10 Surprising Benefits of Nectarines

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

Nectarines are a delicious fruit similar to plums and peaches. In fact, they are quite similar to peaches in appearance except for the lack of fuzziness on the skin, which is on peaches.  In addition to its taste, the health benefits of nectarines may include better cardiovascular and digestive health. They contain disease-fighting antioxidants, and consumption of nutrient-rich nectarine can help in strengthening the immune system, promoting youthful skin, and is an excellent snack option for everybody.

What are Nectarines?

Nectarines are a fruit that belongs to the Rosaceae family, as are plums and peaches. Nectarines grown in warmer temperate regions are also referred to as stone fruits, or drupes, as they enclose a hard seed inside their outer juicy flesh.

Known with the botanical name Prunus persica var. nectarina in the research world, the trees of this fruit have a short life. They have long, shiny, bright green leaves, with slightly serrated margins. On the basis of the cultivars, the delicate flesh of the aromatic nectarine fruit may have shades of deep yellow or creamy white with the outer skin having colors like pink, red, white or yellow. [1]

Nutrition Facts

Nectarines, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]87.59
Energy 44
Energy [kJ]185
Protein [g]1.06
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.32
Ash [g]0.48
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]10.55
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.7
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]7.89
Sucrose [g]4.87
Glucose (dextrose) [g]1.57
Fructose [g]1.37
Starch [g]0.07
Calcium, Ca [mg]6
Iron, Fe [mg]0.28
Magnesium, Mg [mg]9
Phosphorus, P [mg]26
Potassium, K [mg]201
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.17
Copper, Cu [mg]0.09
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.05
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]5.4
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.03
Niacin [mg]1.13
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.19
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.03
Folate, total [µg]5
Folate, food [µg]5
Folate, DFE [µg]5
Choline, total [mg]6.2
Betaine [mg]0.2
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]17
Carotene, beta [µg]150
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]98
Vitamin A, IU [IU]332
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]130
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.77
Tocopherol, beta [mg]0.01
Tocopherol, gamma [mg]0.01
Tocopherol, delta [mg]0.01
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]2.2
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.03
16:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.09
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.09
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.11
18:2 [g]0.11
18:3 [g]0
Tryptophan [g]0.01
Threonine [g]0.01
Isoleucine [g]0.01
Leucine [g]0.01
Lysine [g]0.02
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0.01
Phenylalanine [g]0.02
Tyrosine [g]0.01
Valine [g]0.01
Arginine [g]0.01
Histidine [g]0.01
Alanine [g]0.02
Aspartic acid [g]0.57
Glutamic acid [g]0.03
Glycine [g]0.01
Proline [g]0.01
Serine [g]0.02
Sources include : USDA [2]

Nutrition Facts

Nectarines are a luscious, nutrient-dense, and low-calorie fruit. With only 44 calories per 100gm, it offers an impressive array of powerful antioxidants and phenolic compounds, along with dietary fiber. According to USDA National Nutrient Database, the wealth of vitamins in nectarines may include vitamin A, B-vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate, as well as vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Nectarines,  are excellent sources of potassium and other minerals, such as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, and calcium, without containing any cholesterol. [3] [4]

Types of Nectarines

Nectarines come in three main varieties, and all are enjoyed best when eaten fresh:

  • White and Yellow Flesh: These varieties have dark red skin with a smooth texture. White ones are sweeter and less acidic compared with the yellow variety, which is more acidic and a bit tangier to taste.
  • Clingstones: The flesh of this variety is attached to the pit (also known as stone) of the fruit. Its fiber can easily get stuck in your teeth and hence, this variety is generally used for canning purposes.
  • Freestones and Semi-freestones: Just as the name describes, freestone variety entails those fruits whose pulp separates effortlessly from the seed. The flesh of the semi-freestone variety clings only to certain parts of the pit. The fiber of both these varieties is not as tough as the clingstones variety and they are usually preferred for freezing.

    Nectarines kept in a white dish in a white background

    Nectarines are eaten fresh or cooked in conserves, jams, and pies. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Health Benefits of Nectarines

Let’s have a look at some of the major health benefits of nectarine:

May Aid in Antioxidant Defense

According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, nectarines have wonderful antioxidant power with a good amount of polyphenols, vitamin C content, and carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and cryptoxanthin, in possibly higher concentration in the skin of the fruit. These protective antioxidants may exert free radical scavenging activities and assist in neutralizing the damaging effects of oxygen-free molecules. [5]

May Aid in Digestion

The presence of dietary fiber and the alkaline nature of nectarines may make them perfect for maintaining digestive health. The fiber content absorbs water, adds bulk to the stool, may regulate bowel movements, and can help prevent issues like gastritis, constipation, and ulcers. [6] [7]

May Aid in Weight Loss

A research study published in the Journal of Hygiene research has shown that stone fruits, such as nectarines, contain bioactive compounds such as anthocyanins, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin derivatives which have the potential to combat obesity-related medical conditions like diabetes and cardiac disorders. Nectarines also help to fight metabolic syndrome – a set of risk factors associated with increased mortality and morbidity, noted in a 2012 study presented at the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. [8] [9]

May Lower Risk of Anemia

Anemia is a condition where there is a lack of red blood cells in the body to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. Iron is an essential mineral needed to produce red blood cells. Although nectarines are not rich in iron, vitamin C found in nectarine helps to increase iron absorption in the body. Therefore, including nectarine in your diet is a vital component which may help reduce the risk of developing anemia. [10]

May Improve vision

Lutein is an important nutrient, which encourages eye health and might help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration, according to Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science. Nectarines contain lutein, so incorporating them into your diet can help you achieve adequate amounts. [11]

Various investigative studies have shown that lutein is an extremely powerful antioxidant, which helps in reducing the risk of nuclear cataracts. In addition to this, beta-carotene present in the fruit encourages the synthesis of vitamin A, contributes to maintaining healthy eyesight, and prevents diseases like blindness and xeropthalmia. [12]

May Prevent Hypokalemia

Hypokalemia is the deficiency of potassium in the body, which may degrade muscular health and may cause cardiac arrhythmia. Many fruits contain potassium, which is essential for proper nerve and cellular function, and the functioning of muscles. Nectarines are no exception! Potassium is present in stone fruits, which can help attain adequate daily levels. Potassium is an important nutrient in proteins synthesis, electrolyte balance, and supports metabolic processes.

Might Enhance Cardiac Health

Regular consumption of stone fruits, including nectarines, may prove beneficial in maintaining cardiovascular health. This is attributed to the presence of heart-friendly antioxidants. This was revealed in a 2008 annual research report investigated by Dr. David Byrne of California. Chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins present in nectarines exert inhibitory action against the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, preventing hardening of arteries and encouraging proper circulation of human platelets. Flavonoids found in nectarines may help in preventing the rise in the aggregation of platelets and reduce the risk of developing atherosclerosis. Of course, stone fruits alone cannot enhance cardiac health but work best when incorporated into a diet rich with lean protein, legumes, fruits vegetables, and whole grains. [13]

May Boost Immunity

The inclusion of drupes, such as nectarines, may aid in enhancing the immune system. They are known to contain an abundance of antioxidants such as vitamin C, zinc, and other protective phenolic components that may increase the body’s ability to fight various infections by promoting the synthesis of antibodies. These defending components reduce the risk and intensity of a variety of ailments (the most well-known being the common cold) and lead to a speedy recovery of wounds and other illnesses. [14]

May Aid in Skin Care

Produce may provide beneficial antioxidants and compounds to benefit the skin. Stone fruits also provide these beneficial effects. Beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, is instrumental in protecting the skin against damage caused by exposure to UV radiation. Vitamin C contributes to collagen synthesis, helping keep the tissues toned and maintains the youthfulness of the skin. In addition to this, research has advocated the photoprotective effect of lutein (present in nectarines) in guarding the skin against free radical damage and UV-induced erythema. [15] [16] [17]

Food during Pregnancy

Expectant mothers can benefit from the vitamin and mineral treasure present in nectarines. In particular, their folate content can help in reducing the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and contributes to the overall health of the mother and baby. The abundance of potassium assists in preventing muscle cramps. Fiber may keep up the digestive health and helps prevent constipation, and vitamin C content contributes to the proper growth and development of the muscles, teeth, and blood vessels of the growing baby. So if you’re pregnant, grab a nectarine next time you’re in need of a snack.

Uses of Nectarine

Nectarines are juicy fruits that may be used to accentuate the flavor and health in various dishes, such as:

  • Yogurts
  • Pies
  • Jams
  • Smoothies
  • Shakes
  • Cakes

Side Effects

  • Mild Allergies: Those allergic to nectarine may suffer from itching in the mouth and throat, swelling of eyelids, lips, and face. Mild allergies could also result in stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and running nose.
  • Anaphylaxis: Severe allergies of nectarine can cause anaphylaxis, which is the instability of cardiovascular health and breathing issues. In some cases, this could also be fatal. If you suspect any type of intolerance, check with your physician before consuming this fruit.
  • Cyanide Poisoning: Pits or seeds of nectarines contain small amounts of cyanogens which on ingestion may get metabolized to cyanide. Although rare, excess inadvertent ingestion of these pits may result in cyanide poisoning. [18]
  • Choking in Children: The pits may cause choking problems in little children if left unmonitored.
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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