INTRODUCING THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF APRICOTS
Apricots are known scientifically as Prunus armeniaca. They are also known as Armenian plums.
Apricots have a round and yellow appearance. They look like small peaches but are as tart as purple plums.
Apricots are very nutritious and have a lot of health benefits. Examples are improved eye health and digestion.
This article will highlight the health benefits of apricots.
APRICOTS ARE LOW IN CALORIES
We have established that apricots have many nutrients and are loaded with essential minerals and vitamins.
You can get the following nutrients from only 2 apricots (1):
- Potassium: 4 percent of the daily value
- Vitamin E: 4 percent of the daily value
- Vitamin C: 8 percent of the daily value
- Vitamin A: 8 percent of the daily value
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Fat: 0.27 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 8grams
- Calories: 34
Apricots are best eaten whole and with the skin. The skin of apricots is rich in nutrients and fiber. The stone should, however, be discarded. These are the important health benefits of apricots.
THEY ARE RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Apricots are loaded with antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, & E. they are also rich in beta carotene.
The major flavonoids in apricots are quercetin, catechins, and chlorogenic acids (5).
The main function of these compounds is to neutralize thee free radicals. Free radicals cause what is known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with obesity and a host of chronic diseases (including heart disease) (8, 9, 10).
A study was conducted involving 2,375 subjects. The researchers sought to measure changes in the levels of inflammatory markers.
Results from the research showed that a high intake of anthocyanin and flavonoids were associated with a 73% and 42% reduction in inflammation respectively. High intake of flavonoids was also associated with a 56% reduced oxidative stress score (11). These are the important health benefits of apricots.
IT PROMOTES OCULAR HEALTH
Vitamin A is good for eye health. It prevents night blindness. Night blindness is caused by a deficiency of light pigments in the eyes. Vitamin E, on the other hand, is soluble in fats. It enters the eyes directly to protect it from free radical damage (12, 13).
You should note that the yellow color of apricots is from beta-carotene. Beta-carotene serves as a vitamin A precursor, meaning that your body can convert it to vitamin A (14).
Other major carotenoids that are found in apricots include zeaxanthin and lutein. These carotenoids are found in the retinas and lens of the eyes. They protect the eyes against the effects of oxidative stress (5, 8, 12). These are the important health benefits of apricots.
APRICOTS BOOST SKIN HEALTH
Apricots are good for the skin.
You can fight this skin damage to some extent by eating an antioxidant-rich diet, which can be provided by apricots.
Apricots contain vitamins C and E. These vitamins protects against the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. They also protect against environmental pollutants via neutralization of free radicals (19).
Vitamin C helps in the buildup of collagen. Collagen contributes to the strength and elasticity of the skin. A vitamin c-rich diet heals the skin from the damage of UV rays and also prevents wrinkles (19).
Beta-carotene, which is present in apricots, protects against sunburns (20).
Eating apricots will grant you extra protection from sunburns in addition to that offered by your sunscreen. These are the important health benefits of apricots.
APRICOTS PROMOTE GUT HEALTH
Apricots are good for your health.
A cup of sliced apricots will give you 3.3g of fiber. This is 8.6 percent of the daily value for men, and 13.2 percent of the daily value for women (1).
Apricots have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water just as the name implies. Examples of soluble fiber are gums, pectin, and polysaccharides. Insoluble fiber includes cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose (21).
The soluble fiber content of apricots is higher than the non-soluble fiber content. Soluble fiber helps in the maintenance of blood sugar level (within a healthy range), and cholesterol levels (21, 22).
Also, fiber promotes gut flora. Healthy gut flora is linked to a reduced risk of obesity (23).
While one apricot will give you only 0.7g of fiber, you can get enough by eating many in a single sitting (1). These are the important health benefits of apricots.
APRICOTS CONTAIN A HIGH AMOUNT OF POTASSIUM
Apricots are rich in potassium. Potassium is a mineral as well as an electrolyte. It plays a role in the transmission of nerve signals and the regulation of muscle contraction and fluid balance (24, 25).
You can get 181mg of potassium from just 2 apricots. This is about 4 percent of the daily value.
Because potassium works alongside sodium in the maintenance of fluid balance, adequate intake may help to prevent bloating and also to maintain your blood pressure at physiological (healthy) levels (24).
An analysis of 33 pieces of research showed that a potassium-rich diet causes a significant reduction of blood pressure, and resulted in a reduced risk of stroke (26). These are the important health benefits of apricots.
APRICOTS ARE HYDRATING
A cup of sliced apricots (fresh ones) can give you at least 2/3 cup of water. That’s about 142ml (1).
Because most people do not drink water in adequate quantities, eating fresh fruit can help you get your daily need of water.
Dehydration causes a drop in blood volume. When your blood volume drops, your heart is made to pump harder. This means that the workload on your heart increases. Also, hydration ensures efficient circulation of blood and nutrients all through the body (27, 30).
APRICOTS PROTECTS THE LIVER
The studies suggest that because apricots are high in antioxidants, they can help to prevent liver damage.
However, it is somewhat difficult to know whether apricots have similar effects on humans as the above studies were conducted on animals. These also, are important health benefits of apricots.
Apricots are quite delicious. They are loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins. They have many benefits, and that includes good skin health, eye, and digestive health. Apricots can be eaten fresh or dried. You can use it as a garnish on yogurt, main meals, or salads.