The peach (Prunus Persica) tree is originally native to the Northwest of China. It gained its name ‘Persica’ after being widely cultivated in Persia (today’s Iran) and from there, spread into Europe. The tree is part of the genus of ‘Prunes’ plants which includes popular fruit varieties such as plum, almond, and apricot. Nectarines (‘nucipersica’ or ‘nectarina’) and peaches come from the same family, the only difference being that nectarines have a smooth skin compared to the fuzzy-hairy skin of peaches. Read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Nectarines!
1. Weight Loss
The fibre present in nectarines is mainly of the soluble kind, which, according to research, can help with weight loss and is more effective than dietary fibre supplements. Basically, fibre converts water into a gel-like substance in your gut that prevents fats and cholesterol getting absorbed into your blood. Research has shown that those who added fibre to their diets lost the same amount of weight as those that following a low fat, heart-healthy diet.
2. Powerful Antioxidants
Nectarines are packed with flavonoids and phenolics which have antioxidant properties. An American research study demonstrated that the antioxidants in this fruit could contribute to DNA damage repair, promote longevity and lessen oxidative damage. (A curious study found that nectarines increase reproduction in female flies, could this affect human fertility rates too? More research is needed to validate this.) Meantime, the vitamins (A and C) present in nectarines help you to maintain healthy skin.
3. Healthy Eyes
Vitamin A found in nectarines is an important nutrient when it comes to your eye and vision health, a deficiency can cause dry eyes and night blindness etc. Fortunately, that’s not the only compound possessed by nectarines, they are also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, plant pigments that could actually help prevent eye diseases in the first place.
4. Improved Digestion
As mentioned above nectarines’ fibre helps digestion, as fibre moves in undigested form through your gastrointestinal tract thereby ensuring regularity. Fibre also acts as a prebiotic providing good bacteria for your gut. These could certainly help in the prevention of stomach and colon cancers (diseases which are unfortunately on the rise worldwide).
5. Potassium Booster
The potassium content of nectarines could help prevent and treat potassium deficiency (hypokalemia) which could cause heart muscle weakness and rhythm disturbances. Potassium helps to regulate the water and acid content within your bodily tissues and these fruits provide about 8% of your RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of potassium.
Personally, nectarines are one of my favourite fruits ever…they are mouthwatering and smell heavenly, depending on the season you’re in and distribution, be sure you get yours in! Into fruits that satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, which ones do it for you? Let us know in the comments below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram. (Check out these other delectable, healthy fruits Dates, Persimmon and Passion and marvel at our planet Earth’s ability to produce all this amazing stuff -gotta be grapeful, right?- and get YOUR Fit ON!)