Nectarine vs. Apricot — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison
Both apricots and nectarines are healthy fruits packed with various minerals and vitamins.
Apricots contain almost 6 times more vitamin A and 2 times more vitamin C. When it comes to minerals, nectarines have slightly higher amounts of copper and phosphorus, while apricots have slightly higher amounts of potassium and iron.
Both of these fruits have a wide range of health benefits.
Table of contents
Both being members of the Rosaceae family, apricots and nectarines have a lot of similarities. These juicy summertime fruits are high in vitamins, carbohydrates, and minerals.
On the other hand, apricots and nectarines differ in nutrient content. This article will discuss the general and nutritional differences as well as the health impacts of these highly nutritious fruits.
Appearance, Taste, and Smell
The two fruits come from the same family (Rosaceae), so they have a lot in common. They differ, however, in terms of scent, color, and appearance.
Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are known for their silky skin and sweet, soft scent. They usually are orange or yellow, with a red tint on occasion.
The flash on nectarines (Prunus persica var. nucipersica) is red, yellow, or white. They are larger than apricots, but their skin is not fuzzy. This is because the recessive allele is expressed in nectarine, which is responsible for its soft skin (1). The smell of nectarine is sweet, juicy, and peachy.
The usual serving of nectarines and apples is about one cup, sliced, which is equivalent to around 140 grams of nectarines and 165 grams of apricots.
To make the comparison easier, we will be comparing 100-gram servings of each.
Macronutrients and Calories
As can be seen from the macronutrient composition charts below, apricots and nectarines have similar macronutrient compositions. Just like most fruits and vegetables, both apricots and nectarines consist mostly of water.
Apricots and nectarines are both low-calorie foods with similar amounts of calories.
Per 100-gram serving, there are 48 calories in apricots and 44 calories in nectarines.
Fruits are generally not considered protein sources, but they contain some. Nectarines provide slightly less protein than apricots. They contain 1.1g of it per 100g of fruit, compared to 1.4g in apricots.
Apricots have slightly more carbs than nectarines. Apricots have 11.1g of carbohydrates per 100g, while nectarines have 10.5g.
Furthermore, nectarines have fewer sugars than apricots. They contain less sucrose and glucose but more fructose.
The dried alternative of apricot has nearly 6 times more carbs than the fresh fruit.
Apricots are high in both forms of fiber, but especially soluble fibers, which help maintain healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
The fiber level of apricots is slightly higher than that of nectarines. They have 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams of fruit, compared with 1.7 grams in nectarines.
Net carbs are the carbohydrates in food used to make energy. Subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbs in the dish to get at this amount.
Let us see how many net carbohydrates each of these fruits have. Apricots provide 11.1 grams of carbs with 2 grams of fiber. On the other hand, nectarines provide 10.5 grams of carbohydrates and 1.7 grams of fiber per serving. Apricots have 9.1 grams of net carbs, whereas peaches have 8.8 grams. Thus, they have similar amounts of net carbs, but nectarines have slightly lower net carb content.
Lipids are not found in apricots or nectarines in considerable quantities. Apricots have 0.39 grams of fat per 100 grams of fruit, whereas nectarines have 0.32 grams. The two fruits are equal in cholesterol content: they do not contain a significant amount of it.
If we explore the small amounts of fats in these foods, we can see that most of the fats found in apricots are monounsaturated fats, while most fats found in nectarines are polyunsaturated fats.
Fat Type Comparison
Vitamins are nutrients that the human body cannot synthesize, but their intake is essential. Vitamins are abundant in apricots and nectarines.
Although both fruits have various amounts of many vitamins, apricots seem to be the winner in this category. They contain almost 6 times more vitamin A and 2 times more vitamin C.
Per 100 grams of apricots, there are 10mg of vitamin C. Dried apricots' vitamin C content is significantly lower: it provides 1mg of vitamin C per 100 grams of the fruit.
Apricots are also richer in vitamins E, K, B2, B5, and B6, while nectarines have more vitamins B1 and B3, although the amount of all these vitamins is relatively low when put in the context of daily needs.
Both apricots and nectarines also have some amounts of various minerals; the predominant minerals found in both are copper and potassium.
Nectarines have slightly higher amounts of copper and phosphorus, while apricots have slightly higher amounts of potassium and iron.
The glycemic index is a rating system used for foods containing carbohydrates.
The glycemic index of apricots is 34, while for nectarines, it is 43, both of which are considered low values.
One way to understand the acidity of foods is through their potential renal acid load (PRAL) value, which shows how much acid or base the given food produces inside the organism.
Based on our calculations, the PRAL values of nectarines and apricots are -3.1 and -4.3, respectively, which means that both are alkaline.
Regularly using apricots and nectarines may certainly boost cardiovascular health. They both produce a significant number of chemicals that aid in maintaining a healthy heart.
For example, polyphenols found in apricots may potentially aid in reducing cardiovascular risks in the body (2).
Nectarines may help prevent anemia. This is a severe condition that results from a lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin (3). If nectarine eating is paired with the consumption of iron-rich food, it reduces anemia risks. This is due to vitamin C in nectarines converting iron into a more absorbable form (4).
Toxic free radicals can cause oxidative stress and harm to all cells. Thus, antioxidants help to neutralize them (5). As a result, oxidative stress may contribute to cardiovascular disease (6), obesity (7), and Alzheimer's disease. Apricots and nectarines are both high in antioxidants. These two fruits play a similar role in the body's antioxidant defense.
A high flavonoid intake can assist in the reduction of oxidative stress. Vitamin A can also eliminate thiyl radicals and stabilize peroxyl radicals, which are detrimental to the organism when present in excessive amounts (8). The chemicals described above are synthesized in apricots.
Flavonoids and anthocyanins are compounds in nectarines that contribute to the fruit's flavor, scent, and appearance (9). Flavonoids help prevent age-related brain damage, whereas anthocyanins help reduce the risk of inflammation and heart disease (10).
Both nectarines and apricots play a role in cancer prevention. On the other hand, more research is required to claim the effects described here.
The apricot kernel contains a chemical called amygdalin. It is an anticancer agent that induces apoptosis and blocks the cell cycle in cancer cells (11). However, no controlled clinical trials have been conducted to prove this theory, and amygdalin is not an approved cancer treatment (12). Amygdalin should not be used with extra vitamin C. This combination causes cyanide intoxication and reduces cysteine levels, which usually detoxifies cyanide (13).
Nectarines are engaged in cancer treatment due to their antioxidant action, though further research is needed to confirm this. According to several studies, nectarines' polyphenols are involved in cancer prevention (14). Men who eat these fruits have a lower risk of lung cancer (15).
These two fruits are good choices for people with diabetes. Apricots help to regulate sugar levels by having a low glycemic index. Nectarines are involved in maintaining blood glucose levels with the antioxidants they provide.
Apricots have a low glycemic index, which is beneficial for blood sugar regulation. Dried apricots also have a low GI, equal to 30, which is lower than the GI calculated for fresh apricots. This suggests that both types of fruit are suitable for people with diabetes. Apricots can assist patients with type 2 diabetes by lowering their blood sugar levels (16). Some studies indicate that apricot fiber can slow digestion, limiting glucose release into the bloodstream and improving insulin sensitivity.
Catechins, anthocyanins, chlorogenic acids, and quercetins are the four major phenolic groups found in nectarines. These phenolic compounds have anti-inflammatory and anti-obesity properties (17).
Apricots and peaches both include nutrients that aid in maintaining skin health. However, they perform this role with the help of different substances that they synthesize.
Apricots are high in vitamin C, which aids in the synthesis of collagen, the protein that gives the skin its elasticity and strength (18). We can avoid sunburn by absorbing beta-carotene from apricots (19). Apricots include vitamins and carotenoids that can help prevent wrinkles. Wrinkles are caused by the sun, cigarette smoke, and pollution (20).
Because of their copper concentration, nectarines can help with skin health. This mineral promotes the growth of the dermis, the second layer of skin. Collagen synthesis is also aided by it (21). Vitamin B3 is also found in nectarines, which helps to protect skin cells from the sun's rays (22).
- Peaches, plums, nectarines give obesity, diabetes slim chance
Carbohydrate type comparison
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Lower in price||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||17µg||96µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet|
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Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.
- Nectarine - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169914/nutrients
- Apricot - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171697/nutrients
All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.