10 Amazing Health Benefits of Apricot- Uses, Nutrition and More

 

“The flavours of the peach and the apricot are not lost from generation to generation, neither are they transmitted by book learning.”  ~ Ezra Pound

 

Apricot is one of the most versatile fruits that has a unique taste. It is sweet and tangy and has a pulpy interior. Apricots are among the healthiest fruits which provide us with a wide range of health benefits. It purifies our blood and also improves our skin. They can be eaten both raw and ripe and are added to many desserts as well. Apricots have a lot of fibre and are packed with nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and are devoid of fat and cholesterol.

Quoting Ezra Pound, “The flavours of the peach and the apricot are not lost from generation to generation, neither are they transmitted by book learning,” shows how the flavour of apricot has been distinctive for a very long time.

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Useful Information About Apricot

  • Apricot, whose scientific name is Prunus Armeciaca, is a nutritious fruit which belongs to the Rosacea family.
  • It is believed to have originated in Armenia.
  • Apricots have been cultivated in India for more than 3000 years now.
  • It is a small, orange coloured fruit with a soft flesh and a thin skin. The skin has a slightly hairy texture.
  • Apricot fruit can be eaten without being peeled.
  • Apricots are typically yellow or orange in colour with a slight red tinge on one side. Its taste is sweet and tangy and the seed is enclosed in a hard shell.
  • The apricot trees are small, around 8-12 metres, and they grow in a tropical continental climate or Mediterranean regions where the winters are especially cold.

Benefits of Apricot

1. Helps in Blood Purification

According to a 2016 study titled “Blood plasma levels of anterior pituitary hormones of rabbits after apricot seed exposure” published in Journal of Central European Agriculture, it has been scientifically proven that apricots help in purifying the blood. Apricots are rich in vitamins and minerals that help purify your blood from toxins. It prevents the onset of several diseases like cold, cough and fever. These have iron which is very important in the formation of hemoglobin and copper which aids in iron absorption. Consume apricots on a regular basis twice a day as your morning and evening snack to boost your immune system.

2. Improves the Digestive System

An apricot is rich in dietary fibre that swells in the intestinal tract to relieve you from constipation. It helps stimulate gastric and digestive juices which makes it easier to break down the food and absorb nutrients. It regulates bowel movements and improves your digestive system. Fibre also triggers the peristaltic movement of the digestive tract, further calming the stomach muscles for smooth and quick bowel movements. A study titled “The significance of apricot in human health and nutrition” published in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Journal proves this fact.

3. Great for Losing Weight

The dietary fibre in apricot increases your metabolism which helps to improve the digestive system. Have apricots when you feel hungry while on a diet because it fills you up but doesn’t add unnecessary calories. According to a study published in Molecular Metabolism journal, brain cells called tanycytes detect nutrients in food and help control appetite. Apricot stimulates these cells and also retains water in the body which makes you feel fuller for a longer duration.

4. Promotes Eye Health

A journal of Annals. Food Science and Technology 2015 titled “Apricot: Nutritional Potentials and Health Benefits- a Review” states that the abundance of Vitamin A in apricots helps reduce the risk of eye problems and keeps the vision healthy. The high beta-carotene levels present in apricots enhance the blood flow to the eyes which reverses age-related macular degeneration. It comprises of an antioxidant known as Zeaxanthin, which offers light filtering functions, further improving your eyesight.

5. Boosts Immune System

The “Measurement of Fructose-Asparagine Concentrations in Human and Animal Foods” journal states that an apricot is quite efficient in boosting your immunity. The anti-inflammatory properties and the anti-oxidants present in apricots enhance the immune system, thereby making the body stronger and fitter to fight against common diseases.

6. Makes the Skin Radiant

Apricots give amazing results on skin. The combination of Vitamin C, A, and phytonutrients ensures that your skin looks and feels great. The antioxidants in the apricot also slow the ageing process. Apricot kernels are ground and used in scrubs to remove dead cells and renew your skin. Its exfoliating action helps get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot oil help to treat acne and skin redness. The flesh of apricot is particularly beneficial for treating acne-prone skin.

7. Strengthens Bones

Apricots are rich in calcium and phosphorous that provide the much-needed strength to your bones. It relieves you from arthritis pain and also from pain caused due to the weakening of bones. Apricots help in preventing various diseases caused by the deficiency of calcium. This is one of the many apricot benefits.

8. Treats Anemia

Apricots are rich in iron which is extremely essential in increasing the hemoglobin levels in your body. Therefore, they are a great way to treat anemia. Include apricots in your daily diet and you will see a remarkable difference in your hemoglobin levels.

9. Good For Your Heart

Apricots have anti-oxidation and anti-inflammatory properties that keep your heart healthy. It prevents cholesterol from forming a layer in your arteries. Apricots reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes. You can add apricots to any savoury dish of your choice or you can add those to your morning breakfast.


Nutritional Value of Apricot

Here is the nutritional value of Apricot (per 100 grams):

Principle Nutrient Value
Energy 50 Kcal
Total Fat 11 g
Carbohydrates 1.4 g
Protein 0.4 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Folates 9 g
Niacin 0.600 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.240 mg
Pyridoxine 0.054 mg
Riboflavin 0.040 mg
Thiamine 0.030 mg
Vitamin A 1 mg
Vitamin C 10 mg
Vitamin K 3.3 mg
Vitamin E 0
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 249 mg
Calcium 13 mg
Iron 0.39 mg
Phosphorous 23 mg

Source: USDA National Nutrient data base


Risks And Precautions When Consuming Apricots

The tip of the apricot holds a concentrated amount of a chemical called ‘laetrile’, which can be upsetting to the system. To safely reap the benefits of apricot kernels or seeds, remove the tips of the seeds and do not eat more than five a day. One of the rare plants that contain cyanide happen to be apricot pits.

Apricots have a certain amount of sugar in them, especially the dried apricots. If you are a diabetic, then please consult your doctor before consuming it.


How To Consume Apricots?

You should never buy an apricot which is hard or green in colour as it will never develop its full taste. Pick apricots that are soft to touch and do not store them. Have them as soon as possible. Those apricots which still need a day or two to ripen are firm, plump and golden-orange in colour. There are many apricot uses ranging from direct consumption to including them in recipes. Here are a few simple recipes that you can try with apricots.

  • Mix Apricot with yogurt to make a healthy morning snack.
  • Add it to your salad.
  • Add apricots with brown sugar to cranberry juice.
  • Blend apricots with milk or yogurt and enjoy an apricot smoothie.
  • Slice it and dress it on French toast or waffles.
  • Add apricots to orange juice and freeze it to make a healthy orange candy.

Some Fun Facts About Apricots

  1. California produces about 95% of the total apricots in the U.S.
  2. Apricots belong to the Rose family.
  3. Apricot trees produce fruit for 20-25 years.
  4. Apricots are relatives of the peach family.
  5. Egyptians usually dry apricots, add sweetener, and then use them to make a drink called Amar al-dīn.
  6. All continents except Antarctica cultivate apricots now.
  7. One apricot has only 17 calories.

With all the benefits and nutritional value, apricots are one of the most popular and widely eaten fruits. They are really good for your skin which is the reason why so many cosmetics brands include apricots in their products. They quickly recover the hemoglobin percentage in your body, making you fit and strong. Apricots must be a part of our daily diet as it can help us in innumerable ways.

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