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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.
The Difference Between Peaches and Nectarines
The main physical difference is that peaches have a fuzzy coating, whereas nectarines are smooth and do not have this coating. They are almost identical genetically, but there is a gene variant between the two.
Peaches have a dominant allele ( the pit fall's variant form of a gene), which results in the soft, fuzzy coating on the outside. They can be freestone, which pitfalls easily away from the flesh, or clingstone, where the pits stay stuck to the flesh. Peaches can come in yellow or white varieties.
In Season: Nectarines and other stone fruits are in season during the summer months and reach their peak in July and August.
How to choose: Look for fragrant nectarines with taut skin. Avoid those with wrinkles and bruises. They should have some give when gently pressed; handle carefully, and carry no more than four per bag.
How to Store: Although best enjoyed without delay, ripe stone fruits can be refrigerated for three to five days. Leave firmer ones at room temperature to ripen.
Juicy, delicious nectarines are low in calories (100 g just provide 44 calories) and contain no saturated fats. They are indeed packed with numerous health promoting antioxidants, plant nutrients, minerals, and vitamins.
The total measured antioxidant strength (ORAC value) of 100 g raw nectarine fruit is 750 TE (Trolox equivalents).
Fresh nectarines carry small amounts of vitamin-C. 100 g provides 5.4 mg or about 9% of daily recommended levels. Vitamin-C has antioxidant effects and required for the connective tissue formation within the human body. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, and help scavenges harmful free radicals.
Nectarines have small but healthy concentrations of other anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, vitamin E and flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin and ß-cryptoxanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Further, vitamin-A is also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A is known to offer protection from lung and oral cavity cancers.