Apricots are small fruits, usually orange in color.
Most of them are edible and, moreover, ripe with flavor and nutrition.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, these fruits present a flavor palette that ranges from sweet to tart, depending on the species.
Their exterior is smooth, covered in soft, fuzzy hairs, while their flesh is soft and juicy when they ripen. Not only are they delicious, they also provide several notable health benefits;
They are good for your skin, they can help prevent cancer, they can aid anemia treatments, as well as many other health-related issues.
These fruits, scientifically classified as Prunus Armeniaca, originated in China about four thousand years ago, where they became popular among residents, traders, and travelers.
Thereby, this delightful fruit began its westwards journey down the Silk Road. In time, it spread across Central Asia and the Middle East as well.
What are the most common effects of apricot consumption?
While apricot consumption is generally highly beneficial for different aspects of your health, overindulgence may lead to some side effects.
These may include nausea and digestive health issues such as constipation and stomach aches.
What is the best time to eat apricots?
Due to their high fiber content, apricots are best to consume during the mid-morning or in the evening.
Additionally, they are one of the few foods that contain natural reserves of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate human sleep cycle.
However, studies have shown that, when it comes to fruit consumption, health benefits don’t vary much depending on the time of day.
With that being said, people engaging in weight loss diets may benefit from timing their fruit intake.
This has less to do with the fruit itself, and more with managing overall calorie and nutrient intake.
Can apricots cause you to gain weight?
Usually, no. Apricots are low in calorie content, and will not cause you to gain weight.
Instead, they are an excellent aid in weight management due to their high fiber content. This also helps improve your overall gut health.
Low calorie, high fiber, and good gut health are vital for optimal weight management.
Keep in mind, however, that even for generally healthy foods, moderation is key.
What are pros and cons of consuming dried apricots versus fresh?
The consumption of dried apricots carries several health benefits, such as – they help your body absorb more nutrients, improve bone mineral density, and promote gut health.
Additionally, they promote eye health, help reduce blood pressure, and may aid in anemia treatments.
Is it safe to consume apricots at night?
Consuming apricots before late evening can help regulate your sleep cycle because this fruit contains naturally-produced contents of melatonin, a sleep regulatory hormone.
Additionally, they contain potassium and magnesium, both of which have been demonstrated to bear a calming effect on the nervous system.
However, one should avoid consuming dried apricots at night because of their lower water content, which may cause digestive issues such as gas and cramps.
Are apricots good for your skin?
Generally, yes Apricots are rich in antioxidant contents, such as vitamin E and vitamin C, which have been demonstrated to be beneficial for maintaining good skin texture.
Additionally, apricots have high water content. This makes them an excellent snack to help hydrate your skin.
Can apricot consumption cause you to have gas?
Yes, consuming dried apricots especially can cause gas. This is because they are also rich in sugar in the form of fructose.
High, unmoderated consumption of fructose and sorbitol can cause digestive issues.
Our intestines can struggle to digest these compounds, which can lead to various gut health issues.
Can apricots help you lose weight?
Although no clear link between apricot consumption and weight loss has been recorded, they are rich in fiber and low in calories, which makes them suitable foods to consume when trying to lose weight.
Can apricots help boost metabolism?
Yes. Apricots carry high contents of potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Including any combination of these minerals into your diet can help enhance your metabolism, because they have been documented as metabolism-enhancing nutrients that also help energize your body.
Do apricots have a lot of sugar?
No, they do not. According to the USDA reports, one fresh apricot contains only three grams of sugar.
This makes them an excellent alternative for those looking to switch up their snack routine to something fresh, natural, tasty, and healthy.
Can diabetics consume apricots?
Yes. Once again, high fiber content makes them excellent foods for managing blood sugar. Officially, they have a low glycemic index.
This means that apricot consumption has a slow and steady effect on blood sugar levels.
Additionally, apricots are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant which has been demonstrated to reduce blood sugar.
However, apricots do have high fructose contents.
In order to mitigate its effects, diabetics may choose to pair their apricot consumption with another type of food, something high in fat and protein.
This can help slow down the rate at which fructose enters the body and causes potential spikes in blood sugar levels.
Is apricot consumption beneficial for fatty liver?
Apricot consumption has been demonstrated to minimize the risk of steatosis, and free radical damage.
This is owing to their high antioxidant, beta-carotene and vitamin, contents, and the high capacity they carry for scavenging of free radicals.
What happens if you consume too many apricots?
Unmoderated consumption of apricots can cause vomiting, giddiness, sweating, faintness, and losing consciousness.
These symptoms are usually linked to high fructose consumption, and may also lead to more serious issues such as insulin resistance, obesity, and diabetes.
The recommended daily intake of apricots ranges between thirty and fifty grams per day.
Types of Apricots
The apricot fruits encompass several different species available for consumption, with the most popular ones being Moorpark, Tilton, and Blenheim.
These fruits are large, and usually come with stark golden orange skin. They tend to resemble peaches.
They are sweet and juicy, with their flavor carrying a plum-like note.
These apricots are rich in vitamins A, and C, as well as B-complex vitamins.
They also contain notable amounts of calcium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.
These apricots are tiny, and their skin carries a green patch that ripens inside. This patch turns fully orange.
Despite their appearance, Blenheim apricots are just as sweet and juicy as their cousins. The fact that this species has been a common favorite since the ancient times can attest to its aromatic flavor.
Aside from the aforementioned green patch, the flesh of Blenheim apricots remains orange and juicy.
This species of apricot is also particularly popular in California for its canning quality; Blenheim apricots are also extremely well fit for drying.
This species requires warm and dry conditions in order to flower.
The shape of this apricot species is often said to resemble a heart, and this particular fruit comes with a ‘suture’ line that runs half way around it.
Its colors are ravishing, bright golden with pink blush undertones.
This species of apricot comes with another outstanding feature – Unlike most its cousins, it is highly resistant to frost.
Thanks to this highly unusual benefit, Tilton apricot trees can thrive even in areas prone to late spring frosts.
These trees are also highly adaptable to various types of soil. Tilton apricots may be consumed and enjoyed in various ways, from fresh bites to canning.
They are also very fit for jams, jellies, and other desserts.
Gold Bar Apricot
This species of apricots presents itself with a vivid yellow-orange color with a tinge of red on the skin. Gold Bar apricots are usually larger in size than most others.
Its shape is usually oval around the top and the sides, while its bottom is usually more compact. Its flesh is exceptionally succulent.
These apricots are typically medium to large in size, oval in shape, with a diameter of about five and a half centimeters.
Tomcot apricots are of pale orange color, with light orange flesh, and sweet taste.
Out of every apricot species we have mentioned thus far, Tomcot apricots are least suitable for canning.
Nutritional Value of Apricots
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one fresh apricot weighs about thirty-five grams, and contains the following –
Energy – 17 calories;
Protein – 0.5 grams;
Fat – 0. 15 grams;
Carbohydrates – 3.9 grams;
Fiber – 0.7 grams;
Sugar – 3.23 grams.
Health Benefits of Apricots
Apricots are Good for Your Skin
Vitamin E and vitamin C, both commonly found in apricots, are well-known antioxidants whose beneficial effects on skin health and appearance have been well documented.
They help protect the skin from ultraviolet / UV / radiation, prevent early wrinkles, and improve the supple quality of skin.
Beta-carotene is another antioxidant commonly found in apricots that has been demonstrated to protect the skin from sunburns and other UV-related damage.
With their high water content, consumption of apricots also aids in maintaining and boosting skin moisture and health levels. One cup of apricots contains almost two thirds cup of water.
Apricots Help Protect Your Eyesight
Apricots are rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids, which makes them ideal foods for boosting your eye health.
Lutein helps maintain retinal and lens health, while carotenoids and vitamin E can help improve general eyesight. Additionally, the beneficial effects of these nutrients in lowering the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts have also been documented.
In a study which involved more than fifty thousand registered nurses, researchers have discovered that women who consumed vitamin A on a regular basis had as much as forty percent lower risk of developing cataracts.
One apricot, which weighs about thirty-five grams, contains approximately 33.6 milligrams of vitamin A, which accounts for about five percent of the requited daily intake.
Apricots May Cure Fever
Apricot juice is often administered to patients with a fever because it provides the body with a considerable amount of essential vitamins, minerals, calories, and water.
Simultaneously, it helps the detoxification process of various organs.
This fruit’s soothing and anti-inflammatory qualities can also help reduce the body’s overall temperature, which is especially helpful in the case of fever.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can also affect other body parts, which can be extremely beneficial for individuals suffering from arthritis or gout.
Apricots May Treat Anemia
In addition to their high water and vitamin contents, apricots also contain iron and copper, both of which have been demonstrated to help the body in synthesizing hemoglobin.
Therefore, it may be used as aid in anemia treatments.
Anemia is diagnosable iron deficiency with symptoms ranging from weakness, weariness, light-headedness, digestive issues, and overall metabolic malfunction.
It also causes variable decrease in red blood cell production in the body, which is its most serious and insidious symptom.
Without the adequate levels of red blood cells, human body cannot effectively maintain its oxygen levels, which leads to further organ malfunction.
Iron and copper are essential nutrients for the creation of new, healthy red blood cells.
Apricots are a rich in both iron and copper, which makes them an excellent food for boosting metabolism, and aiding the overall body health.
Apricots Help Prevent Cancer
Several studies have successfully linked apricot consumption to a decreased risk of cancer.
More specifically, the consumption of apricot seeds has been demonstrated to lower the cancer risk factor.
This is attributed to the high concentration of carotenoids and other antioxidant chemicals commonly present in apricots, which enables them to combat free radicals and their effects.
Free radicals are harmful byproducts of cellular metabolism which can transform healthy cells into cancerous cells by mutating their DNA.
Antioxidants have been demonstrated to boost body’s resistance to these dangerous particles, thereby protecting the body from developing cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and premature skin aging.
Apricots Protect Your Liver
Some research has suggested that apricot consumption may help protect liver from oxidative damage.
In two studies involving animals, the rats given apricot juice in addition to alcohol showed lower liver enzyme and inflammatory markers than those given alcohol only.
This suggests that apricot consumption may help prevent liver damage due to their high content of antioxidants.
Apricots Strengthen Your Bones
Apricots contain nearly all minerals required for bone growth and health, such as magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, and calcium.
This means that apricot consumption can help maintain proper bone growth and development.
Additionally, it can also help prevent or, at least, slow down many age-related bone issues, such as osteoporosis and brittle bone disease.
Apricots Improve Your Gut Health
Apricots are rich in fiber, which contributes to improved gut health. Fiber helps promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, while also aiding in digestive process.
Apricots contain both dietary and soluble fiber, which makes them easy to digest while contributing to a healthy digestive system.
Apricots are High in Potassium
Potassium is a mineral which functions as an electrolyte, and apricots carry it in abundance.
It plays a role in delivering messages across body’s nervous system, regulating muscle contractions, and maintaining the equilibrium of fluids in the body.
Two apricots, weighting about seventy grams, contain 181 milligrams of potassium, or four percent of the daily recommended intake.
Since potassium also cooperates with salt to maintain the balance of fluids in the body, an adequate intake can help prevent bloating, as well as help maintain healthy blood pressure.
A study consisting of thirty-three trials has concluded that a diet rich in potassium considerably decreased patient’s blood pressure, which resulted in a twenty-four percent lower risk of stroke.
How to Consume Apricots?
Apricots are perfectly safe for raw consumption. The fruit should be cleaned, then cut in half to remove the seed in the centre.
Both fresh and dried, apricots can be an excellent addition to a yogurt or porridge, which may be served as breakfast or a snack.
Several studies have demonstrated that freezing or canning apricots bears no negative impact on the nutritional value of the fruit.
This means you can enjoy them in a variety of ways without sacrificing the aforementioned health benefits they carry.
Moreover, the study suggested that if you choose to consume canned or frozen apricots, you may feel secure about similar or even superior nutritional content than found in fresh apricots.
Possible Side Effects of Increased Apricot Consumption
Apricots may cause Digestive Issues
While apricots are proven to be beneficial for digestion and digestive system health, they also contain high amounts of fructose.
High fructose consumption can cause the release of hydrogen and methane gases, which can cause pain, bloating, flatulence and diarrhea.
Therefore, eating too many apricots can cause a stomach ache.
Additionally, overly high consumption of this fruit may cause constipation and other digestive issues.
So, just try not to eat too many.
Apricots may cause Nausea
If one consumes too many apricots, they may experience nausea and a tendency to vomit.
Unfortunately, this is a rather common side effect.
Thankfully, the solution is simple; Consume apricots in moderation to mitigate the risk of facing this issue.
Not unlike most other fruits and vegetables, apricots are an excellent source of various nutrients our body needs and benefits from.
They contain relatively high concentration of vitamins A, E, and C, as well as calcium, iron, copper, fiber, and potassium.
Apricots may be consumed raw or dried. The nutritional value of the fruit does not diminish when it’s frozen or canned.
However, in order to maintain its benefits while mitigating its adverse affects, apricots should be consumed in moderation, and one should make sure to search for apricots canned in water, not syrup, in order to avoid high sugar content.
Apricots carry many nutrients whose benefits provide an excellent addition to a health, well-balanced diet.