9 Impressive Health Benefits of Apricot

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Rebecca Zinger (RD, LD)

The health benefits of apricots include its ability to improve digestion, constipation, earaches, fever, skin diseases, and anemia. Apricots also help improve heart health strained muscles and wounds. It is also believed that apricot is good for skincare, which is why it makes an important addition to various cosmetics. Furthermore, apricots can reduce cholesterol levels, prevent the deterioration of vision, aid in weight loss, boost bone strength, and maintain electrolyte balance in the body.

What are Apricots?

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 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!

How to eat Apricots?

Apricots can be consumed raw, or dried and then eaten. They are also used in the preparation of various juices, jams, squash, and jellies. 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 several health benefits, due to their unique organic compounds, nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which are listed below. Apricot oil can also be obtained from its kernel and it has a huge range of health benefits.

Nutritional Value of Apricots

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, apricots contain vitamin A, C, K, E, and niacin in significant amounts. They also contain many other essential vitamins in trace amounts (less than 5% of daily requirement). Apricots also have good mineral content, which includes potassium, copper manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. They are a very good source of dietary fiber, like most fruits. [1]

Nutrition Facts

Apricots, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]86.35
Energy 48
Energy [kJ]201
Protein [g]1.4
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.39
Ash [g]0.75
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]11.12
Fiber, total dietary [g]2
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]9.24
Sucrose [g]5.87
Glucose (dextrose) [g]2.37
Fructose [g]0.94
Maltose [g]0.06
Calcium, Ca [mg]13
Iron, Fe [mg]0.39
Magnesium, Mg [mg]10
Phosphorus, P [mg]23
Potassium, K [mg]259
Sodium, Na [mg]1
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.2
Copper, Cu [mg]0.08
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.08
Selenium, Se [µg]0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]10
Thiamin [mg]0.03
Riboflavin [mg]0.04
Niacin [mg]0.6
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.24
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]9
Folate, food [µg]9
Folate, DFE [µg]9
Choline, total [mg]2.8
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]96
Carotene, beta [µg]1094
Carotene, alpha [µg]19
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]104
Vitamin A, IU [IU]1926
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]89
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.89
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]3.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.03
16:0 [g]0.02
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.17
18:1 [g]0.17
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.08
18:2 [g]0.08
Phytosterols [mg]18
Tryptophan [g]0.02
Threonine [g]0.05
Isoleucine [g]0.04
Leucine [g]0.08
Lysine [g]0.1
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0
Phenylalanine [g]0.05
Tyrosine [g]0.03
Valine [g]0.05
Arginine [g]0.05
Histidine [g]0.03
Alanine [g]0.07
Aspartic acid [g]0.31
Glutamic acid [g]0.16
Glycine [g]0.04
Proline [g]0.1
Serine [g]0.08
Sources include : USDA [2]

Health Benefits of Apricots

Apricots have an abundance of health benefits. Let us take a look at them below.

May Be Rich in Fiber

As per research in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, apricots may be rich in fiber and are, therefore, good for smooth bowel movements. Fiber is a way to bulk up the stool. In this way, it may become 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. Therefore, apricots may often be recommended to those patients who regularly suffer from constipation due to their laxative properties. [3] [4]

May Strengthen Bones

Apricots may have nearly all the minerals necessary for bone growth like calcium, phosphorus, manganese, iron, and copper. Therefore, eating apricots can ensure the healthy growth and development of your bones, as well as the prevention of various age-related bone conditions, including osteoporosis.

2 big bowls of whole apricots (ripe) and 2 small bowls of half apricots (ripe) with and without seeds on a white table

Apricots are a member of the rose family. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

May Improve Heart Health

Apricots may be 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, may all contribute to good cardiovascular health.

According to research led by Dr. Lien Ai Pham-Huy, Stanford University Medical Center, USA, antioxidants like vitamin C protect the heart from free radicals. Additionally, potassium might help lower 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 might make them ideal for boosting heart health. [5]

May Boost Metabolism

Fluid levels throughout the body are dependent mainly on two minerals, potassium, and sodium. The high amounts of potassium in apricots can be linked to maintaining fluid balance in the body, and ensuring that energy is properly distributed to the organs and muscles. By maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes, you might have more energy, reduce cramping, and keep blood and usable energy pumping through your body as you need it.

May Relieve Earaches

Apricot oil may be good for earaches, although the exact mechanism is still being studied. Dripping a few drops into the affected ear canal is said to be a quick home remedy. However, check with your health care provider to ensure this is a safe treatment to do at home.

May Reduce Fever

Apricot juice may be often given to patients suffering from fever because it might provide necessary vitamins, minerals, calories, and water to the body, while also detoxifying various organs. Some people may also use steamed apricot to relieve fevers.

May Have Anti-inflammatory Properties

It may have anti-inflammatory properties that can also impact the body’s overall temperature level in sickness. Furthermore, it might help reduce inflammation in other parts of the body, especially for people suffering from arthritis or gout.

May Help Treat Skin Disorders

Bitter apricot oil may be an effective topical treatment for skin conditions like eczema, scabies, psoriasis, and rashes. It might be rich in gamma linoleic acid, or GLA, which comes from essential fatty acid omega-6 and vitamins E, B1, B2, B6, and A. According to a 2018 report published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the oil may also be a pro-apoptotic factor for human keratinocytes. [6] [7]

May Aid In Anemia Treatment

Dried apricots may be a good source of iron and copper. If you are suffering from anemia, you can include them in your diet to boost your iron levels. Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA) 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 may begin to malfunction. Iron is a key part of red blood cell formation, as is copper. [8]

Word of Caution: Some people may be allergic to dried apricots. Sulfites, present in most dried foods, can trigger an asthmatic attack. Also, you should avoid eating the seeds or kernels because they can cause cyanide poisoning in some people. [9] [10]

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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