Apricots were grown back in India around 3000 BC. In Armenia, apricots were grown for so long, it was believed that they originated from there.An apricot is a fruit, or the tree that bears the fruit, of several species in the genus Prunus. Usually, an apricot tree is from the species P. armeniaca, but the species P. brigantina, P. mandshurica, P. mume, P. zhengheensis and P. sibirica are closely related, have similar fruit, and are also called apricots
Why are apricots so important supplements?
Raw apricots contain many vitamins, minerals, and elements that are important for the human body. They contain potassium, phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin, iron, vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Other elements found in trace amounts are selenium, manganese, thiamin, copper, folic acid, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and choline. Apricot is highly recommended food for improved vision, avoiding cataract surgery and fight heart diseases.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF APRICOTS
There are numerous benefits of apricots when it comes to heart health and eyes. Apricots contain a high percentage of beta-carotene, a substance that is important for the heart and for the reduction of LDL cholesterol in the blood. The content of vitamin A in these fruits is vital for the eye health and for the improvement of the vision which will lead to avoid cataract surgery. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that prevents damage from free radicals in the tissues and cells of the body. In a medical study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, it’s said that those who consume a lot of fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants, such as vitamin A, E, and C, as well as beta-carotenoids, will have a lower risk of cataracts (clouding) and a macular degeneration (macula – points of clear vision).
The apricots also contain lycopene which may prevent the occurrence of some types of cancer and protect the heart. The lycopene found in apricots reduces the risk of certain forms of cancer. Preliminary studies have shown that this vital phytochemical substance may reduce the incidence of prostate cancer. Other health benefits from the apricots include the ability to treat skin rash, anemia, fever, constipation, and indigestion. Apricots are rich in dietary fibers which help the intestinal peristalsis (movement) and prevent the occurrence of chronic constipation. This fruit can also be useful in the prevention of ulcers. Apricots contain no fat and are a source of nutritional vitamins and minerals that are important for the overall health.
Here are 8 amazing apricot (khubani) benefits you need to know:
#1. Good Source of Vitamin A
Apricots are packed with Vitamin A, which is also known as retinol. It’s fat soluble, and helps in the enhancement of vision, among other things. And it keeps the immune system in check, protecting your skin in the process. Retinol and Beta Carotene (also present in apricots) also reduces the chances of you developing a serious eye-related disorder called Neovascular ARMD – an age-related macular degeneration that causes loss of vision over the years.
#2. Rich in Fiber
Whether you eat it dried, or fresh, apricots are a good source of dietary fiber. Given that the retinol in apricot is fat soluble, the fruit dissolves in the body easily, and the important nutrients are easily absorbed by the system. And it breaks down fatty acids fast, which means your digestion is in order. And not only that, the fruit protects you from gastrointestinal concerns by cleaning out the intestines regularly.
#3. Good for Your Heart
Given that the fruit is high on fiber content, it helps to reduce the bad cholesterol content in the body, and that means your heart is protected. And at the same time, it increases the good cholesterol. Plus the potassium content in the fruit balances the electrolyte levels in our system, keeping our heart muscles in order. All you have to do is eat one or two fresh apricots every day, or a handful of dried ones.
#4. Treasure Chest of Antioxidants
Ripe apricots are natural sources of antioxidants. When consumed daily, it helps the body to get rid of toxins that we tend to collect over time. Antioxidants in turn also kill free radicals that damage our cells.
#5. Good for Your Blood
Any plant produce that contains iron has non-heme iron, and that includes apricot. This type of iron takes its time to be absorbed by the body, and the longer it stays in the system, the better your chances in preventing anemia. It’s recommended that you take some vitamin C along with it to ensure better absorption of the non-heme iron.
#6. Good for the Skin
The combination of Vitamin C, A, and phytonutrients ensures good skin. And did you know that the antioxidants in the apricot also slow the ageing process? So apart from a good skin care regime, don’t forget to eat some apricots every day.
#7. It’s Diet Friendly
The dietary fiber in the fruit improves your digestive system, which helps to increase your metabolism. And it’s often recommended that you eat a few apricots as a snack when you’re feeling peckish, especially if you’re on a diet. It fills you up but doesn’t add unnecessary calories. However, remember to rinse your mouth after you eat the dried version. Dried fruits contain more sugar, and you don’t want that to affect your dental health.
#8. It Strengthens Your Bones
Calcium is much required in the formation and development of bones, and apricot has lots of it. What’s also interesting to note that without enough potassium in the body, the calcium is not absorbed and disposed of uniformly. And the good news is that the apricot has both of them!
Apricot Nutrition Value
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a 100-gram serving of apricot has 48 calories, 1.40 grams protein, 0.39 grams fat, 11.12 grams carbs, 2 grams fibre, and 9.20 grams of sugar.
How to Add Apricots to Your Diet
Like most tasty fruits, the apricot can be eaten in multiple ways. The dried and the fresh version are the easiest. But you could also chop apricots up and add them to your morning cereal. You can even make a blend of it with yoghurt and make a dip or a spread for bread (if you don’t mind a sweetish sandwich that is). Apricots are also used liberally in jams and preserves, and if you can figure out a recipe that uses little or no sugar, you can eat it without feeling too guilty.
Dried apricots are of course way easier to store, as long as you don’t keep it under too much light, but fresh apricots need to be consumed quicker as the skin might get wrinkled, and the fruit will begin to lose its efficacy.