Health benefits of Apricot
What is apricot?
Apricots are small fruits that look like small peaches and have a pleasant sourness. The skin has a very light fuzzy feel and is pale orange to dark saffron, often with a pink or red faint blush on the cheeks. Like most fruits, they are packed with vitamins and minerals, making them a great addition to a healthy diet. This article discusses apricots’ potential health benefits, reviews their nutritional value and precautions, and suggests ways to add this fruit to their diet.
Facts about apricot
- It belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae).
- Along with other fruits such as peaches, plums, cherries, and mangoes, apricots are called stone fruits or drupes. Their name comes from the pit, a large central seed surrounded by a fleshy outer region.
- Bitter apricot kernels are claimed to have anti-cancer effects and are taken by several cancer patients as a remedy, disregarding their toxicity.
- Drupes tend to have thin skin and may be velvety or smooth.
- Apricots can only become ripe when left on the tree. Once harvested, they could get softer with time but only become tastier once they mature on the tree.
- According to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Turkey and Uzbekistan are the world’s largest apricot producers, with 833,398 and 529,109 tons produced in 2020, respectively.
Nutritional value of apricot
One apricot of 35 grams contains :
- Energy – 16.8 kcal
- Water – 30.2 g
- Protein – 0.49 g
- Carbohydrates – 3.89 g
- Sugars – 3.23 g
- Fat – 0.14 g
- Fiber – 0.7 g
- Iron – 0.14 mg
- Calcium – 4.55 mg
- Potassium – 90.6 mg
- Sodium – 0.35 mg
- Phosphorus – 8.05 mg
- Magnesium – 3.5 mg
- Copper – 0.03 mg
- Zinc – 0.07 mg
- Selenium – 0.04 mcg
Vitamins and antioxidants
- Vitamin C – 3.5 mg
- Vitamin E – 0.31 mg
- Niacin – 0.21 mg
- Riboflavin – 0.01 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.02 mg
- Thiamine – 0.01 mg
- Beta-carotene – 383 mcg
- Vitamin A – 33.6 mcg
- Vitamin K – 1.16 mcg
What makes it highly nutritious?
Apricot is considered a golden fruit due to its nutritional and medicinal valueand may contain high concentrations of the following elements :
- Carotenoids – like β-carotene, lycopene, γ-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, phytoene, lutein, and phytofluene.
- Flavonoids – like glycoside rutin, quercetin, vanillin, and resveratrol.
- Phenolics – the main phenolics are chlorogenic, gallic, ferulic, caffeic, 4-aminobenzoic, pro catechin, salicylic, and p-coumaric acid.
- Antioxidants – like β-carotene, vitamins A, C, and E.
Health benefits of apricot
Apricots, being a great source of vitamins like A and C, are also very low in calories and fat and may have the following health benefits :
- Antioxidant property – helps reduce oxidative stress, strengthen the immune system, protect against age-related macular degeneration, and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
- Hydrates people – a cup or 165 g of fresh and sliced apricots contains almost two-thirds or 142 ml of water. Because most individuals do not consume sufficient fluids, eating fresh fruit might help them meet their daily requirements.
- Reduces the risk of stroke – as they are high in potassium, which decreases blood pressure and the risk of stroke.
- Protects eyes – as they are a great source of beta carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and vitamins E and C, which all help to protect the eyes from damage due to aging.
- Protects skin – since they are naturally strong in antioxidants like vitamins C, E, and A, they neutralize free radicals, protecting the skin against any environmental damage like pollution, sunlight, and cigarette smoke, minimizing the incidence of wrinkles and sunburn. ,
- Maintains cholesterol levels and blood sugar – They are rich in soluble fibers that stabilize blood sugar levels by lowering blood cholesterol and aiding in weight loss.
- Prevents constipation – as they are a good source of soluble fiber, which feeds the healthy gut bacteria, boosts digestive health, and prevents constipation. ,
- Helps in cancer treatment – Amygdalin is a cyanide glycoside derived from the apricot kernel or pit that has an anti-cancer effect in human colon cancer cells and could be employed as a therapeutic anti-cancer treatment.
How to choose them to eat
- Pick apricots that are brightly colored and free of any greenish tinge.
- Ripe apricots may yield under pressure, but they should not be mushy.
- Dried apricots are usually treated with sulfur dioxide gas or sulfites to keep their vivid orange color.
- Apricots not treated with sulfur are dark brown and are a better alternative for those sensitive to sulfur.
- Apricots, like any tree fruit, especially soft stone fruits, can be challenging to grow organically.
- Apricot trees frequently receive heavy spraying.
- To reduce exposure to hazardous inputs while purchasing apricots seek out organic or growers who use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques.
- Apricots are an item of versatility that may be used in sweet and savory dishes.
- Apricot pits or kernels are tasty but dangerous because they contain amygdalin, which the human body converts to cyanide. It has the potential to be poisonous.
- These pits are also occasionally swallowed, but no more than two little apricot kernels or half of a large apricot kernel should be consumed daily.
- Consuming more significant amounts is risky. Amygdalin can be found in apricot kernels.
- The body converts this chemical to cyanide.
- Side effects of cyanide could include nausea, headache, vomiting, dizziness, abdominal cramps, mental confusion, weakness, seizures, breathing difficulty, heart attack, coma, and, in rare cases, death.
Apricots are tasty fruits high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They are available and can be eaten by fresh or dried people, as both are nutritious. The fruit’s nutritional value is not reduced by freezing or preserving it. To retain the fruit as a healthy addition to the diet, folks should search for canned fruit in water rather than sugary syrups. People can eat them alone or incorporate them into their favorite food like yogurt, salads, and other dishes. Their nutritional content and health advantages make them an excellent supplement to a nutritious, well-balanced diet.