Apricots are beautifully orange colored fruits that are rich in fiber and beta-carotene. This fruit are relatives of nectarine, peach, cherry and plum, and are fragrant, with a soft, velvety skin that ranges from deep orange to pale yellow. Its flavor is almost musky, with a faint tartness that lies somewhere between a plum and peach.
Although canned and dried, apricots are available all year-round. Fresh apricots contains vitamin C and are in season in North America from May through August.
Apricot is one of the healthiest fruits in the world, with tons of benefits. 100 grams of fresh apricots can give you 12% of vitamin A, 12% of vitamin C and 6% of potassium, required by the body, and all this are under less than 50 calories. Here are reasons why an apricot a day, can also keep the doctor away!
Health Benefits of Apricots:
1. Digestive Health
Fresh and dried apricots are one of the best sources of dietary fiber. Fiber is good for the body, but apricots contain a special kind of fiber that is, even more, beneficial.
Once fatty acids are broken down, these can help in easy bowel movement and the excretion of digested food particles.
2. Eye Health
Apricots are rich in xanthophylls and carotenoids, nutrients that researchers believe can help protect eyesight from age-related damage. One of these nutrients, lutein appears to be help protect the retina, which is part of the eye that picks up the visual image from the environment, from damage that is caused by blue light.
Also, researchers associated regular consumption of fruit with the reduction of risk of vision loss with aging. This benefit is found in individuals who consume 3 or more servings of fruit daily.
At least 3 servings of fruit may sound like a lot to consume each day, but by simply snacking an apricot, adding a banana into your smoothie, and combining 1 cup of yogurt or green salad with 1/2 cup of berries, you will reach this goal.
3. Heart Health
Apricots are a great way to protect your heart from various diseases, including heart attacks, atherosclerosis and strokes. The high amount of dietary fiber, vitamin C and potassium, all contribute to great cardiovascular health.
Vitamin C protects your heart from free radicals, while dietary fiber removes the excess cholesterol from the lining of the arteries and vessels, thereby clearing them and reducing the strain on the heart, and potassium lowers blood pressure by relaxing the tension of blood arteries and vessels. Combine together, these properties of apricots make it ideal for boosting heart health.
4. Rich in Antioxidants
Ripe apricots are good sources of antioxidants. When eaten daily, it helps your body get rid of toxins that tend to collect over time. Antioxidants also fights free radicals that damage your cells.
5. Rich in Vitamin A
Apricots are loaded with Vitamin A, which is also known as retinol. It is fat soluble, and can help in the enhancement of vision.
Also, it keeps your immune system in check, thus protecting your skin in the process. Retinol and beta-carotene, which is also present in apricots, reduces the risks of developing a serious eye-related disorder known as Neovascular ARMD or age-related macular degeneration that causes loss of vision over the years.
6. Skin Health
The combination of Vitamin A, C, and phytonutrients can ensure healthy skin. Also, did you know that the antioxidants present in apricots can help slow down the ageing process?
So, apart from a good skin care regime, always remember to eat some apricots daily.
7. Strengthens the Bones
Calcium is an important requirement in the development and formation of bones, and apricot has plenty of it. What is also interesting to remember, is without enough potassium in your body, the calcium is not absorbed and disposed of uniformly. The great news is that apricot has both of them!
Wash fresh apricots gently using cold water and pat dry. Consume ripe fruit with its skin, so you can get the maximum benefits.
– You can also put slices of apricots on salads.
– Apricots are also added in marmalade, jam, jelly and syrup preparation.
– Sundried apricots can be used like currants and raisins in the sweet or confectionary industry.