Eating Nectarines When Pregnant: Safety and Benefits

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Written by Gina Wagg BA, Dip.

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Like peaches, nectarines are good fruit choices – but are they safe to eat during pregnancy?

Nectarines are a safe and healthy snack for pregnant women. They contain many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that pregnant mothers need.

If you want to know what health benefits nectarines have and why you might be craving them, keep on reading!

Can Pregnant Women Eat Nectarines?

Nectarines are not only safe for pregnant women but are also excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Nectarines are one of several stone fruits considered low-risk fruits for foodborne diseases (source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health).  

However, when nectarines are contaminated with listeria, the bacteria can survive and grow on the surface, especially if the surface has been bruised or scratched.

Research suggests that commercial fungicides and waxes may not prevent the bacteria from surviving (Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health).  

We recommend buying nectarines that aren’t damaged with bruises or scratches. Pre-cut nectarines should always be refrigerated or kept on ice.

Compared to peaches, nectarines are more delicate and easily bruised and damaged (source: USDA). 

Ripe nectarines in basket on wooden table

Nectarines may be sold either fresh or processed. However, almost all nectarines sold in the U.S. are fresh (source: Fertilizer Research and Education Program). 

Always wash nectarines thoroughly under clean running water. You don’t need to use soap or a commercial produce wash. If you peel or cut them, refrigerate them within two hours (source: CDC). 

If you want to learn more about the best way to clean your fruits and vegetables, read this article here.

Nectarines generally aren’t the best fruits to preserve (source: Purdue Extension). This is why you might have a hard time finding canned nectarines on the shelves in supermarkets, and only really find them fresh.

The Benefits of Nectarines for Pregnant Women 

Nectarines are similar to peaches, but with different nutritional benefits. Fresh nectarines have twice as much vitamin A, more potassium content and fiber, and a little more vitamin C than peaches. They also contain vitamin B3 and copper.

Vitamin B3, or niacin, is in all cells and is involved in many metabolic processes like fatty acid metabolism, glycolysis, and tissue respiration.

Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, immune functions, wound healing, and the formation of collagen. All of these processes are important during pregnancy (source: Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation). 

Copper is helpful during pregnancy as it aids in iron metabolism, heart functions, heart and central nervous formation, and more.

Potassium is an electrolyte that helps counter the effects of too much sodium. High sodium levels can negatively affect blood pressure during pregnancy (source: Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research). 

Like vitamin C, vitamin A helps with immune function. It is also important for vision, cell growth, and the formation of the unborn baby’s spinal cord (Source: Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute). 

Baked nectarines with cinnamon, anise, vanilla and mint

In the U.S., there are two main types of nectarines: white-flesh nectarines and yellow-flesh nectarines. There are no reports regarding nutritional differences between the two.

Nectarines are actually peaches that mutated over time. The two are identical except for one gene that causes peaches to be fuzzy and nectarines to be smooth.

Nectarines have a stronger flavor and aroma than peaches (source: Nutrients). More than 95% of all nectarines available in the U.S. are grown in California (source: USDA).

Like peaches, nectarines can be added to pork or shrimp kebabs, as well as juice, cookies, and other desserts. 

Why Am I Craving Nectarines During Pregnancy?

Craving nectarines during pregnancy is normal and most likely caused by hormonal changes (source: Utah Department of Health). 

Some pregnant moms wonder if giving in to their cravings can cause a higher calorie intake and excessive weight gain. This might be especially concerning if you’re craving sweet food like nectarines and other organic fruit during pregnancy.

However, according to research, cravings don’t seem to affect overall caloric intake. The study of 1,639 women in Ireland also reported that sweet foods are the most common cravings (Source: Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics). 

With this said, it’s still best to stick to recommended daily allowances for pregnant women.

Pregnant women are advised to eat fruit every day. The recommended daily serving for nectarines would be 1 cup of fresh nectarines or ½ cup of dried (source: UC Davis Health System). 

Nectarines are not only safe but are also beneficial for expectant moms. We hope this article has answered all your questions about eating nectarines during pregnancy!