The humble apricot is both delicious to snack on and remarkably good for you. Whether cooked, dried, or eaten fresh off the apricot tree, this tiny yellow-orange fruit packs a punch in the best possible way.
The amazing health benefits of apricots have been studied for decades. The fruit, which is said to have originated in China, was introduced in the US in the 1700s by Spanish explorers. Today we know it to be one of the most nutrient-dense edible fruits around. Read on to learn about thirteen incredible apricot health facts.
Are Apricots Healthy?
Apricots do wonders for the human body and are beneficial for heart, liver, eye, and digestive health. In addition, apricots boost the immune system as they are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which promote bone and skin health.
These delightful fruits are not only full of amazing health benefits but are also easy to add to your diet. They are versatile fruits that can be preserved or prepared in many ways or simply eaten fresh. Don’t peel the outer skin, as it is full of fiber. Do avoid the stones as they are not edible and contain amygdalin, which converts into cyanide if ingested.
A Breakdown of the Health Benefits of Apricots
Here are just a few of the health benefits of apricots.
Apricots Are Excellent Sources of Antioxidants
Apricots are full of beneficial antioxidants, including Vitamins A, B, and C, as well as beta carotene. They also contain flavonoids, which are polyphenol antioxidants known to protect against heart disease and other illnesses like diabetes.
Free radicals, which are unstable atoms that cause aging and illness, are neutralized by the compounds present in flavonoids. Whereas free radicals attack cells and cause oxidative stress, antioxidants in apricots actively fight against them. In other words, these powerful little fruits fight against the harmful cells trying to cause chronic disease.
Apricots Are High in Fiber and Promote Gut Health
Apricots are an excellent source of fiber (0.7g per fruit and 3.3g per cup), which plays a significant role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels. Fiber breaks down fatty acids, which helps prevent gut health issues like bloating and constipation.
Soluble fiber also aids digestion by stimulating the gastric acids responsible for breaking down food. The fiber content of apricots bulks up stool, making its movement through the digestive tract easier, keeping bowel movements smooth and regular. For this reason, apricots are often recommended as natural laxatives.
Apricots Can Improve Heart Health
Apricots are packed with fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium, which are good for maintaining heart health and preventing heart attacks and strokes.
While the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C protect the heart, fiber works alongside them to break down cholesterol, taking pressure off clogged arteries. Enter potassium, which studies have shown can lower blood pressure by relieving tension in arteries and blood vessels.
Apricots Are Hydrating Fruit and May Reduce Fever
If you’re not a fan of consuming your daily H2O, consider having some apricots on hand to supplement your water intake. Apricots are naturally rich in water and are therefore regarded as hydrating fruit. Staying hydrated helps your body cycle waste products out of your system faster, keeping you healthier overall.
Apricots, both fresh and steamed, have long been used as a natural remedy for fever relief. They are loaded with various vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. This nutrient-rich combination has a detoxifying effect on those suffering from mild fever.
Apricots Can Be Used to Treat Anemia
Iron and copper are essential in the treatment of anemia. Dried apricots are an excellent source of both.
Those suffering from an iron deficiency or anemia may suffer from weakness and fatigue, digestive issues, and lightheadedness. This results from a lack of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the blood system. Iron is a crucial ingredient in the makeup of red blood cells, so including a boost of iron-rich dried apricots into your diet can help treat this condition.
Apricots Help Fight Off Inflammation
Conditions like ulcerative colitis respond well to both the flesh of apricot fruit and the oils found in its seeds, and the consumption thereof can provide relief from inflammation.
Extensive studies by the Arthritis Foundation have found that apricots are full of the chemical beta-cryptoxanthin, which serves as a preventative measure against some forms of inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout.
Apricots Can Boost Your Metabolism
Apricots are rich in potassium. Potassium helps the human body process calcium, magnesium, and iron, which are the metabolism-enhancing nutrients responsible for boosting your energy levels. Low iron levels, in particular, negatively impact your metabolism by reducing your drive for physical activity. Including potassium in your diet boosts and helps process the iron in your body, speeding up your metabolism.
At the same time, the fluid balance in our bodies is dependent on our sodium and potassium content. Healthy potassium levels keep our the body’s fluid system level and distributes energy to muscles and organs. Potassium also prevents excess water retention.
Apricots Promote Liver Health
Although more research is still required, the high levels of antioxidants present in apricots may help prevent liver damage brought on by alcohol. By preventing oxidative stress, apricots can lower liver enzymes and, by default, liver inflammation.
Apricots may also assist in the breakdown of fatty buildups in the liver and promote cell regeneration.
Apricots Promote Eye Health
Researchers believe that the regular consumption of certain fruits, like apricots, can reduce the risk of vision loss. They are a rich source of Vitamin A and Vitamin E – antioxidants that protect our retinas from harm caused by free radicals. Vitamin A (sometimes referred to as retinol) is also known to curb night blindness, a condition brought on by a lack of light pigments in the eye.
Apricots also contain zeaxanthin and lutein, which fight off oxidative stress in the eyes.
Apricots Can Relieve Earache
Although proper research is lacking, it is commonly believed that a drop or two of apricot oil is effective in relieving earache and fighting infections in the ear canal. As with all homeopathic remedies, consult a doctor before trying it.
Apricots Can Strengthen Your Bones
In addition to being rich in vitamins and minerals, apricots are also loaded with calcium, which is crucial for bone development and bone health. The combination of potassium and calcium found in apricots promotes bone strength and can even prevent bone loss.
Apricots Are Great for Your Skin
Apricots are great for your skin in more ways than one. Exfoliating scrubs apricot oil and sugar may improve skin tone by removing damaged skin cells, unclogging pores, and reducing pigmentation.
Furthermore, bitter apricot oil is often used as a topical treatment for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis, and scabies.
Apricots May Be Beneficial for Pregnant Women
Apricot fruits contain a concentration of nutrients and are a great snack choice for pregnant women. Iron and copper are important in the diets of expecting mothers. Including these fruits in a prenatal diet is an excellent choice for the overall health of mother and child.
People Also Ask
Q: Do apricots contain a lot of sugar?
A: No, apricots are not high in sugar and are one of the healthiest fruits. A single apricot only contains about 3 grams of sugar. This is less than many other fruits, including berries, making them a great choice for a balanced diet.
Q: How many apricots can I eat per day?
A: On average, you can consume three to four raw apricots per day, equating to roughly 30 grams. Apricots are a healthy snack to include in your daily diet.
The potential health benefits of apricots are hard to overlook. While the results may differ from person to person, apricots are a natural health booster worth considering. Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.