The health benefits of apricot include its ability to treat indigestion, constipation, earaches, fevers, skin diseases, cancer and anemia. Apricot oil is useful for treating strained muscles and wounds. It is also believed that apricot is good for skin care, especially for women. This is why you find it added in various cosmetics. Furthermore, apricots have the ability to improve heart health, reduce cholesterol levels, prevent the deterioration of vision, help you to lose weight, treat respiratory conditions, boost bone strength, and maintain electrolyte balance in the body.
Introduction to Apricots
Apricots can be consumed directly, or dried and then eaten as a variety of dried fruit. It is also used in the preparation of various juices, jams, squash and jellies. Apricot oil can also be obtained from its kernel, and those powerful essential oils also have a lot of important impacts on health.
Apricots, scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca, is closely related to plums. It is difficult to understand the exact order of cultivation around the world, since it was both found wild and grown in prehistoric times. The scientific name is derived from Armenia, which is where most scientists believe apricots originated. However, they were also present in ancient Greece and Rome, and many other experts claim that original cultivation happened in India more than 3,000 years ago. The disputed origins are not important, but the impact of apricots on human health certainly is!
Apricots are small drupes that resemble peaches or plums. They have a soft, tangy flesh beneath a thin outer skin. In the middle of the apricot is a large pit, which is inedible, so be careful when taking that first big bite! They are typically yellow or orange, with a slight tinge of red on one side. They can be enjoyed in a wide variety of ways, and every culture treats apricots differently! One of the reasons they have been so popular throughout history is that they can be directly linked to a number of health benefits, due to their unique organic compounds, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which are listed below.
Nutritional Facts of Apricots
The impressive health benefits of apricots are due to the content of vitamins, including vitamins A, C, K, E, and niacin in significant amounts, as well as a number of other essential vitamins in trace amounts (less than 5% of daily requirement), as well as their mineral content, which includes potassium, copper manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. Apricots are also a very good source of dietary fiber, like most fruits.
Health Benefits of Apricots
The health benefits of apricots include the following:
Constipation: Apricots are rich in fiber and are therefore good for smooth bowel movements. It is often recommended to patients who regularly suffer from constipation due to its laxative properties. Fiber is a way to bulk up the stool. In this way, it becomes easier to transport through the bowels to its eventual excretion from the body. Fiber stimulates the gastric and digestive juices that help absorb the nutrients and break down the food for easier processing. Furthermore, fiber also activates the peristaltic motion of the digestive tract, and those smooth muscles movements are what keep your bowel movements regulated.
Bone Health: Apricots have either significant or moderate amounts of all the minerals necessary for healthy bone growth. Calcium, phosphorous, manganese, iron, and copper all play a certain role in the creation of bone matter. Therefore, eating apricots can ensure the healthy growth and development of your bones, as well as preventing various age-related conditions, including osteoporosis.
Heart Health: Apricots are a wonderful way to protect your heart from a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. The high amount of vitamin-C, as well as potassium and dietary fiber, all contribute to good cardiovascular health. Vitamin-C protects the heart from free radicals, potassium lowers blood pressure by relaxing the tension of blood vessels and arteries, while dietary fiber scrapes the excess cholesterol from the lining of the vessels and arteries, thereby clearing them and reducing the strain on the heart. All together, these properties of apricots make it ideal for boosting heart health.
Fluid Levels and Metabolism: Fluid levels throughout the body are dependent mainly on two minerals, potassium and sodium. The high amounts of potassium in apricots has been linked to maintaining fluid balance in the body, and ensuring that energy is properly distributed to the right organs and muscles. By maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes, you can have more energy, reduce cramping, and keep blood and usable energy pumping through your body as you need it.
Earaches: Apricot oil is good for earaches, although the exact mechanism is still being studied. Dripping a few drops into the affected ear canal should prove to be a fast remedy. Scientists assume it has something to do with the antioxidant materials that apricot essential oil contains.
Fevers: Apricot juice is often given to patients suffering from fever because it provides necessary vitamins, minerals, calories and water to the body, while also detoxifying various systems and organs. Some people also use steamed apricot to relieve fevers. In this way, apricot is a soothing, anti-inflammatory substance that can also impact the body’s overall temperature level when you aren’t sick. Furthermore, it can reduce inflammation in other parts of the body, like for people who suffer from arthritis or gout.
Skin Disorders: Apricot oil is good for skin care. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and does not keep the skin oily after it is applied. Apricots are not just useful for maintaining the smooth and shiny appearance of the skin; it also aids in treating a number of skin diseases including eczema, itching, scabies, and a number of other irritating conditions. This is specifically due to the antioxidant compounds found within apricots. Not only does it have a healthy amount of vitamin A (60% of your daily requirement per serving), which has long been associated with healthier skin, but the antioxidants in apricots protect the skin from the effects of free radicals, which can lead to skin deterioration and signs of premature aging.
Anemia: Owing to the presence of iron and copper, apricots help in the formation of hemoglobin when you consume them. This property helps in treating anemia. Anemia is basically iron deficiency, and it can lead to weakness, fatigue, light headedness, digestive issues, and general metabolic function. Without red blood cells, the body can’t reoxygenate itself properly, and organ systems begin to malfunction. Iron is a key part of red blood cell formation, as is copper. Both of these minerals are present in apricots, making it a great tool to boost metabolism and keep the body functioning properly.
Cancer: The seeds of apricot are believed to aid in the treatment of cancer. Between the carotenoids and the other antioxidant compounds that apricots have, it is no surprise that they are a threat to free radicals. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate their DNA into cancerous cells. Antioxidants neutralize these harmful compounds and ensure that the body doesn’t contract conditions like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and aging skin. Apricots have been directly linked to reducing the risk of cancer.
Asthma: It is also believed that apricot oil is anti-asthmatic in nature and helps in treating the disease and its related symptoms. It has certain expectorant and stimulant qualities due to its essential oils. One of these can help to relieve pressure and stress on the lungs and respiratory system, thereby preventing asthma attacks before they begin.
A Few Words of Caution: There are no inherent dangers of eating apricots, except for normal allergies that some people might have. However, there is some concern about the healthy nature of dried fruit, which apricot is frequently made into. Sulphites have been found in most dried foods, and that is not a good thing. Sulphites can seriously impact asthma and induce asthmatic attacks. Therefore, as an asthma medicine, use fresh apricots, rather than dried versions. Other than that friendly caution, enjoy the tangy, sweet taste of apricots and see all the good it can do!