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Apricots are delicious fruits packed with vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants. They have multiple benefits, including improved eye, skin, and gut health.
Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are round and yellow stone fruits. They look like a smaller version of a peach. Apricots are extremely nutritious and have many health benefits.
Health Benefits of Apricots
Fresh or dried, apricots can be used in a variety of ways. These are easy to add to yoghurt, salads, and main meals.
If you’re used to eating peaches and plums, apricots can be a great way to change up your routine.
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So, these are the 9 Health Benefits of Apricots:
Nutritious and Low in Calories
Apricots are very nutritious and contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Apricots are low in calories and fat while also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Just 2 fresh apricots (70 grams) provide:
- Calories: 34
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.27 grams
- Fibre: 1.5 grams
- Vitamin A: 8% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 4% of the DV
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
Furthermore, this fruit is a decent source of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body.
It’s best to enjoy apricots whole and unpeeled, as the skin boasts large amounts of fibre and nutrients. Be sure to discard the stone, as it’s inedible.
High in Antioxidants
Apricots are a great source of many antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamins A, C, and E.
What’s more, they’re high in a group of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease. The main flavonoids in apricots are chlorogenic acids, catechins, and quercetin.
These compounds work to neutralize free radicals, which are harmful compounds that damage your cells and cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to obesity and many chronic diseases, such as heart disease.
In one study in 2,375 people, researchers developed a scoring system to measure changes in levels of inflammatory markers. They found that high flavonoid and anthocyanin intakes were associated with a 42% and 73% lower inflammation score, respectively. High flavonoid intake was also tied to a 56% lower oxidative stress score.
Promote Eye Health
Apricots are an excellent source of beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients protect your eyes against damage.
Apricots boast multiple compounds that are essential for eye health, including vitamins A and E.
Vitamin A plays a vital role in preventing night blindness, a disorder caused by lack of light pigments in your eyes, while vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that enters your eyes directly to protect them from free radical damage.
Meanwhile, beta carotene — which gives apricots their yellow-orange colour — serves as a precursor to vitamin A, meaning that your body can convert it into this vitamin.
Other important apricot carotenoids include lutein and zeaxanthin. Found in the lenses and retinas of your eyes, they safeguard against oxidative stress.
Boost Skin Health
Eating apricots may benefit your skin. Apricots are naturally high in antioxidants, which guard against environmental damage from sunlight, pollution, and cigarette smoke. These compounds may benefit your skin by lowering your risk of wrinkles and sunburn.
The main causes of wrinkles and skin damage are environmental factors, such as the sun, pollution, and cigarette smoke.
What’s more, research indicates a direct link between ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, sunburns, and your risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
Notably, you can fight some of this skin damage through a healthy diet full of antioxidants, which apricots provide.
Vitamins C and E, both found in this fruit, may aid your skin. In particular, vitamin C protects against UV damage and environmental pollutants by neutralizing free radicals.
Furthermore, this vitamin helps build collagen, which gives your skin strength and elasticity. Eating a diet high in vitamin C can help your skin heal from UV damage and prevent wrinkles.
Beta carotene, another apricot nutrient, may protect against sunburns. In a 10-week study, supplementing with beta carotene reduced sunburn risk by 20%.
While you should still use sunscreen, munching on apricots may offer additional protection.
Promote Gut Health
Apricots are a good source of soluble fibre, which feeds your healthy gut bacteria and may boost digestive health.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced apricots provides 3.3 grams of fibre, which is 8.6% and 13.2% of the DV for men and women, respectively.
Apricots contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. The soluble kind dissolves in water and includes pectin, gums, and long chains of sugar called polysaccharides, while the insoluble kind doesn’t dissolve in water and includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
Apricots are particularly high in soluble fibre, which is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, fibre delays the movement of food through your digestive tract and feeds your beneficial gut bacteria. A healthier gut microbiome is linked to a lower risk of obesity.
While a single apricot (35 grams) holds only 0.7 grams of fibre, it’s easy to eat a few in one sitting.
High in Potassium
Potassium aids nerve signalling, muscle contractions, and fluid balance. Eating potassium-rich foods, such as apricots, may help prevent high blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.
Apricots are high in potassium, a mineral that also serves as an electrolyte. In your body, it’s responsible for sending nerve signals and regulating muscle contractions and fluid balance.
Two apricots (70 grams) provide 181 mg of this mineral, which is 4% of the DV.
As potassium works closely with sodium to maintain fluid balance, adequate intake may help prevent bloating and maintain healthy blood pressure.
One analysis of 33 studies found that a diet rich in potassium significantly reduced blood pressure and resulted in a 24% lower risk of stroke.
Apricots are naturally high in water, which is important for staying hydrated. Proper hydration is vital for several aspects of health, including blood pressure and heart rate.
Like most fruits, apricots are naturally high in water, which can help regulate blood pressure, body temperature, joint health, and heart rate.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced, fresh apricots provides almost 2/3 cup (142 ml) of water.
As most people don’t drink enough water, eating fresh fruit can help you reach your daily needs.
If you’re dehydrated, your blood volume drops, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood. Furthermore, staying hydrated allows your blood to circulate waste products and nutrients throughout your body.
What’s more, eating apricots can be an easy way to replenish both water and electrolyte loss after exercise, as this fruit offers good amounts of water and potassium.
Some data suggests that apricots may help protect your liver from oxidative stress.
In two animal studies, rats fed alcohol and apricots had lower levels of liver enzymes and markers of inflammation than rats given alcohol but no apricots.
This research suggests that apricots may help prevent liver damage because of their naturally high antioxidant content.
That said, it’s hard to know whether this fruit provides the same benefit in humans. More research is necessary.
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NJMH is working as Deputy Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu (techurdu.net) Forestrypedia (forestrypedia.com), Majestic Pakistan (majesticpakistan.pk), All Pak Notifications (allpaknotifications.com), Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.