant peaches that give slightly to gentle thumb pressure. However, if they are still hard, that's OK because the heat will soften the flesh and draw out the juices and flavor.

Olive oil

Optional garnishes: Thyme sprigs, sea salt, balsamic vinegar, dried coconut flakes, vanilla, yogurt, coconut milk, vanilla, pomegranate molasses

Preparation

Heat your grill to medium (either charcoals or gas) while you are prepping the peaches.

Wash and dry the peaches. Slice into quarters, removing the pit. Brush with olive oil. If you're using thyme sprigs or sea salt, sprinkle on the peaches.

Place the peaches on the grill and cover. When the peaches start oozing juice (2 to 5 minutes per side), turn them. When all three surfaces have been roasted, remove from grill and eat. Or, optional, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, honey, vanilla, pomegranate molasses, yogurt and/or coconut milk.

Make extra to eat for breakfast or snack. Refrigerate, slice into eighths and top with granola, oatmeal, quinoa or chopped nuts for breakfast or serve atop greens for a salad.

Grilled apricots are also delicious. Cut them in halves instead of quarters. They will only need to grill 1 – 3 minutes per side.

You can also "grill" fruit in a heavy-bottomed pan on your stove top. Heat the burner to medium-hot, add one teaspoon olive oil and fry fruit pieces two or three minutes per side until the juices ooze and caramelize.

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Guest Wednesday, 23 July 2014