Peaches are among the most popular fruits around the world, especially here in the United States. Hundreds of years ago, though, some people were surprised to find a fruit that was similar in taste, but not appearance. This is known as the nectarine, and is distinguishable from a peach due to its skin being smooth like that of a plum instead of fuzzy. Though the nectarine is a form of a peach, the nutrition and taste are a bit different, and people tend to classify nectarines as their own fruit.
Nectarines are incredibly easy to grow, and are typically smaller than your average peach. They’re also very sweet and tasty, making them an American favorite. There aren’t too many foods that have such an enjoyable taste while also being healthy for you, but nectarines are certainly in that category. To show you what happens when you add nectarines to your diet, we’ll look at the nutritional value and some of the proven health benefits that this fruit delivers.
Nutrition of Nectarines
One cup of sliced up nectarines is going to provide a huge nutritional boost without many calories, yielding just 63 per serving. It might surprise you to find that nectarines actually contain 1.5 grams of protein, while delivering a healthy 10 percent of your daily recommendation of dietary fiber. Nectarines don’t have on particular vitamin that brings a majority of your daily recommendation, but you will find 13 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.
At around 10 percent daily value, nectarines deliver vitamin A and niacin, with around five percent of your needed vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, pantothenic acid and more. In the mineral department, nectarines have around five to 10 percent in many different categories, including iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper and manganese. While they are small amounts, you can certainly eat more than just one serving to get a bigger booster. Nectarines also contain no saturated fat (and just 0.5 grams of total fat) with no cholesterol.
Eating nectarines on a daily basis can help you avoid short term illnesses, while also preventing potentially life threatening ones. Nectarines are a good source of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system to increase the amount of white blood cells that fight off foreign invaders. Nectarines also have a high amount of antioxidants that can be difficult to find in other foods, including quercetin and cryptoxanthin.
These compounds were found to have a huge effect in animal testing, as researchers found that nectarine antioxidants caused cancer cells to die. Other studies have found that nectarines have a link to tumor reduction and prevention, especially in certain forms of cancer such as breast cancer. Overall, researchers were able to find that eating nectarines reduces the amount of free radicals in your body that can spread cancer by attacking your cells, making this a potent anticancer food.
When it comes to dieting, it can be hard to avoid reaching for processed junk food just because you feel so hungry throughout the day. The next time you get a craving for something sweet as a snack, reaching for a nectarine is one of the best choices that you can make. Not only are there just 63 calories per serving, but the sweet taste and high amount of fiber will also leave you feeling more full and satisfied.
Let’s say that on average, you eat 200 calories worth of a morning snack. Replacing that snack with a nectarine each day saves you a total of 50,000 calories over the course of a year. That swap alone adds up to a loss of more than 14 pounds, which could make for a huge positive effect on your health. Even if you don’t lose that much weight, nectarines are shown to reduce your chances of obesity-related illnesses.
Dropping to a healthy weight is one way to enhance your appearance, but nectarines can even take it a step further by making your skin look good. Nectarines are known for their smooth skin compared to peaches, and they’ll help your skin look just as smooth thanks to the high amounts of vitamins and antioxidants. Since free radicals can attack your skin cells, that can cause signs of aging such as wrinkles.
Without free radicals in the picture, you’ll look much younger. Add in some helpful vitamin C that produces collagen (and more elasticity) in your skin, and nectarines become a huge skin booster. Other compounds found in nectarines such as lutein can even prevent UV damage that can have a long lasting effect. You might even notice that your skin will be more hydrated (which is great for hair growth) and recovers from wounds faster.
Good For the Heart
While bananas get all of the love in the potassium department, nectarines shouldn’t be ignored for their high potassium content. Potassium is usually thought of when talking about muscle relief, but it plays a huge role for your heart by strengthening the blood vessels, leading to a lowering in blood pressure and a drop in sodium levels. People who eat more nectarines are less likely to suffer from arrhythmia and other cardiac issues.
Another important compound found in nectarines is chlorogenic acid, which has been shown to balance your cholesterol by getting rid of excess LDL (bad) cholesterol. With fiber and vitamin C also playing a big role in boosting your heart’s efficiency, replacing high sodium foods with nectarines is a great way of seeing your cholesterol and blood pressure levels at a healthy level.
Easy to Digest
If you’re constantly feeling like there’s something wrong with your stomach or that you’re feeling a bit “clogged up,” you might not be getting enough fiber in your diet. Eating nectarines is an easy way of introducing more fiber so that you won’t experience these problems. Nectarines contain both a healthy amount of fiber and water to allow your digestive system to become more regular, while probiotics are introduced to help you flush out toxins in your system. Adding more fiber to your diet has also been shown to lower your chances of colon cancer, as well as other serious illnesses in the digestive tract.
Summing it Up
Not only are nectarines among the sweetest and best tasting fruits, but they also have all of these great health benefits. That means there has to be some strings attached, some might think. Thankfully, there aren’t any known side effects that you get from eating nectarines, especially when you’re having one to three servings per day. There aren’t even many people in the world at all that could be allergic to nectarines.
One thing that you’ll have to watch for is the high amount of fiber you’re getting if you eat multiple servings in one day. Those that don’t eat much fiber in their diets could take a few days to adjust to a high fiber diet, resulting in some minor discomfort. This is perfectly normal, however, and is actually a sign that your body is improving. With that in mind, nectarines are a fantastic part of any diet for a multitude of reasons, so go pick some up today and start reaping all of the great benefits!