Nectarines originated in China are now produced all over the world. This fruit was introduced to the Americans by the Spanish and now California is the largest producer of nectarines in the United States. India, Greece, Italy and China are some of the other major producers of Nectarines (1).
Commonly mistaken as peaches, nectarines are similar yet different fruits. The best way to identify the difference between a nectarine and a peach is that nectarine does not have fuzz. Nectarines are smaller and have a smooth red skin with yellow undertones. The flesh is yellow in colour with a pink tinge and has a distinct aroma. There are more than 100 varieties of nectarines of clingstone and freestone types. In freestone types, the flesh separates from the pit easily, while in clingstone variety, it clings to the pit. Nectarines are more delicate than peaches and bruise easily. Nectarines are named after the Greek God Nektar and their juice is called the Drinks Of Gods.
Nectarines can be eaten raw or can be used to make jams, jellies, salads, pies, cheese cake, tarts and ice cream.
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Nectarine Nutritional Value:
The nutrition of nectarines might be similar to peaches but nectarine contains much more minerals and vitamins than them. Elements like iron, phosphorus, potassium etc are abundant in Nectarine and Vitamin A and C are present in double the amounts as compared to peaches. Nectarines contain small but healthy concentration of antioxidants. It is good in niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamine, and pyridoxine. It also contains magnesium, folic acid, iron and Vitamin K in moderate amounts. And this is the secret behind the nectarine benefits
|Nectarine (Prunus persica var. nucipersica), Fresh, Nutritive value per 100 g.|
|(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)|
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.32 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||1.7 g||5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.185 mg||4%|
|Vitamin A||332 IU||11%|
|Vitamin C||5.4 mg||9%|
|Vitamin E||0.77 mg||5%|
Health Benefits Of Nectarines:
The nectarine health benefits are as follows.
The yellow flesh of nectarines is rich in bioflavonoids, especially carotenoids. These pigments are antioxidants that help to protect against cancer and other diseases by reducing the cellular damage that is caused when body burns oxygen. The antioxidants in Nectarine which includes Vitamin A, Vitamin C and beta carotene prevent cancer. Consumption of nectarines also protect from oral and cavity cancer (2).
[ Read: Vitamin K ]
2. Heart Health:
Nectarines are a good source of potassium and fiber, both of which are nutrients which keep our heart healthy (3). Nectarines help to promote healthy cholesterol level and good gut health due to their rich fiber content.
Nectarines are a good source of antioxidants which help to fight free radicals in the cells (4). Free radicals that are created after the exposure to sunlight can easily be eliminated if you include nectarines in your diet. Thus it protects us from harmful UVA rays. Antioxidants help us to fight several diseases. These antioxidants in nectarine are converted into Vitamin A in the body.
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Vitamin C present in Nectarines play a vital role in keeping tissues strong. It also helps to produce collagen, a structural protein that helps to hold the tissue together and promotes healing after an injury. Ascorbic acid boosts immunity and helps to fight infections (5). It also helps to repair cartilage and bones. It makes up part of a protein responsible for producing skin, scars, tissue, tendons and ligament.
5. Aids digestion:
The problem of constipation can easily be dealt with nectarines. Potassium present in nectarines improves metabolism, regulates pH balance, assist in photosynthesis and helps with the digestion of carbohydrates (6).
6. Weight loss:
Nectarines are a low calorie fruit which makes it a perfect food for people who want to lose weight (7). It contains just 44 calories per 100 grams and contains no saturated fats. Fiber in nectarine helps to manage hunger and aids in weight control.
[ Read: Heart healthy ]
7. Vitamin A:
Vitamins in Nectarines are packed with beta carotenes which are crucial for the production of Vitamin A (8). Vitamin A deficiency leads to abnormal bone development, reproductive diseases and can also lead to death in some cases. A single cup of nectarines contain 214 mcg of beta carotene which protects from macular degeneration and keeps the eyes healthy. Vitamin A also builds and maintains healthy skin, teeth, bone, tissue, and mucous membranes.
8. Improves blood pressure:
One medium nectarine contains around 285 mg of potassium. Potassium aids in blood pressure control by balancing the effect of sodium. Including Potassium rich food in your diet improves blood pressure. But a high potassium diet can be harmful for elderly people and people with kidney disease. So be careful while incorporating protein rich foods in your diet (9).
To get the most of the health benefits, you should consume nectarine along with the skin. The maximum percentage of nutrients in nectarine is actually present in the skin. The skin contributes to insoluble fiber that prevents constipation.
Cutting or peeling a nectarine releases an enzyme that causes darkening of flesh. The fruit might not look a bit appetising but this does not alter its nutritional value in any way. You can also slow the discolouration by dipping the nectarine in acidic solution like cedar vinegar.
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How to prepare and eat the fruit
Clean with cold water and then wipe with a soft cloth. To eat it with the peel just cut in halves. But if you want to peel it, then first score a small cross like a peach. Dip it in boiling water for a minute and then immediately cool in cold water. After this you can peel away from the cross.
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