It seems like everyone’s officially on the apricot bandwagon. If you’re wondering about apricot nutrition, you’ve come to the right place. These tasty snacks are a delicious and convenient way to pack in tons of nutrition every day.
In Roman and Greek mythology, apricot pulp and juice were often called “nectar of the gods.” Whether you eat them dried with no sugar added or fresh, apricots are an excellent anti-oxidant-rich fruit. Let’s dive in and learn all about this wondrous fruit.
Are Apricots Healthy?
Apricots are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat and each little golden wonder packs a powerful nutritional punch. In addition to being chock full of vitamins and nutrients, apricots are also known for improving eye health and digestion.
Some of the Potential Health Benefits of Apricots
Apricots are more than just delicious. This delicious fruit also offers tons of health benefits.
Blood Sugar Control
When you combine dried apricots with nuts, your body benefits from the slower gastric emptying rate that nuts promote. This results in a slower release of glucose into your body’s bloodstream.
When dried foods like apricots are combined with nuts, you’ll experience more even blood sugar levels.
One of the many benefits of apricot nutrition is that they’re an excellent source of soluble fiber, which helps lower blood cholesterol levels. Apricots are also an excellent source of potassium, which plays a role in reducing blood pressure.
When you combine those two factors with the anti-inflammatory polyphenols found in apricots, you benefit from a cumulative benefit for your heart health.
Antioxidants like flavonoids, polyphenols, and beta carotene can protect the body’s cells from the daily damage that can eventually lead to cancer. Since apricots are full of phytonutrients that serve as antioxidant, adding apricots to your diet can play a huge role in your overall antioxidant-rich meal plan.
We have a lot of control over the health of our skin. Skin damage is caused primarily by environmental factors like pollution, the sun, and cigarette smoke. Also, scientific studies have shown a direct link between UV light exposure and your risk of developing the deadly skin cancer known as melanoma.
By following best practices and better safety measures, you can reduce the harmful effects of these environmental factors on your skin. You can help your skin fight off some of this damage by consuming a healthy diet with plenty of antioxidants, which is where apricot nutrition comes into play.
Apricots are a significant source of powerful antioxidants, and the vitamins C and E found in apricots may also help your skin.
Notably, vitamin C specifically helps your skin build collagen, giving you more skin elasticity and strength. By default, skin with more elasticity will usually have fewer wrinkles.
But that’s not all. Consuming plenty of beta carotene like that found in apricots may help protect against the risk of sunburn.
Because of the significant dietary fiber found in apricots, this fruit offers significant gut health benefits. Fiber delays food’s movement through the body’s digestive tract. Furthermore, dietary fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria that are present in the gut.
There is data that suggests that apricots may offer protection from oxidative stress for your liver. A rodent study indicated that rats fed apricots and alcohol have decreased liver enzymes and inflammatory markers.
A rodent study alone isn’t enough to confirm these results for humans, but the reliable evidence seems to suggest that there is a possible benefit.
Reduced Risk of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Quercetin is a flavonoid that can be found in several different fruits, including apricots. A component of quercetin called rutin has shown promise in the possible prevention of diseases such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and prion diseases.
Free Radical Damage Control
Apricots are rich in potent antioxidants called flavonoids that go a long way toward fighting the free radicals that we all have in our bodies.
Like other orange vegetables and fruits, apricots owe their rich color to beta carotene. Beta carotene is a specific form of vitamin A that is commonly associated with helping to prevent age-related macular degeneration. Apricots are an amazing source of vitamin A.
Since age-related macular disease progresses over several years, if you create a habit of consuming fruits and vegetables that are rich in beta-carotene, you are effectively building in a lifetime of protection for your eyesight.
The vitamin E in apricots is fat-soluble, and therefore this antioxidant directly enters your eyes to protect from damage caused by free radicals.
Pound per pound, apricots are one of the most nutritional foods you can eat. Even better, they’re low in calories and fat.
Calories in Apricots
In addition to being super nutrient-dense, apricots are low in calories. Two fresh apricots have only 34 calories, making them one of the lowest-calorie fruit snacks you can grab.
Note that if you eat dried apricots, the fruit loses volume and is more condensed. Because of that, it’s easier to overeat if you choose dried apricots as your source of nutrition. Moreover, be sure to read the labels on dried fruit carefully to see if there is any added sugar.
One fresh apricot has approximately 4 grams of carbohydrates and just over 3 grams of sugar (naturally occurring).
Apricots have very little fat. Specifically, there is about 0.1 grams of fat in one apricot.
Like many fruits, apricots are not a significant source of protein. However, one apricot does provide about 0.5 grams of protein.
Here is a rundown of the vitamins you get from just two apricots.
- Vitamin A: 8% of the Daily Value
- Vitamin C: 8% of the Daily Value
- Vitamin E: 4% of the Daily Value
While apricots are full of the vitamins we need for optimal health, this fruit also provides plenty of nutrients that include minerals and antioxidants.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are the nutrients found in popular “eye vitamins,” so we know that they’re great for eye health and can even help your vision remain sharp as you grow older.
A fresh apricot has just under 1 gram of fiber. When sliced to equal about one cup (165 grams), apricots provide 3.3 grams of fiber.
The amount of fiber a cup of apricots provides is 13.2% of the recommended Daily Value of fiber.
The great thing is that apricots provide both insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, while insoluble fiber does not. Soluble fiber helps the body to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
How Apricots Affect Your Body
We have listed many benefits of apricot nutrition, but there are a few more worth noting. For one thing, one cup of dried apricots gives your body 19% of the daily iron it needs.
Another huge benefit you can enjoy from eating apricots is that they are naturally hydrating. This beneficial hydration can help regulate your body temperature, heart rate, joint health, and even your blood pressure.
How to Prepare Apricots
To reap the most benefits from apricots, you can eat them fresh or dried. If you eat dried apricots, be sure to buy some that don’t have added sugar.
Simply enjoy your apricots unpeeled and whole. The skin of the fruit has lots of beneficial fiber, along with other nutrients.
Don’t eat the stone. It’s inedible and has a toxin that converts to cyanide after being consumed.
Healthy Apricot Recipes to Try at Home
Apricots are one of the most versatile fruits and are sometimes referred to as Armenian plums, and they actually have some of the same tartness you find in purple plums. This interesting little fruit is yellow and round, looking somewhat like a small peach.
We have a delicious recipe for Rustic Plum Tart on our website and think this dish would be extraordinary when made with apricots. Also, these delicious and simple turnovers would taste great as apricot turnovers.
Below, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about apricots and apricot nutrition.
How to Choose and Prepare Apricots
Fresh apricots are available at many markets and grocery stores year round, but apricot season is in the spring and summer.
To choose the best fresh apricots, make sure your apricots have a rich orange color that is uniform all over. Apricots that are yellow or pale are probably not ripe.
Your apricots are best when they’re slightly soft, but still firm when you touch them. As with all fruit, avoid those with blemishes, bruises, or mold.
Are Apricots High in Sugar
Apricots are not naturally high in sugar. However, if you buy dried apricot, be sure to read the label to make sure there is no added sugar.
How to Add Apricots to Your Diet
It’s incredibly easy to add delicious apricots to your diet. Whether fresh or dried, apricots are an easy add-on for your favorite meal or healthy snack. Here are some other ideas for getting more apricots in your life.
- Add sliced apricots to salad or yogurt.
- Make apricot jams, salsas, or preserves.
- Stew apricots in a slow cooker with chicken or beef.
- Create decadent cakes, pies, and pastries.
- Stir dried apricot into your favorite granola or trail mix.
Moreover, because apricots are both tart and sweet, they’re a great fruit to substitute in most recipes that call for plums or peaches.
There is no shortage to the benefit of apricot nutrition. On your next visit to the grocery store, pick up an amazing apricot or two and start enjoying this remarkable fruit as a part of your balanced diet.
Curious about other fruit nutrition? Click here for more articles about the nutritional value and benefits of other kinds of fruit.