Can you eat nectarine seeds?
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat nectarine seeds?”. We will also elaborate on the possible benefits or uses of these nectarine seeds, and what are the reasons to avoid eating these nectarine seeds.
Can you eat nectarine seeds?
No, you can not eat nectarine seeds. Nectarine seeds are present inside the pit of nectarine. On the crack opening of the nectarine pit, we can find the seeds or almond-like nuts.
These are bitter due to the high containment of cyanide, which is a harmful chemical in its natural form.
What is nectarine?
Nectarine is a fruit that belongs to the species of peach which has a smooth skin texture, the lack of fuzz is due to a single gene. It has decorative pink blossoms and a juicy, sweet drupe fruit. It is categorized as “stone fruit” due to their seed being enclosed in a hard, stone-like endocarp (1). It belongs to the family of Rosaceae, its growth takes place in warmer temperate regions such as both the Southern and Northern hemispheres.
Nectarine is also considered as a genetic variant of peach which is most likely found in China almost 4,000 years ago. It is also a fact that the trees of both the peach and nectarine are not easily differentiated.
Nectarine fruit is enriched with yellow, white, or red flesh which is a source of vitamin C, and A. They are mostly consumed in their fresh form or maybe conserved in different forms such as pies or jams. It is rich in betacarotene and is a good source of fiber when unpeeled. Nectarines are rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and many other nutrients essential for health and its processed products are very low in fat and have no cholesterol (1).
The benefits of Nectarine
Lower the risk of cancer
The phenolic compounds which are present in the nectarine are responsible for lowering the risk of cancerous agents being activated inside the body. These are especially helpful against lowering the proliferation of cancerous cells of the breast.
Studies showed a strong correlation between total phenolics and antioxidant activities.Yellow-flesh fruit had significantly higher amounts of total phenolics than whiteflesh fruits, and so did peel as compared to flesh regardless of the fruit flesh color. The removal of peel from peach resulted in a significant loss of total antioxidant capacity (1).
Help in weight loss
It can also help greatly in the weight loss journey. It is a high source of fiber that makes you feel full for longer, therefore it inhibits overeating and consuming too many other calories.
Whole fruit, such as nectarine, can provide a major source of fermentable fiber to support colon prebiotic activity, which can contribute to a wide range of potential human health benefits, including weight loss. Studies showed that increased intake of total fruits and vegetables was associated with weight loss of 0.3 kg per daily serving during the initial 6-months of the study and continued at a lower rate of 0.04 kg per 6-months for the next 30 months (2).
Beneficial for the skin
Skin is one of the most important body organs that usually relies upon the nutritional content that we consume in our daily routine. Copper, one of the nutrients of nectarine which is capable of cell growth in the dermis layer of our skin. The dermis is the second most layer of our skin.
Copper also protects the skin from environmental factors by supporting the production of collagen and supports skin aging.
Moreover, fibers have a benefic effect in the gut microbiota and since colonic microbiota dysbiosis has been associated with chronic inflammatory skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis, the beneficial effect of increased fruit intake on seborrheic dermatitis may be partially due to the prebiotic effects of fruit fibers such as pectin, which promote a healthy colonic microbiota associated with lower systemic inflammation and better immune function (2).
The dangers of Nectarine pits and seeds
Nectarine is a stone fruit that is delicious as long as you stay away from the nectarine pit which consists of bitter seeds. One of the most hazardous chemicals which is found in the nectarine seeds or pits is amygdalin. But this harmful chemical could not be activated as a harmful agent until it is crushed or chewed after swallowing.
Amygdalin (D-Mandelonitrile 6-O–D-glucosido–D-glucoside) is a naturally occurring disaccharide, a source of HCN, highly concentrated in fruit kernels from Rosaceae species, for example, in bitter almonds, apricot and nectarines. Amygdalin belongs to the cyanogenic glycosides, which are a group of organic chemical compounds composed of sugar(s) and an aglycon containing 1-cyanobenzyl moiety (3).
On chewing or crushing the pit, seeds can only release the amygdalin chemical in the body. This then breaks down into hydrogen cyanide which is unquestionably a poison.
Cyanide consumption up to a level of 703 mg is considered safe by the National Institute of Health’s database. But exceeding this limit can cause harm to our health like in one ounce of peach seeds it is present almost to a level of 204 mg and 200 raw cherry seeds consist of 117 mg of cyanide.
Excessive consumption of seeds may have a negative effect on the body, causing a number of adverse reactions of the following types: diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and in extreme cases may lead to death. Human lethal dose of intravenous injection of amygdalin is 5 g. The adult lethal dose of amygdalin is estimated to be 0.5–3.5 mg/kg body weight (3).
If the nectarine pit or pit from any other fruit like mangoes, peach, cherries is accidentally swollen, it will not be able to cause any harm to the body unless you chew or crush the seeds from that pit.
Children should be learnt to spit these seeds and pit them at an early age. In children, it can be a more severe case of swallowing the seeds than in adults because adults are somehow capable of retaining a high immunity level as compared to children.
But if sometimes, you find your child by swallowing a pit or its seeds, do not create a panic situation remove the seeds or pit from the mouth of the children and clean the mouth with a soft wet wipe then provide some water to drink. Do not force him to vomit or do not make him in a miserable condition of vomiting.
As long as you removed the pit or seeds from his mouth then instantly make a call to the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The treatment which is usually offered by the physicians is the medication that could be ingested.
The best option at that time of emergency is to contact the poison center, which remains open for 24 hours.
In this brief guide, we have provided an answer to the question, “Can you eat nectarine seeds?”. We have also elaborated on the nectarine seeds, the possible benefits and uses of these nectarine seeds, and what are the reasons to avoid eating these nectarine seeds.
- Siddiq, Muhammad, A. Liavaga, and Ibrahim Greiby. Peaches and nectarines. Handbook of fruits and fruit processing, 2012, 535-549.
- Dreher, Mark L. Whole fruits and fruit fiber emerging health effects. Nutrients, 2018, 10, 1833.
- Jaszczak-Wilke, E. et al. Amygdalin: Toxicity, Anticancer Activity and Analytical Procedures for Its Determination in Plant Seeds. Molecules, 2021, 26, 2253.