Known for its mild and at the same time tart aroma and juicy yellow-orange color, this nutritious fruit is good not only for enjoying its taste, but also for healing the body. With an extensive nutrient profile and a long list of beneficial benefits, apricot is equally rich in both taste and health-improving properties – just like apricot kernels.
Apricot is an edible fruit that grows on an apricot tree of the genus Prunus. “Relatives” of apricot are plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines and almonds. It is believed that initially apricot trees grew on the territory of Armenia, China and Japan. At the moment, apricots are widely cultivated throughout the world.
Apricots are considered nutritious and dense foods, they contain few calories, a lot of fiber and vitamins, especially A and C. They are also credited with a wide range of healthy properties: from reducing inflammation to treating dry eyes. In addition, apricots are super versatile and can be eaten raw or used for baking and cooking other dishes, which makes them a great way to enrich your diet.
The following questions will be considered in the article: the nutritional value of apricot, the benefits and harms to the health of men and women. We will also look at a few basic facts from the history of apricot cultivation and compare this fruit with another peach- like fruit .
The nutritional value of apricots
Raw apricots are low in calories and high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, as well as several other important micronutrients. They also contain large amounts of carbohydrates, with most of the calories from apricot coming from carbohydrates, not from fat or protein.
One ripe apricot (150 gr.) Contains approximately:
Calories : 74.4 kcal
Carbohydrates : 17.4 g
Protein : 2.2 gr.
Fat : 0.6 gr.
Fiber : 3.1 gr.
Vitamin A : 2985 IU (60%)
Vitamin C : 15.5 mg (26%)
Potassium : 401 mg (11%)
Vitamin E : 1.4 mg (7%)
Vitamin K : 5.1 mcg (6%)
Copper : 0.1 mg (6%)
Manganese : 0.1 mg (6%)
Niacin : 0.9 mg (5%)
In addition to the above nutrients, apricot also contains a certain amount of riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium and phosphorus.
The nutrient profile of dried apricots (dried apricots) varies slightly. Dried apricots contains four times more calories and carbohydrates, but also provides a more concentrated amount of fiber, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin E and other trace elements.
One cup of dried apricots (150 gr.) Contains approximately:
Calories : 313 kcal
Carbohydrates : 81.4 gr.
Protein : 4.4 gr.
Fat : 0.7 gr.
Fiber : 9.5 gr.
Vitamin A : 4686 IU (94%)
Potassium : 1.511 gr. (43%)
Vitamin E : 5.6 mg (28%)
Copper : 0.4 mg (22%)
Iron : 3.5 mg (19%)
Niacin : 3.4 mg (17%)
Manganese : 0.3 mg (15%)
Magnesium : 41.6 mg (10%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.2 mg (9%)
Phosphorus : 92.3 mg (9%)
In addition, dried apricots contain a certain amount of pantothenic acid, calcium, selenium, vitamin K and riboflavin.
Health Benefits of Apricot
We single out the 5 most important beneficial properties of apricot for the human body.
1. Apricot protects the liver
Besides the fact that the liver is the largest internal organ in the human body, it is also one of the most important organs. The liver has a long list of functions, from the production of proteins that help blood coagulation to break down fats for energy production to cleanse the blood of metabolites and toxins.
Some studies show that apricot fruits benefit the health of your liver and may even protect against liver diseases.
In one animal study published in the British Journal of Nutrition , the use of apricot helped strengthen the protective functions of the liver and prevent the development of fatty hepatosis, a condition characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver ( 1 ). Another animal study in Turkey showed that in rats with a removed part of the liver that fed on sun-dried apricots, the process of organ regeneration went quite quickly ( 2 ).
Note that for liver health, doctors also recommend following an anti-inflammatory diet, reducing stress levels and increasing physical activity.
2. Apricot contains a lot of antioxidants
In addition to a large number of important trace elements, apricots are also filled with antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that protect against free radicals and prevent cell damage. They can also reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.
Especially in apricots carotenoids, such as pigment with antioxidant properties. According to one study published in the journal Agricultural and Food Chemistry, apricots contain the following carotenoids: beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, and gamma-carotene ( 3 ).
In addition to apricots, large amounts of antioxidants are found in foods such as blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, raspberries, cabbage and legumes, which you can easily incorporate into your diet.
3. Apricot reduces inflammation
Inflammation is not necessarily a bad reaction in the body. In fact, inflammation is a perfectly normal response, triggered by the immune system, to restrain the onslaught of harmful bacteria and viruses or to protect the body from injury. At the same time, a chronic inflammatory process can harm your body and contribute to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Some studies have found that apricots can have powerful anti-inflammatory properties to protect against diseases. Apricot kernels, in particular, are considered effective in relieving inflammation. In one animal study, rats were given apricot oil, which helped cure rats of ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease ( 4 ).
Other anti-inflammatory products include leafy green vegetables, beets , broccoli, blueberries and pineapple.
4. Supports regular bowel movement
Apricots contain a lot of fiber, providing about 3.1 grams. or up to 12% of the daily need for just one fruit.
Dietary fiber moves through the digestive tract in an undigested form, helping to add mass to the stool and prevent constipation. One analysis, consisting of five studies, showed that an increase in fiber intake contributed to an increase in stool frequency in patients with constipation ( 5 ).
Apricot kernels, which are commonly sold as a snack, are a source of even more fiber. In 1/4-part of the bone contains approximately 5 grams. dietary fiber, which corresponds to 20% of daily 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. Only one cup of raw apricots can provide you with 60% of the daily intake of vitamin A, and a cup of dried apricots (dried apricots) can almost completely satisfy your daily requirements for this vitamin.
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 loss of vision.
In addition to vitamin A-rich foods that improve vision, apricots can benefit eye health in other ways. For example, an animal study in 2016 showed that the use of topically applied apricot kernel extract helps to reduce dry eyes, contributing to the production of tear fluid ( 6 ).
Apricot or peach: which is healthier?
Many people confuse apricots with peaches. Not only do they belong to the same family of fruits, but they also have quite a lot in common, both in appearance and in the nutrients they are provided with.
The pulp of apricots is less soft and loose, rather harder. Peaches are usually a little larger and their color varies from white to bright yellow or red. The peel of both fruits is covered with small hairs. Apricots tend to have a little more astringency on the palate that perfectly complements pastries and desserts. Peach tastes sweeter.
In terms of beneficial nutritional compounds, the two fruits are very similar, but there are differences. Apricots contain a little more calories, protein, carbohydrates and fiber. Apricots also contain more vitamin A and vitamin C, although the amount of other vitamins, such as vitamin E and vitamin K, is the same in apricots and peaches.
Thus, we can say that both fruits are filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and each of them will be equally beneficial for the body.
How to eat apricots
Apricots are easy to eat and enjoy their great taste. If you want to eat raw apricot, just rinse it under running water and start eating! Apricot eat with peel. You can also cut the apricot in half to remove the seed, and only then eat the fruit itself.
As a simple and healthy recipe, you can add chopped apricot in a cup with any sour-milk product (yogurt or kefir). Apricot can also be added to cereal for breakfast. As already mentioned, baking is excellent with apricots: you can use both raw and dried apricots. This will improve the taste and enrich your meal with nutrients.
A bit of apricot history
The history of apricot remains controversial. Due to its scientific name, Prunus armeniaca , which means “Armenian plum”, as well as its long history of growing in Armenia, many people believe that it really originated there. Others claim that apricot was first found in China or India thousands of years ago.
Despite its true origin, apricots have been a staple in many cultures of the world for centuries. Egyptians, for example, commonly used apricots to make traditional juice, while English settlers used apricot oil in the 17th century to reduce inflammation and treat tumors.
The leading country for growing and supplying apricots today is Uzbekistan, followed by Turkey, Iran and Italy.
Possible health hazards of apricots
It is extremely rare, but individual intolerance to these fruits is found, most often in raw form. Some people may experience food allergy symptoms after eating apricots. If you suspect that you may be allergic to apricot or have side effects after eating them, contact your doctor.
- High calorie content
If we talk about dried apricots, it is worth recalling that, despite a storehouse of useful substances, dried apricots contain carbohydrates and calories, which can lead to weight gain and a surge in blood sugar. Therefore, dried apricots should be eaten sparingly, and if you really want apricots, then it is better to eat them fresh when possible.
- Toxic bones
Apricot kernels can also be harmful to the body. In bitter apricot varieties, seeds are known to contain large amounts of amygdalin, a compound that can increase cyanide levels in the body when consumed in excess. If you eat apricot kernels, be sure to choose a sweet variety to avoid potential toxicity.
Apricots – bright orange fruits, are closely associated with plums, cherries, peaches, nectarines and almonds.
Raw apricots have few calories and a lot of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C. On the other hand, dried apricots (dried apricots) contain a higher concentration of calories, carbohydrates, fiber and micronutrients.
Apricot is also full of antioxidants and has been found to reduce inflammation, maintain regular stools, protect the liver and improve eye health.
Thanks to its tart taste, apricots are incredibly versatile. They become a suitable complement to sweet and savory dishes and can be used in bakery products, jams and gravy.
Enjoy apricot in combination with a healthy, well-balanced diet to take full advantage of the many health benefits this fruit can provide.