Nectarines are similar to peaches but have a smooth skin. Eating nectarines is a healthy way to include many vitamins and minerals in your diet, and a medium-sized nectarine only has 60 calories. Choose a firm nectarine for a nutritious snack, or serve them sliced with a drizzle of honey for a nutrient-packed dessert. However you add nectarines to your diet, you will be doing something to benefit the quality of your health.
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Fruits and vegetables with bright red, orange and yellow colors often contain a good amount of beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that turns into vitamin A in the body. If you do not consume enough beta-carotene, you may become deficient in vitamin A, which can lead to abnormal bone development, reproductive disorders and, in severe cases, death. Beta-carotene also supports healthy eyes and may prevent diseases like macular degeneration. One cup of fresh nectarines supplies 214 mcg of beta-carotene.
The vitamin C in fruits and vegetables, including nectarines, is considered an important antioxidant that helps promote good health and may also have the power to protect your body from certain illnesses and diseases. California Peaches, Plums and Nectarines reports that the vitamin C in nectarines may protect molecules from being damaged by free radicals and other chemicals that cause cellular changes. Vitamin C may also protect you from toxins and pollutants that cause illness. One cup of nectarines has 7.7 mg of this important antioxidant.
Lutein is a nutrient that has been receiving more attention because of its health-protective benefits. According to the Lutein Information Board, your body uses lutein to support healthy eyes and skin. Lutein is also considered an important antioxidant because it helps destroy the presence of free radicals in your body, which may decrease your risk of chronic diseases like cancer. Most humans do not get enough lutein in their diet, but adding nectarines can help you increase how much you consume. A 1-cup serving of fresh nectarines contains 186 mcg of lutein.
Other Important Nutrients
In addition to the most significant nutrients that nectarines offer, they also supply a wide range of other vitamins and minerals you need to eat each day. A 1-cup serving of nectarines supplies 2.4 g of fiber and 1.5 g of protein. A serving of nectarine will also provide 9 mg of calcium, 13 mg of magnesium and 287 mg of potassium. Nectarines also contain iron, folic acid, vitamin K, as well as naturally occurring sugars that help provide energy.