9 Surprising Health Benefits of Apricots
By Refadoc, Posted on : Monday, 29 June 2015 - 4:26 pm IST
Apricots are widely known as the yellowish-orange colored fruits which belongs the family of the Rosacea. Apricots are quite small in size and are covered with velvet like skin. Apricots can be consumed both in fresh as well as dried forms. They are quite nutritious in their content.
They are also used in making pastries, jams and marmalade. Used in liquor industry too, they are used for making brandy and liqueur. Apricots are very high in their nutritional content. They are closely related to peach and plum in the way they taste.
Here are some of the major health benefits of consuming Apricots:
1) Good for your Eyesight:
A lot of studies have proved that consuming apricots is beneficial for your eyesight. Consuming around 2-3 servings of apricots in a day has proved to delay the occurrence of Macular degeneration. It also helps to strengthen the optic nerves in the eyes. Apricots are rich sources of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene and therefore, prolong the vision in people suffering from Retinitis Pigmentosa. It also helps to alleviate the dry eyes syndrome.
2) Loaded with Antioxidants:
Ripe Apricots are a rich source of antioxidants which are required by the body in order to aid with the natural functioning of the body. Higher the amounts of antioxidants in the body, greater are the chances of elimination of toxins from the system. Anti oxidants are also needed in order to get rid of free radicals which have been formed in the body. Apricots help to eliminate the free radicals and the toxins and therefore, strengthen the immune function of the body.
3) High Fiber Content:
Dried as well as fresh apricots are one of the best sources of fiber. The fiber found in Apricots is richly soluble and dissolves easily in the body, thus helping in absorbing the essential nutrients. It also helps to break down the fatty acids in the body and thus aids in the easy bowel movement. The high amount of dietary fiber also helps to keep you safe from gastrointestinal disorders. It helps in the emptying out of the intestines and protects the body from constipation and piles.
4) Promotes a Healthy Heart:
High amounts of soluble fibers found in Apricots are also known to be beneficial for your heart. This high fiber is also known to reduce your LDL or bad cholesterol in your body. This helps to lower the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Consuming only half a cup of apricots a day is known to be useful and beneficial for the health of your heart.
5) Prevents Cancer:
Free Radicals found in the body are known to be harmful as they attack the DNA of the cells, causing an abnormal cell growth and destruction of the regular cells. Antioxidants on the other hand, come ready and free in cleaning the body of the free radicals. A high level of antioxidants in the bloodstream helps to lower the risk of developing cancer. Apricot kernels contain seeds which are known to kill the cancerous cells without any side effects.
6) Skin Benefits:
Due to the high levels of antioxidants such as Vitamin A, C and Phytonutrients, Apricots are highly recommended in order to maintain a healthy skin tone. The antioxidants are known to slow down the aging of the skin and tend to replace the layer of the dead cells. Vitamin A ensures that the skin is free from acne and other general skin problems.
7) Strengthens Your Bones:
Apricots are a rich source of Calcium and Potassium. Calcium is required by the body for the development of the bones. Lack of Calcium in the bones can lead to Osteoporosis. The high content of Calcium in the body helps to keep your bones strong and brittle free. Potassium found in the Apricots is also known to help in the absorption and the distribution of the Calcium in the body.
8) Electrolyte Content:
For the proper functioning of the cells, a good balance of electrolyte levels in the body is needed. Electrolytes are needed in order to transport the ions and neuro transmitters from the brain to the rest of the body. They also help to maintain a stable fluid level which is needed for the expansion and contraction of the muscles. Apricots are known to maintain a healthy level of potassium in the bloodstream and also restraints in the amount of Sodium.
9) Protects against Free Radical Damage:
Apricots are highly rich in antioxidants and are a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. The health benefits of apricots are multiple. They are a rich source of Polyphenolic antioxidants such as Flavanoids. The Polyphones associated with Apricots ate known to protect against heart disease. Some of the major antioxidants found in Apricots are as follows:
- Gallic acid
- Caffeic acid
- Coumaric acid
- Ferulic acid
How to add Apricots to your diet:
Apricots are available from May to August. While choosing for the fruit go for the ones which have a rich orange color and avoid the ones that are pale and yellow. Fruits should also be slightly soft. If they are too firm to touch, they have not been tree ripened. In order to choose the fruit with the most antioxidants, go for the fully ripened fruit.
You can enjoy your apricot with these quick serving ideas:
- Add sliced apricots to your breakfast cereal.
- While making pancakes, add some apricot to the batter.
- For a Mid Eastern flavor, you can add dried apricot to your chicken or vegetable stew.
- Serve fresh apricots in your salad.
Selecting Apricots – The Proper Way
Apricot season around the world generally ranges from May throughout August. While choosing the fruit, make sure to look for one which has a rich orange color and avoid the ones which are pale and yellow in appearance. Fruits should be quite soft. Press them to determine their softness while you are on your buying spree. In case they are too firm, it means that they have not been tree ripened; and tree ripened fruits taste the best. Choose a fully ripened fruit in order to maintain a maximum amount of antioxidants.
Giving a sniff to the apricots is not a bad idea either. An apricot which has a flavor and also a sweet a ready fragrance is ripe enough to be brought and consumed.
Apricots – How to Consume:
There are a variety of ways in which you can enjoy these amazing fruits. Here are a few serving ideas:
- You can add sliced apricots to hot or cold cereal.
- In case you are looking forward to make whole grain pancakes, you can add some apricots to the batter in order to enhance the taste of the pancakes.
- These fruits can even be added to your chicken or vegetable stews in order to provide it a slightly Middle Eastern flavor.
- Add fresh apricots to the green salad while they are in the season.
- They can also be used to prepare jams, marmalade, syrups and jellies.
- Sundried apricots can be used in order to make raisins and currants which are sweet and are used widely in confectionary preparations.
Individual Concerns with the fruit:
When grown commercially, dried apricots could be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during the course of processing. These could also be treated with sulfites in order to extend their shelf life. Compounds containing Sulfur are known to be added to the dried fruits such as apricots in order to prevent oxidation and to prevent the bleaching of their natural colors. Sulfite reactions could be therefore, acute for people who are suffering from asthma.
Therefore, it is recommended to choose the unsulfured dried apricots, which are brown in color and are a healthier choice as compared to the ones which are bright orange in color and have been treated with sulfite. Foods which have been marked as organic do not contain sulfites and are therefore, a safer and a better option for you.
The Proper Way to Store Apricots:
It is recommended to store Apricots are a proper room temperature until they are ripe. Once ripe, they can be stored in a plastic bag in your fridge or bin for up to three to five days. While you are storing them, make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight.
One of the best signs to tell whether your Apricots are ripe enough or not is to check the fruit. If it is soft but not too soft, it is ripe. Otherwise, it is over ripe. Consider the correct time to eat and cook the apricots, depending on how firm or soft they are.