The health benefits of apricots include its ability to treat indigestion, constipation, earaches, fever, skin diseases, cancers, and anemia. Apricots also help improve heart health, and treat strained muscles and wounds. It is also believed that apricot is good for skin care, which is why it makes an important addition to various cosmetics. Furthermore, apricots have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels, prevent the deterioration of vision, aid in weight loss, treat respiratory conditions, boost bone strength, and maintain electrolyte balance in the body.
Apricots, scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca, are small drupes that resemble and are closely related to 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.
It is difficult to understand the exact order of apricot 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 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.
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 Value 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). Apricots also have a good mineral content, which includes potassium, copper manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, like most fruits.
Health Benefits of Apricots
Apricots have an abundance of health benefits. Let us take a look at them below.
Apricots are rich in fiber and are, therefore, good for smooth bowel movements. They are often recommended to patients who regularly suffer from constipation due to the 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 muscle movements are what keep your bowel movements regulated.
Apricots have significant or moderate amounts of all the minerals necessary for bone growth like calcium, phosphorous, manganese, iron, and copper. Therefore, eating apricots can ensure the healthy growth and development of your bones, as well as preventing various age-related conditions, including osteoporosis.
Improve Heart Health
Apricots are a wonderful way to protect your heart from a wide variety of diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. A 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. Altogether, these properties of apricots make them ideal for boosting heart health.
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.
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. According to scientists, the antioxidant materials present in apricot essential oil are responsible for relieving earaches.
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 organs. Some people also use steamed apricot to relieve fevers. Its soothing, anti-inflammatory substance can also impact the body’s overall temperature level in sickness. Furthermore, it can reduce inflammation in other parts of the body, especially for people suffering from arthritis or gout.
Treat Skin Disorders
Apricot oil is good for skin care. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and does not keep it oily after application. 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 in 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.
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, lightheadedness, digestive issues, and general metabolic dysfunction. 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.
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.
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.
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 nature of its dried form, 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.