Nectarine benefits stem from the fruits richness in vitamins and minerals. They also are due to the content of phytochemicals, natural compounds in plant foods that enhance health and help prevent disease.
The fruit is especially plentiful in vitamin C, niacin, copper, potassium, and fiber. It also contains lutein, zeaxanthin, and other phytochemicals with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it is low in calories and fat.
The wellness benefits of nectarines include:
Keep reading to learn more about the health benefits of nectarines and their nutritional content.
The table below shows the high content nutrients in nectarines according to the Department of Agriculture, as well as the percentage daily value. The serving size for these values is 1 medium nectarine, which is 142 grams (g).
As the chart shows, nectarines are low in calories and fat but high in fiber, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, and copper. These nutrients are the highlights, but the fruit also contains smaller amounts of vitamins A and E, along with several B vitamins other than niacin. In addition, nectarines have smaller amounts of other minerals.
The fruit is also rich in phytochemicals, the compounds in plants that have health-promoting effects through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The benefits of nectarines stem from their nutrient profile, making them valuable for several aspects of health. These benefits include the below.
Nectarines may promote weight management in different ways.
They are sweet, however, because they are low in calories and fat, they do not promote weight gain as other sugary desserts do. Therefore, substituting a nectarine for a piece of pie or cake can reduce calorie intake.
The fruit is also high in fiber, which promotes a feeling of fullness and helps reduce overeating.
A 2020 review examined research that explored how fruit consumption affects weight in women. It cited a study on 73,737 women that linked each daily serving of fruit to an average loss of 0.6 pounds (lb), or 0.27 kilograms (kg). The review also cited a study on 40,415 women that linked each daily serving of fruit to an average loss of 0.5 lb (0.24 kg). Both studies took place across 4 years.
The vitamin A and copper in nectarines are two nutrients that research in 2021 noted are important for skin health. Vitamin A protects the skin from UV radiation and influences skin thickness, while copper stimulates the maturation of collagen, the protein that gives skin elasticity. The niacin in nectarines also helps keep skin healthy.
Learn about other foods high in vitamin A.
High blood pressure is a primary risk factor for heart disease. When not under control, it can cause problems in other organs, such as the kidneys and brain.
An older 2011 study stated increased intake of potassium could lower blood pressure. This potassium-induced reduction also significantly decreases the risk of health conditions that high blood pressure can cause. According to the authors, this includes strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease.
Learn more about foods high in potassium.
The vitamin C content of nectarines can support the immune system in fighting infections in multiple ways.
Research in 2017 reported that a vitamin C deficiency results in impaired immunity and a higher risk of infection. The vitamins benefits for immunity include strengthening the skins protection against pathogens, which are disease-causing microbes. Vitamin C also boosts the ability of immune cells to kill pathogens and reduces tissue damage in infection sites.
The study authors stated that low levels of the vitamin remain relatively common in western nations. Because of this, they advised ensuring adequate intake through increasing consumption of vitamin C-rich foods in the diet or taking supplements.
Learn more about foods high in vitamin C.
An older 2011 study on animals noted that fruits with a high antioxidant content could help increase longevity. It evaluated the effects of nectarine consumption on the lifespan of Drosophila melanogaster, a type of fly.
The study results suggested the fruit improved the flies survival. The authors concluded that nectarines may promote longevity by decreasing oxidative damage and improving glucose metabolism. However, more research is necessary through human studies.
A 2014 meta-analysis built on this finding when it investigated how fruit and vegetable consumption affects mortality. It reviewed data from 16 studies involving 56,423 deaths. The results indicated a link between a higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and a lower risk of death from all causes.
Research in 2020 found epidemiological studies indicating cancer has an inverse relationship to the intake of green and yellow fruits and vegetables. Therefore, nectarines fall into the category of fruits that may protect against cancer.
Anthocyanins are one of the phytochemicals nectarines contain. A 2016 study examined the effects of anthocyanins in cancer prevention it found the compound has anti-tumor properties due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and mutation-preventing actions.
However, the research authors state that much of this evidence comes from test-tube studies. With this in mind, further research is necessary to assess the value of nectarines in cancer prevention fully.
Nectarines are a high source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and fiber, among other nutrients.
The vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in this fruit help promote various aspects of wellness, such as boosting immunity, lowering blood pressure, and promoting longevity.
Sometimes, the health benefits of a certain food are partly due to what it does not contain. In the case of nectarines, the low calories and fat and the high fiber content also make it helpful for weight management.
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