Nectarines (Prunus persica var. nucipersica) are a deliciously sweet summertime fruit. Technically a type of peach (Prunus persica), they have smooth, shiny skin instead of fuzzy skin.

In fact, because of this fruit’s growing popularity, nectarine orchards are swiftly replacing peach orchards in parts of India (1).

Nutritionally, nectarines possess a wide range of vitamins and minerals. As such, you may be curious whether these crisp, juicy fruits offer health benefits.

Here are 7 science-backed benefits of nectarines.

taking a bite of a nectarineShare on Pinterest
Jamie Grill Atlas / Stocksy

One medium-sized nectarine (142 grams) offers (2):

  • Calories: 63
  • Fat: 0.5 grams
  • Carbs: 15 grams
  • Protein: 1.5 grams
  • Fiber: 2.4 grams
  • Sugar: 11.2 grams
  • Potassium: 6% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Niacin (vitamin B3): 10% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 8.5% of the DV
  • Copper: 13.6% of the DV

As you can see, nectarines boast plenty of copper, potassium, and vitamins B3 and C.

In particular, vitamin C may support immune health by boosting the output of white blood cells called phagocytes and lymphocytes, which safeguard your body against infection (3).

In fact, a recent study in 800 adults with COVID-19 showed that taking 16, 200-mg doses of vitamin C decreased both ventilator dependence and death rates. Other research also suggests reduced hospital stays and lower symptom severity (4).

Nectarines also contain small amounts of vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, manganese, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous (2).

summary

Nectarines are relatively high in fiber and low in calories. They also boast numerous nutrients, including potassium, copper, and vitamins B3 and C.

Eating nectarines in tandem with iron-rich foods may help prevent anemia, a condition that results from a lack of hemoglobin, or red blood cells. Since red blood cells carry oxygen through your body, those with anemia may feel tired (5).

Vitamin C supports iron intake by converting this mineral into a more easily absorbable form in your body (6).

Still, you should be sure to pair nectarines with iron-rich foods like beans and meat to help prevent anemia.

Summary

Vitamin C, a nutrient in nectarines, may help your body better absorb iron from food. In turn, this may help prevent anemia.

Nectarines are high in antioxidants, including vitamin C.

Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress, which is caused by an imbalance of unstable molecules called free radicals in your body. Over time, oxidative stress may cause illnesses like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease (7, 8, 9).

Other antioxidants in nectarines include flavonoids and anthocyanins, which contribute to the appearance, taste, and aroma of many fruits and vegetables (8, 9).

Flavonoids may help prevent age-related declines in brain function, while anthocyanins play a role in reducing inflammation and heart disease (10, 11).

Nectarines also boast phenolic compounds — a type of polyphenol antioxidant that likewise protects you from free radical damage (12).

Summary

The antioxidants in nectarines fight oxidative stress and may help prevent ailments like heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Multiple studies suggest that the phenolic compounds in nectarines may lower your risk of cancer (13).

A study including over 470,000 adults ages 51–70 found a significant association between an increased intake of fruits, including nectarines, and a decreased lung cancer risk in men. The study tied these benefits to the antioxidant activity of these fruits (14).

Additionally, one test-tube study suggested similar effects, observing that peach extract helped inhibit the proliferation of breast cancer cells (15).

Keep in mind that more human research is needed.

Summary

Preliminary research indicates that peach extract may help inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation. Still, human studies are lacking.

Nectarines may aid weight loss in several ways.

First, they’re a good source of fiber, which supports feelings of fullness. If you’re already feeling full, you’re unlikely to overeat or consume too many calories (16, 17).

What’s more, this fruit is naturally low in calories and fat. Eating plenty of low calorie fruits and veggies may naturally support weight loss when consumed in place of high calorie, low nutrient snacks (18).

A 4-year study in 73,737 women with a normal body mass index (BMI) — a common health metric — linked each daily fruit serving to an average weight loss of 0.6 pounds (0.27 kg). Notably, the study associated starchy foods and low fiber foods with weight gain (19, 20).

Summary

Nectarines may support weight loss because they’re both low in calories and high in fiber, which keeps you feeling full.

Your skin, which is your body’s largest organ, relies on good nutrition to remain healthy. Nectarines may support skin health due to their copper content (21).

Copper stimulates the growth of cells in the dermis layer, which is the second outermost layer of your skin. It also protects your skin from damage, supports aging skin, and promotes the production of collagen — your body’s most abundant protein (21).

Interestingly, cosmetic ingredients often contain copper peptides (22).

Nectarines also provide niacin (vitamin B3), which may protect skin cells from injury caused by the sun’s rays, and small amounts of vitamin A, another important nutrient for skin health (21, 23).

Summary

The copper, niacin, and vitamin A in nectarines may all support skin health.

Nectarines may lower certain risks associated with pregnancy due to their potassium content.

High blood pressure is associated with several adverse health outcomes among pregnant people, including premature birth, Cesarean delivery, and maternal death (24).

However, increasing your potassium intake may lower your blood pressure. For example, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is high in potassium-rich fruits and veggies because of their blood-pressure-lowering effects (25, 26).

If you’re pregnant, eating more potassium-rich foods like nectarines may help ensure a safe and healthy delivery.

Summary

Nectarines may help lower blood pressure due to their potassium content. This may support positive health outcomes among pregnant people.

Nectarines are a smooth-skinned variety of peach that’s packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They’re also low in calories and fat.

Among other benefits, they support iron absorption, boost weight loss, and enhance skin health.

This summertime fruit makes a simple, healthy addition to your diet.