Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of apricot.
Known for its tangy taste and distinctive apricot color, this nutritious fruit is good for much more than just making jams or baked goods.
With an extensive nutritional profile and a long list of benefits, the apricot is equally rich in both flavor and health benefits, as are apricot seeds.
The apricot is a type of edible fruit that comes from the apricot tree.
It is a member of the genus Prunus, or stone fruit, which also includes plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and almonds.
Apricots are believed to be native to Armenia, China, or Japan, and are now widely grown throughout the world.
Apricots are considered nutrient-dense food and are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
They have also been credited with a wide range of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to treating the eye dry and more.
Plus, they’re super versatile and can be eaten raw or used for baking and cooking, making them a great way to give your diet a healthy update.
Health Benefits of Apricot
1.- Protects the liver
• Besides being the largest internal organ in the human body, the liver is also one of the most important.
• It has a long list of functions, from making proteins that help the blood clot to break down fats for energy.
• Some research suggests that apricot fruit benefits your liver health and may even protect you against liver disease.
• In an animal study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, apricot was able to protect against liver damage, as well as fatty liver, a condition characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver.
• Another animal study in Turkey found that supplementing rats that had part of their liver removed with organic sun-dried apricot helped promote liver regeneration.
• Eating an anti-inflammatory diet, reducing stress levels, and getting more physical activity can also help boost liver function.
2.- High content of antioxidants
• Besides supplying a wide range of important micronutrients, apricots are also loaded with antioxidants.
• Antioxidants are compounds that protect against free radicals and prevent damage to cells.
• They can also reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions like heart disease and cancer.
• Apricots are loaded with carotenoids, a type of pigment with antioxidant properties.
• According to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, apricots are especially high in carotenoids like beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and gamma-carotene.
• In addition to apricots, other fruits, and vegetables, as well as herbs and spices such as turmeric and coriander, they are also antioxidant-rich foods that you can easily incorporate into your diet.
3.- Reduces inflammation
• Inflammation is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a perfectly normal response triggered by the immune system to keep foreign invaders out and protect the body from injury.
• On the other hand, chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on your body and contribute to diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
• Some studies have found that apricots may possess powerful anti-inflammatory properties to help protect against disease.
• Apricot seeds, in particular, are believed to be effective in relieving inflammation.
• In an animal study, giving rats apricot oil extract helped protect against ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease.
4.- Supports intestinal regularity
• Apricots are loaded with fiber, providing about 3.1 grams – or up to 12 percent of your daily needs – in just one cup.
• Fiber moves through the body undigested, helping to add bulk to the stool and prevent constipation.
• A composite analysis of five studies showed that increasing fiber intake helped increase the frequency of bowel movements in patients with constipation.
• Sweet apricot seeds, commonly sold as snacks, can supply even more fiber.
• A 1/4 cup serving contains an estimated five grams of fiber, meeting up to 20 percent of your daily fiber needs.
• Besides apricots, other high-fiber foods that can help relieve constipation include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
5.- Promotes eye health
• Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A. Just one cup of raw apricots can eliminate 60 percent of the vitamin A you need throughout the day, while a cup of dried apricots can almost meet your daily vitamin A needs by themselves.
• Vitamin A plays a central role when it comes to eye health. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to symptoms such as night blindness, dry eyes, and vision loss.
• Besides being rich in vitamin A to boost vision, apricots can benefit eye health in other ways.
A 2016 animal study, for example, showed that topical application of apricot kernel extract helped reduce dry eye by promoting tear fluid production in mice.
Apricot Nutrition Facts
Raw apricots are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, as well as several other important micronutrients.
They also contain a good amount of carbohydrates, and most of the calories in apricot come from carbohydrates rather than fat or protein.
One cup of raw apricot halves contains approximately:
• 4 calories
• 4 grams of carbohydrates
• 2.2 grams of protein
• 6 grams of fat
• 1 grams of fiber
• 2,985 international units of vitamin A (60 percent DV)
• 5 milligrams of vitamin C (26 percent DV)
• 401 milligrams potassium (11 percent DV)
• 4 milligrams vitamin E (7 percent DV)
• 1 micrograms of vitamin K (6 percent DV)
• 1-milligram copper (6 percent DV)
• 1-milligram manganese (6 percent DV)
• 9 milligrams niacin (5 percent DV)
In addition to the nutrients mentioned above, apricot also contains riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and phosphorus.
The nutritional profile of dried apricots varies somewhat.
Dried apricots contain more than four times more calories and carbohydrates, but they also provide a more concentrated amount of fiber, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin E, and other micronutrients.
A cup of dried apricot fruit contains approximately:
• 313 calories
• 4 grams of carbohydrates
• 4.4 grams of protein
• 7 grams of fat
• 5 grams of fiber
• 4,686 international units of vitamin A (94 percent DV)
• 1,511 grams potassium (43 percent DV)
• 6 milligrams of vitamin E (28 percent DV)
• 4 milligrams copper (22 percent DV)
• 5 milligrams iron (19 percent DV)
• 4 milligrams niacin (17 percent DV)
• 3 milligrams manganese (15 percent DV)
• 6 milligrams magnesium (10 percent DV)
• 2 milligrams vitamin B6 (9 percent DV)
• 3 milligrams phosphorus (9 percent DV)
Also, dried apricots contain some pantothenic acid, calcium, selenium, vitamin K, and riboflavin.
Apricot vs. Peach
It is easy to confuse apricots and peaches. Not only do they belong to the same family of fruits, but they share quite a few similarities in both their appearance and the nutrients they provide.
Apricots are smaller than peaches and have fluffy yellowish and orange flesh.
Peaches, on the other hand, are slightly larger, can range in color from white to bright yellow or red, and like apricots are covered in fine hairs.
Apricots tend to taste a bit more tart which is a great addition to baked goods and desserts.
From a nutritional point of view, the two fruits are very similar, with some minor differences.
Gram for gram, apricots are slightly higher in calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.
Apricots also contain more vitamin A and vitamin C, although both contain comparable amounts of other micronutrients, such as vitamin E and vitamin K.
That said, both are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and including a few servings of each can be a healthy and nutritious way to give your diet a boost.
How to eat an apricot
Apricots are easy to enjoy and full of flavor. If it’s eaten raw, just wash it off and feel free to eat all the fruit, the skin, and everything.
You can use a spoon to help gently scoop out the large pit, or apricot kernels, that are in the middle of the fruit.
For a simple and healthy treat, try adding an apricot to a bowl of Greek yogurt or even use it to complete your next bowl of cold oatmeal or cereal.
Alternatively, try using fresh or dried apricots in your cooking and baking recipes to increase both the flavor and nutritional profile of your dishes.
Apricot Recipes and Uses
If you’re feeling a bit creative, there are many ways to enjoy apricots other than chewing on the whole fruit.
Some of the most common ways to use apricots include making apricot baked goods and candies, as well as salads, sauces, and even meat dishes.
Also, instead of going for store-bought dried apricots, you can even try drying them at home.
Just use a dehydrator or pop them in the oven, bake on the lowest setting for 10-12 hours, and enjoy.
From sweets that use dried apricot to main dishes that use it to add a touch of sweetness, the possibilities are endless. Here are some ideas for fresh and dried apricots recipes:
• Easy Apricot Chicken
• Low sugar apricot jam
• Chicken Salad with Basil and Apricot
• No-Bake Apricot, Almond & Coconut Energy Bars
• Apricot Almond Butter Oatmeal Overnight
The apricot history remains controversial. Due to its scientific name, Prunus armeniaca – or Armenian plum – as well as its long history of cultivation in Armenia, many people believe that it originated there.
Others argue that it was first found in China or India thousands of years ago.
Regardless of their true origins, apricots have been a staple food in many cultures around the world for centuries.
The Egyptians, for example, commonly used apricots to make a traditional juice, while English settlers used apricot oil in the 17th century to reduce inflammation and treat tumors.
Today, most of the commercial apricot production in the United States takes place on the West Coast.
Almost all of the apricots come from California and a smaller amount comes from Washington and Utah. Globally, Uzbekistan produces the most apricots, followed by Turkey, Iran, and Italy.
• Although apricot seeds are often enjoyed as a sweet snack, bitter apricot seeds can contain a large amount of amygdalin, a compound that can raise cyanide levels when consumed in excess.
If you eat apricot seeds, be sure to go for the sweet variety to avoid potential toxicity.
• Additionally, while dried apricots are high in beneficial nutrients, they are also high in carbohydrates and calories, which can lead to weight gain and increased blood sugar.
Keep your consumption in moderation and look for fresh apricots whenever possible to avoid overdoing it.
• Some people may also experience food allergy symptoms after eating apricots.
If you suspect that you may have an allergy to apricots or have any adverse side effects after eating them, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.
• Apricots are stone fruit and are closely related to plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines, and almonds.
• Raw apricots are low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
Dried apricot nutrition, on the other hand, contains a higher concentration of calories, carbohydrates, fiber, and micronutrients.
• Apricot is also loaded with antioxidants and has been shown to reduce inflammation, support regularity, protect the liver, and promote eye health.
• Due to their tangy taste, apricots are incredibly versatile. They are a suitable complement to both sweet and savory dishes and can be used in bakery products, main dishes, jams, and sauces.
• Enjoy the apricot in combination with a healthy and balanced diet to take full advantage of the multitude of health benefits it can bring.