Nectarine is not only a versatile and tasty fruit, the composition of nectarine includes many nutrients and antioxidants, and therefore it has a wide range of health benefits. Nectarine can be a delicious addition to everything from pizza to pies and jams.
Originally from the Rosaceae family , nectarines are botanically related to raspberries, pears, apricots and plums. They are also almost genetically identical to peaches, separated by only one other gene allele.
There are many different types of nectarines that can vary in color from white to bright yellow and red, although they all boast the same health benefits.
The rich composition of nectarines provides their beneficial properties. From supporting better bowel health to boosting immunity, nectarines can be a nutritious and tasty part of the diet.
Nectarines – Composition and Nutritional Value
Nectarines are low in calories but can provide high levels of fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as some other important trace elements.
One medium nectarine contains approximately: ( 27 )
- Calorie content – 62.5 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 15 gr.
- Protein – 1.5 g.
- Fats – 0.5 gr.
- Fiber – 2.4 g.
- Vitamin C – 7.7 mg (13% of the daily value)
- Vitamin A – 471 IU (9%)
- Potassium – 285 mg (8%)
- Niacin – 1.6 mg (8%)
- Copper – 0.1 mg (6%)
In addition to the above nutrients, nectarines include the following vitamins and minerals – manganese, phosphorus, vitamin K, and vitamin E.
Useful properties of nectarine
- High in antioxidants
- Promotes Better Digestion
- Speeds up weight loss
- Improves eye health
- May help kill certain cancer cells.
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stabilizes blood sugar
- Improves heart health
Let’s consider each property in more detail.
1. High antioxidant content
Antioxidants are compounds that can help reduce the risk of a chronic disease by neutralizing harmful free radicals. These are molecules that accumulate as a result of malnutrition, stress, or pollution and can damage your cells.
Nectarines are filled with beneficial plant compounds that act as antioxidants in the body, due in part to their high vitamin C content ( 4 ). Including several servings of nectarines in your diet every week can help provide you with enough antioxidants to improve your health and fight these dangerous free radicals.
Besides nectarines, other foods high in antioxidants include berries, leafy green vegetables, dark chocolate, and herbs like cinnamon and turmeric.
2. Promotes Better Digestion
Nectarines provide a good piece of fiber – a nutrient that is incredibly important when it comes to digestive health. Dietary fiber moves along the gastrointestinal tract in an undigested form, maintaining regularity, adding volume to the stool and helping to move in the intestines.
Fiber also acts as a prebiotic , providing food for the beneficial bacteria in your intestines that can help improve digestion and absorption of nutrients ( 5 ).
In addition, increased fiber intake lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and helps maintain normal blood sugar levels ( 6 ).
The most recent dietary recommendations recommend that you consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 38 grams for men. Eating just one nectarine per day can provide up to 8% of your daily fiber needs ( 7 ).
Other high fiber foods that can help you improve your digestive health include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
3. Help in weight loss
The calorific value of one nectarine is very low. However, since nectarines contain a lot of fiber, this makes the fruit a great addition to the diet if you want to lose weight quickly.
Fiber passes slowly through the digestive tract, helping you stay full longer to reduce your appetite, curb hunger and promote weight loss ( 8 ).
Research shows that increasing your intake of fruits like nectarines can help you lose weight. In fact, several studies have shown that fruit consumption is associated with less body weight and more weight loss ( 9 , 10 , 11 ).
Replacing buns and sweets with nectarines can help reduce your calorie intake and keep your waist volume under control.
4. Improves eye health
Nectarines are rich in vitamin A, an important nutrient when it comes to vision and eye health. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to symptoms such as night blindness, dry eyes, and decreased vision.
Nectarines also include lutein and zeaxanthin, two types of plant pigments that play a central role in the prevention of eye diseases ( 12 ). Recent scientific evidence suggests that these important carotenoids can even protect against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, the main cause of blindness in older people ( 13 ).
Only one nectarine per day can satisfy about 9% of your daily vitamin A needs. Be sure to include many other good sources of vitamin A in your diet, including leafy green vegetables, carrots, milk, eggs, and liver.
5. Can help kill cancer cells
Nectarines contain powerful compounds that have been shown to help block the growth of cancer cells in some in vitro studies. A study in the journal Food Chemistry showed that polyphenols in nectarines and peaches help kill and stop the growth of breast cancer cells without negatively affecting healthy cells ( 14 ).
Research, University of Texas A & M, was published in Jo urnal of Nutritional Biochemistry , also showed that the polyphenols found in Peaches and Nectarines, reduce the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. Researchers recommended eating two to three peaches or nectarines every day to see the same beneficial effects ( 15 ).
Another study with more than 472,000 participants found that nectarines were associated with a lower risk of lung cancer in men ( 16 ).
Of course, more research is needed to confirm this potential benefit from cancer. But it’s clear that eating antioxidant-rich foods like nectarines can have a serious effect on your health.
6. Strengthens the immune system
Nectarines, which include several health-promoting substances, can help your immune system stimulate and ward off infections. For example, an extensive review of 30 studies showed that vitamin C helps reduce the severity and duration of colds ( 17 ).
Nectarines also contain fiber, which can act as a prebiotic for the nutrition of beneficial intestinal bacteria. It turned out that strengthening a healthy intestinal flora enhances immunity and may even help prevent the disease ( 18 ). In addition, nectarines contain many antioxidants that can also protect immune cells from damage and support the effective functioning of the immune system ( 19 ).
In addition to consuming nectarines, be sure to fill your diet with other immune-boosting foods such as fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods to further improve bowel health.
7. Stabilizes blood sugar
Fiber, which is part of nectarines, helps regulate blood sugar levels, preventing surges and crashes. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the blood and keeps blood sugar from eating after eating ( 20 ).
Studies have shown that increased consumption of whole fruits may be associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes, probably due to the content of healthy fibers in them ( 21 , 22 ). One study even found that daily fruit intake was associated with a 12% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes ( 23 ).
However, if you have diabetes, it is still important to control the intake of fruits. Although nectarines contain added fiber, which can help slow down the absorption of sugar, they can still increase blood sugar levels and should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
8. Improves heart health
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and accounts for a whopping third of all deaths. However, in most cases this can be easily prevented by making simple changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Inclusion of nutrient-rich foods, such as nectarines, is one way to improve your heart’s health. The composition of nectarines is rich in several nutrients that can reduce certain risk factors for heart disease. For example, nectarines contain soluble fiber, which helps lower total and bad LDL cholesterol ( 24 ).
They also contain many polyphenols, which can help prevent heart disease. In fact, one study from China found that higher consumption of polyphenols from foods such as nectarines and peaches was associated with lower triglycerides and higher levels of good HDL cholesterol ( 25 ).
Follow a healthy diet, exercise, and limit your use of alcohol and tobacco to strengthen your heart.
Nectarine vs. Peach vs. Apricot
Nectarines are often confused with many other types of fruits, including peaches and apricots. It is true that the small differences between them can become a little blurry.
Although peaches and nectarines are sold as different fruits on a commercial basis, they are actually from the same type of fruit. Because of this, there are minimal differences between nectarine and peach in taste, appearance and composition of nutrients.
In fact, the only significant difference between them is a thin layer of fluff that covers the surface of peaches and is absent in nectarines. Sometimes there are cases when a peach without down can appear on a peach tree, and nectarine with a rough peel can appear on a nectarine tree.
However, since they are practically the same fruit in terms of taste and texture, if you have a recipe that requires peaches, you can easily replace them with nectarines and vice versa.
Apricots , on the other hand, belong to the same family as nectarines and peaches, but have some more noticeable differences. They are smaller than nectarines, contain the same fluff as peaches, and have a more distinct tart taste, which is ideal for baked dishes.
How to use nectarines
Nectarines are widely available at most grocery stores. Be sure to look for those that are brightly colored, firm to the touch, with a flawless and smooth skin.
You should also choose organic nectarines from local sources wherever possible. This is due to the fact that nectarines are considered one of the products of the so-called. “Dirty dozen” – products that are likely to contain harmful pesticide residues. Buying organic products ensures that you do not consume these potentially toxic chemicals.
While the nectarines themselves are very tasty, you can also add them to various dishes, both savory and sweet. Grill, add to pizza, sandwiches and salads, or yogurt.