10 Benefits Of Apricots: Fruits In The Nutritional Big League

If you’ve ever walked leisurely through the produce aisles in a grocery store, you may have chanced upon a golden-orange colored peach-like fruit. Apricots are the underdogs of nutritious fruits and with velvety skin and smooth, sweet taste, they are also delicious. And if you’re still skeptical about adding them to your shopping cart, we’ve listed out a few health benefits that might change your mind.

One cup of apricot halves (155 g) pack in:1

  • Calcium: 20 mg (2% DV)
  • Iron: 0.60 mg (3.33% DV)
  • Magnesium: 16 mg (4% DV)
  • Phosphorous: 36 mg (5.14% DV)
  • Potassium: 401 mg (25% DV)
  • Zinc: 0.31 mg (3.8% DV)
  • Vitamin C: 15.5 mg (25.833% DV)
  • Vitamin A (beta-carotene): 0.149 (16.5% DV)
  • Vitamin E: 1.38 mg (9.2% DV)

1. Promotes Heart Health

Consuming apricots regularly can keep your heart healthy. Studies have found that beta-carotene, which acts as an antioxidant, prevents LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) from oxidizing, a process in which LDL cholesterol particles in the body react with free radicals (unstable molecules that are products of metabolism, a disease, or exposure to toxins). Since LDL oxidation is the first step to heart disease, having apricots regularly can help keep heart disorders at bay.2 Besides reducing oxidative stress, beta-carotene also lowers inflammation, which is also vital in preventing cardiovascular disease, especially coronary heart disease.3 4

2. Fights Skin Disorders

Studies have found that the oleic acid, linoleic acid, and vitamin E content of apricot oil fight acne and prevent skin dryness, itchiness, and roughness when applied topically.5 6 Apricot oil may also reduce sun damage and ease eczema (which causes itchy, dry skin).7 8

Apricots

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can be a good defense against skin conditions. Studies have found that regular consumption can aid in the treatment of:

Erythropoietic Protoporphyria

This condition is one of a group of genetic disorders called porphyria, which stem from an inherited deficiency of the enzyme ferrochelatase. Symptoms of this condition include an uncomfortable, painful burning sensation of the skin after sun exposure especially on the tops of the hands and feet, face and ears. You may even develop blisters on these areas of the body. Beta-carotene has been found to reduce sensitivity to sun exposure in people with erythropoietic protoporphyria.9

UV-Induced

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Erythema (Sunburn)

Erythema refers to redness of the skin or mucous membranes and is caused due to increased blood flow in superficial capillaries. When it’s caused due to sun exposure, it refers to a sunburn. Studies have found that consuming beta-carotene for 12 weeks resulted in a reduction of the occurrence of sunburn.10

3. Maintains Gastrointestinal Health

If you tend to suffer from gastrointestinal conditions, include apricots in your diet. Research has found that the fruits can help you fight off the following disorders:

Constipation

Apricots pack in 3.1 g of fiber per cup. This allows more water to remain in your stool and make it softer, larger, and thus, easier to pass through your intestines. Most at-home constipation treatments for children include consuming apricots or apricot juice (albeit, with pulp).11

Atrophic Gastritis

This condition is caused due to chronic inflammation of the stomach mucous membrane (mucosa) and causes unusual weight loss,
vomiting, appetite loss, nausea, iron-deficiency anemia, pain in the stomach, and ulcers. A recent study has found that daily consumption of 3 Japanese apricots inhibits inflammation of the mucosa and fights chronic atrophic gastritis.12

Gastric

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Cancer 

Stomach cancer is caused due to a growth of cancerous cells within the stomach lining. A few studies have found that the fruit juice concentrate of Japanese apricots may suppress the growth of cancerous cells in the stomach. However, further research is required to further validate and understand this finding.13

4. Promotes Bone Health

Apricots contain calcium, phosphorous, and iron. They also contain trace amounts of manganese and copper, 0.03 mg per piece to be precise.14 These minerals contribute to the growth and development of bones and prevent the occurrence of bone disorders including bone fractures, arthritis, and osteoporosis.15

5. Protects Vision

Including apricots in your diet can help you maintain good eyesight and stave off age-related vision deterioration. Studies have found that consuming beta-carotene along with vitamin C, zinc, and copper can prevent age-related advanced macular degeneration. In addition to this, lutein and zeaxanthin in apricots reduce damage caused to the retina due to the dreaded blue light that we gaze into as we look into our phones, watch television, or work on our laptops. This ensures better color and all-around vision well into old age.16 17

6. Maintains Hair Health

The beta-carotene in apricots comes through when it comes to hair health as well. It is converted to vitamin A in the body, which is necessary for cell growth, including hair cells. Deficiency in these can lead to dry, dull, lifeless hair as well as dry skin on the scalp which could cause dandruff. The vitamin B6 in apricots keeps cells from starving, which can cause slow growth or weak hair that’s prone to breaking.18

7. May Promote Fertility

The Chinese were the first to cultivate, what is now seen as, a wild ancestor to the modern-day apricot. Traditionally, apricot was used to enhance fertility. However, there is no research to back this up.19

8. May Relieve Earaches

In traditional medicine, apricot seeds were ground and made into a tonic. This tonic was administered for earaches and deafness. However, there isn’t any modern-day evidence to back this up.20

9.
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Protects Liver

Animal studies have found that consumption of apricots reduced the accumulation of fat in people with fatty liver disease. This could be attributed to its beta-carotene antioxidant content.21 In addition to this, research has found that apricots can speed up recovery after a partial hepatectomy (surgical resection of the liver).22

10. Is A Good Diet Food

With just 133.84 calories per cup, apricots are very diet-friendly. They also contain 3.1 g of fiber per cup, which ensures you stay full for longer. And considering how nutritious they are, you shouldn’t be guilty about snacking on them every now and then.23

Consume Apricots Raw Whenever Possible

Apricots are versatile and can be added to salads, salsa, and smoothies. They can also be sliced into oatmeal, chopped up in pancake batter, placed on top of waffles, added to stews, or mixed into fresh fruit soups, sorbets. You could even add them to a main meal by tossing dried apricots and spinach in to a stuffing for chicken. Or if you’re feeling lazy, have cut up some apricots and have them with a side of greek yogurt. Be sure to avoid consuming too many desserts or jams with apricots. While they may offer you nutrients, they pack on too much fat and sugar.

Apricots Can Be Stored In The Refrigerator For Up To A Week

Since apricots are perishable, only about 10 percent are sold as fresh fruit. The rest are dried, canned, or made into jam. Dried or canned apricots can be substituted for fresh apricots when necessary.

In the United States, the apricot season is from mid-May through mid-August. If you’re confused about which apricots to pick, look for plump, fragrant, firm, juicy-looking ones that give to slight pressure. The color should be golden with a rosy blush. Avoid overly soft, bruised fruit since that will decay quickly. Be sure to eat them as soon as possible or store them in the fridge for up to a week. Avoid washing them until just before eating. If you’ve picked hard apricots, place them in a paper bag to speed up ripening. To freeze them, wash them, halve them, and place them in the freezer on a baking sheet in a single layer until frozen before placing them in a freezer bag. Or opt for dried apricots which can be stored for up to a year.

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