Benefits of apricots
. Dried apricots are obtained from drying the fruit. This includes a drying process that evaporates the water content of the fruits without harming or reducing the nutritive value of the dried apricots. As a result, nutrients are not harmed and you yield even more benefits of dried apricots. These contain Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamin A, Iron, and Vitamin C. One cup serving of dried apricots contains 158 micrograms of Vitamin A. These dried fruits supply many nutrients that are required for a healthy body along with combating many diseases.
Introduction to Apricots
. Apricots can be consumed directly, or dried and then eaten as a variety of dried fruit. It is also used in the preparation of various juices, jams, squash and jellies. Apricot oil can also be obtained from its kernel, and those powerful essential oils also have a lot of important impacts on health. Apricots, scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca, is closely related to plums. It is difficult to understand the exact order of cultivation around the world, since it was both found wild and grown in prehistoric times.
. Apricots are rich in many plant antioxidants. Some of these are the vitamin antioxidants so familiar to regular users of this site. Others are more difficult to obtain from other foods, and may be responsible for specific health benefits. Overall, consider the apricot to be a great food that provides you with the protective effects of antioxidants while adding very few calories to your daily total.
History of Apricots
. Apricots were basically first grown in China, but due to trade commerce, their production moved even to Europe through Armenia. This explains the scientific name of the plant
Is good for your eyes
. Consuming apricots is highly beneficial for your ophthalmic health. Consuming two or three servings of apricots in a day has shown to be beneficial in the cure of age related Macular Degeneration. Macular degeneration is a disorder of the eye and is one of the major causes of loss of sight in older people. It also helps in strengthening the optic nerves in your eyes.
Rich source of antioxidants
. Apricots when ripened naturally are a rich source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are required by the body to aid the body s natural functioning. The higher the amount of antioxidants in the body, the higher the rate of elimination of toxins in the body. Toxins are harmful substances that accumulate in the intestines and the digestive tract. Apricots have the capacity to increase the production of antioxidants. They are also rich in carotenoids and other strong antioxidant phytonutrients. Apricots are also rich in vitamin A content due to the presence of high levels of beta carotene content. Vitamin A is also helpful as an antioxidant.
High Fibre Content
. Dried apricots are one of the best sources of dietary fibre. Though fibres are generally good for the human body, apricots contain a special kind of fibre that is even more beneficial. They contain the rich soluble fibre that is easy to dissolve. It melts into a gel like substance and helps in breaking down fatty acids. Once fatty acids are broken down, they help in the excretion of digested food particles and in the easy bowel movement.
Healthy for your heart
. The high fibre content is useful in reducing the LDL or bad cholesterol content in the body, thus lowering your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. At the same time, it also helps you increase the levels of HDL or good cholesterol. Consuming just half a cup of apricots every day is useful and beneficial to the health of your heart.
. Fruits like apricots and those belonging to the same family are high in potassium contain. High levels of potassium are extremely beneficial to your body. When potassium combines with sodium or salt, it regulates the water levels within and between cells. A good amount of potassium is also required to keep the blood pressure level stable.
Non heme Iron
. The iron content in apricots is helpful in preventing you from developing anaemia. Anaemia is a disorder of the blood wherein it contains a lower level of Red Blood Corpuscles and hence, a lower level of haemoglobin content in the body. It is often characterized by dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nausea and inability to carry out day to day activities.
. The rich levels of antioxidants in apricots is helpful in lowering your risk of developing cancer. How does this happen? Antioxidants in the body are proven to keep the body free from free radicals. Free radicals in the body are harmful. They are produced in the body due to environmental pollution, ultra violet rays of the sun and the smoke. Free radicals inhabit the natural course of cell growth. Thus, antioxidants are beneficial in the helping to increase the process of cell growth. It thus saves the body from many different types of cancers, including cancers of the lungs, oesophagus and the larynx.
. The high level of antioxidants that are present in apricots are beneficial not only in avoiding cancer and aiding the process of cell growth, but it is also highly valuable for maintaining skin health. The antioxidants in apricots reduce the risk of ageing and help to make the skin appear taut and shining. The good level of Vitamin A content also ensures that the skin is free from acne and other such problems.
Helps you lose weight
. The high amount of dietary fibre that the apricot fruit is gifted with is useful for those people who are looking forward to lose a few kilos. The high fibre content improves the digestive and excretory systems in the body and helps improve the rate of metabolism. Not only this, the fruit contains extremely low amount of calories. So one can easily consume a good quantity of apricots without the fear of putting on weight.
. The antioxidants lower the amount of impurities that the system can take in. The harmful free radicals are suppressed and thus any form of pollution from the environment is taken care of by consuming apricots. Asthma is a disorder of the lungs which is marked by weak lungs and the inability to breathe well.
Strengthens your bones
. Apricots are rich in calcium content. Calcium is required by the body in bone formation and bone development. Lack of calcium leads to a disorder of the bones called Osteoporosis. The high calcium content is thus beneficial in the keeping of bone health and saves you from brittle bones.
. Proper functioning of the cells requires a good maintenance of the electrolyte levels in the body. Electrolyte is required for transporting ions from every cell to every other cell in the body. It also maintains a stable fluid level which is necessary for proper expansion and contraction of the muscles. Apricots contain a great level of potassium and sodium. These are required by the body and help in the carrying out of all the above mentioned functions.
How to choose good apricots
. Apricots are available mostly in summer. In the winter, they are imported from other countries. When you are at the supermarket, buying apricots, make sure that you look for fruits that have a rich, orange colouring. Avoid the ones that look pale or look like they are not going to ripe. Do not buy ones that are too hard or too soft. If they are too hard, it means that they have not been ripened naturally, but have been ripened using fertilizers.
Tips before buying
. Orange or yellow is the natural shade of the apricot fruit. If you come across fruits in the market that have an additional reddish tinge, be careful before buying. The reddening of the apricot fruit is due to the presence of sulphur di oxide which is a preserving agent. It is inorganic and is harmful to the human body upon consumption. Brown is also an acceptable colour. People who suffer from allergies must bear caution before buying such fruits. The best way to consume apricots is in its dry form as it is most natural and safe this way.
Protection Against Free Radical Damage
. Apricots contain a number of potent antioxidants. We rank the apricot as a good source of both vitamin A (from beta carotene) and vitamin C. The health benefits associated with each are multiple and well documented.
Protect Your Eyesight
. Apricots are rich in the carotenoids and xanthophylls, nutrients that researchers believe may help protect eyesight from aging related damage To give an example of how this works, one of these nutrients (lutein) appears to be able to protect the retina
Protect Against Inflammation
. Apricots are a strong dietary source of catechins, a broad family of flavonoid phytonutrients (you may be familiar with these phytonutrients since they are often cited for the benefits provided by green tea). A single apricot will provide you with 4 5 grams from catechins. These phytonutrients are potent anti inflammatory nutrients and researchers have looked extensively at their health effects. Researchers have discovered that catechins can inhibit the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase 2 (COX 2), one of the critical steps in the process of inflammation.
Other Health Benefits
. Apricots are a good source of dietary fiber. This overall fiber content should be helpful for most people in supporting digestive health. Within the total dietary fiber provided by apricots, about half consists of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is one type of fiber that can help to control blood cholesterol levels.
. Apricots are small, golden orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh: not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Their flavor is almost musky, with a faint tartness that is more pronounced when the fruit is dried. Some people think of the flavor as being somewhere between a peach and a plum, fruits to which they re closely related.
. Apricots are originally from China but arrived in Europe via Armenia, which is why the scientific name is Prunus armenaica. The apricot tree came to Virginia in 1720 but its appearance in the Spanish missions of California around 1792 marked the fruit s real arrival. The climate there is perfectly suited to apricot culture, and apricots in the United States are grown primarily in the sunny orchards of California.
How to Select and Store
. Apricot season in the U.S. runs from May through August. In the winter, apricots are imported from South America. Look for fruits with a rich orange color while avoiding those that are pale and yellow. Fruits should be slightly soft. If they are too firm they have not been tree ripened, and tree ripened fruits always taste best. For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened fruit.
. Commercially grown dried apricots may be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing. They may also be treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life. Sulfur containing compounds are often added to dried foods like apricots as preservatives to help prevent oxidation and bleaching of colors.
. Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of pro vitamin A carotenoids), and a good source of vitamin C, copper, dietary fiber, and potassium. Apricots contain phytochemicals called carotenoids, compounds that give red, orange and yellow colors to fruits and vegetables. The powerful antioxidant Lycopene is one of the carotenoids found in apricots.
In Depth Nutritional Profile
. An in depth nutritional profile for Apricots is also available. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.
How Do You Store Apricots
. Apricots should be stored at room temperature until ripe and then kept in the fridge in a plastic bag or bin for three to five days. When storing, be sure to keep them out of direct sunlight.
What About Dried Apricot
. Dried fruit offers some benefits to fresh fruit: convenient, keeps well, and quick energy boost. Research suggests that dried fruit provides rich sources of dietary fiber and iron
. Apricots are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin A is important for normal vision, proper immune system function, reproduction, and maintaining healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal and soft tissue.
. Apricots contain significant amounts of both insoluble and soluble fiber, but are especially high in soluble fiber, which promotes and helps maintain healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Remedy for Constipation
. Apricots contain high amount of pectin and cellulose which act as a mild laxative, thus helping in the treatment of constipation. Apricots are high in fibre which is vital for colon health and prevents constipation that might cause colon cancer. Fibres are also great for digestion and help balance the body s metabolism.
. Apricots reduce the risk of cardio vascular disease as they are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopene. These antioxidants reduce bad cholesterol (LDL), thus minimizing the risk of heart attack and improving heart health.
. Apricots are beneficial during fever. You can prepare a liquid with apricot and water, and dilute it with a little honey. This will relieve thirst, fever and clean the system besides adding vitamins and minerals to the body.
Beneficial in Pregnancy
. Apricots are particularly beneficial for pregnant women as they contain vitamins A, C and E as well as minerals like phosphorus, silicon, calcium, iron and potassium. Pregnant women are often advised to consume dried apricots as they have a high iron content which is important for pregnant women to prevent anemia.
Maintains Electrolyte Balance
. Apricots contain minerals like potassium and sodium which are vital for maintaining the balance of electrolyte levels. This is important for transportation of ions to every cells of the body. It also maintains fluid level which is important for muscle contraction. Thus, potassium and sodium help in maintaining electrolyte level.
Heals Damaged Skin
. Apricot oil is obtained from the dried seeds of the fruit. Its skin softening effects can be attributed to its high content of vitamin C. This oil can treat a variety of skin conditions without making your skin oily. It is an excellent moisturizer for hair, face and hands and can cure damaged skin without undesirable side effects.
. A scrub prepared from apricot kernels helps in getting rid of the old, dead skin cells on the surface of your skin and enables new skin cells to re grow. This exfoliating action helps in getting rid of fine lines and small wrinkles by eliminating the damaged surface cells from the skin.
Maintains Skin Elasticity
. Apricot oil helps in maintaining skin clarity, suppleness and elasticity. It can be used with other fruit oils as facial mask to soften your skin. It is often used in aromatherapy massage due to its revitalizing and nourishing effects on the skin. Being very mild natural oil, it is used in baby products.
. Apricot scrub deep cleanses the skin by removing dead skin cells and blackheads as well as unclogging pores. Thus, it keeps the skin smooth and radiant by stimulating fresh cell growth. Apricots are rich in other antioxidants, too, including polyphenolic antioxidants like flavonoids.
Treatment of Skin Disorders
. Being rich in vitamins C and A, apricot oil is great for sensitive skin. Its anti inflammatory properties are effective for treatment of skin disorders like dermatitis and eczema. Apricot oil in combination with other essential oils has a soothing effect on skin disorders. However, it is advisable to consult a doctor before using it to avoid any adverse side effects. The flesh of apricots is beneficial in clearing acne. You can blend the leaves of apricot in a blender to get its juice.
. Apricot oil has proven to be useful in keeping pre mature signs of ageing at bay. Apricot facial masks can be effective in eliminating skin blemishes without any side effects whatsoever.
. Apricot oil is great for dry, irritated skin because of its high content of essential fatty acids and vitamin A. Its moisturizing properties keep your skin cells hydrated and counteract any drying effects associated with exfoliating your skin, thus providing you with a healthier and softer skin surface.
Improves Skin Tone
. Apricot scrubs can help in improving your skin tone by exfoliating the damaged skin cells. Thus, they prevent pigmentation to reveal the newer and lighter skin cells beneath.
. Apricot oil is packed with oleic and linoleic acids which can do wonders for your hair. Its high content of vitamins A and E makes it great for hydration and conditioning. This oil can be added to your shampoo or conditioner for extra softness as it has moisturizing effects when added to wet or dry hair. It is also used as treatment oil before chemical treatments.
Treatment of Scalp Problems
. Apricot oil contains vitamins A and E which support skin health and repair. Thus, it is a great home remedy for problems like dry scalp, psoriasis, dandruff and eczema. This oil restores moisture to dry or flaky scalp or dull and dry hair.
Promotes Hair Growth
. The vitamin E in apricot oil supports healthy hair growth and prevents hair loss. This vitamin in combination with fatty acids acts as a preservative by preventing damage by free radicals.
. Dried apricots have pectin. They also contain cellulose that is a mild laxative and treats constipation. Cellulose acts as an insoluble fiber and pectin maintains water levels in the body during constipation.
. Dried apricots juice can be used to treat itching due to sunburn, eczema and scabies. This also helps to clear acne and many other skin problems. Apricot scrub is often used to exfoliate the skin.
Clean digestive tract
. Dried apricots help to treat the digestive tract by acting as a mild laxative to flush out the unwanted wastes. This is useful to react with the body s digestive juices and produces more of an alkaline environment to clean the digestive tract.
. Dried apricots provide a very good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte which is useful to regulate proper fluid balance. This helps in proper muscle function and regulates the heartbeat.
. Dried apricots contain nutrients like Vitamin A which is required for good vision. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that helps to remove free radicals and maintain the health of cells and tissues. Free radical damage can cause injury to the human eye lenses which can lead to cataracts or damage the eyes. Dried apricot intake reduces the risk of developing cataracts.
. Dried apricots can be used for production of haemoglobin that can treat anaemia. This is because dried apricots contain minerals like iron and copper which produces haemoglobin.
. Dried apricots health benefits also include the ability to cure the symptoms of tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. Apricots are enjoyed as a fresh fruit but also dried, cooked into pastry, and eaten as jam. The fruits are also distilled into brandy and liqueur.
. Dried apricot oil is very useful for skin care. This can make your skin glowing and smooth. This is also a good remedy to cure sore ears. Essential oil from the pits is sold commercially as bitter almond oil. Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, U.S.A. and France are the leading producers of apricots.
High blood pressure
. Dried apricots contain three times more potassium than bananas and contain only a trace of salt that helps to keep down blood pressure. Potassium has water retaining properties than sodium, which lowers blood volume pressure. Potassium in dried apricots also protects against heart disease.
. Dried apricots contain potassium which is necessary for bodily functions like improving metabolism and roles of the tissues, organs and other cells. Thus, it is important for muscle building and normal body growth. It helps to regulate the levels of acid in the body and useful for protein synthesis.
. Dried apricots contain Vitamin K that is required for blood clotting in case of injuries and to prevent excessive bleeding. Consume a cup of dried apricots daily to get 4 mcg of Vitamin K.
Fluid Levels and Metabolism
. Fluid levels throughout the body are dependent mainly on two minerals, potassium and sodium. The high amounts of potassium in apricots has been linked to maintaining fluid balance in the body, and ensuring that energy is properly distributed to the right organs and muscles. By maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes, you can have more energy, reduce cramping, and keep blood and usable energy pumping through your body as you need it.
. Apricot oil is good for earaches, although the exact mechanism is still being studied. Dripping a few drops into the affected ear canal should prove to be a fast remedy. Scientists assume it has something to do with the antioxidant materials that apricot essential oil contains.
. Apricot oil is good for skin care. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and does not keep the skin oily after it is applied. Apricots are not just useful for maintaining the smooth and shiny appearance of the skin; it also aids in treating a number of skin diseases including eczema, itching, scabies, and a number of other irritating conditions. This is specifically due to the antioxidant compounds found within apricots.
. Apricots help in the formation of hemoglobin when you consume them. This property helps in treating anemia. Anemia is basically iron deficiency, and it can lead to weakness, fatigue, light headedness, digestive issues, and general metabolic function. Without red blood cells, the body can t reoxygenate itself properly, and organ systems begin to malfunction. Iron is a key part of red blood cell formation, as is copper. Both of these minerals are present in apricots, making it a great tool to boost metabolism and keep the body functioning properly.
A Few Words of Caution
. There are no inherent dangers of eating apricots, except for normal allergies that some people might have. However, there is some concern about the healthy nature of dried fruit, which apricot is frequently made into. Sulphites have been found in most dried foods, and that is not a good thing. Sulphites can seriously impact asthma and induce asthmatic attacks. Therefore, as an asthma medicine, use fresh apricots, rather than dried versions.
. This is anti inflammatory. It helps to reduce arthritis symptoms. This also soothes and gives you relief from the pain. This helps to maintain the immune system. This strengthens your body s ability to fight infections such as colds and flu.
. Apricot seed oil contains high fatty acids, Vitamin E and A which can be used to moisturize and nourish dry and mature skin. This oil is popularly used in cosmetics like creams, soaps and skin lotions. The oil gets easily absorbed into the skin without leaving any oily residue. Hence, this is also used for massage and as sunbathing oil. You can use this as a base with other aromatherapy oils.
. Massage your hair by mixing this with other oils like Amla, coconut, and olive to cure a dry and flaky scalp. It is very good for damaged and chemically treated hair. This will restore the shine of your hair.
. This can be used like a moisturizer for dry areas such as elbows, knees, feet and hands. This will make your skin extra soft and smooth. Apricot seed oil is very light and gentle on the skin. This is used to moisturize normal and oily skin. The texture of this oil is very light so it can be used as a face serum. Apricot kernel oil doesn t give a greasy coat on application. This also rehydrates your skin.
. This oil can give you best results when used as a night moisturizer. Mix it with any other essential oil that suits you and massage gently. Please don t forget to cleanse and tone your face before doing this! This will help you to get rid of clogged pores, a shiny nose and will also moisturize dry skin.
. Natural apricot seed oil contains gamma linoleic acid that is useful to firm and tone your skin. This also contains Vitamin A and E to soothe and slow down the aging process. It has nourishing properties and an anti inflammatory effect to soothe eczema.
. Apricot seed oil gets very quickly absorbed into the skin, which is the best property of any massage oil. This also increases the benefits of massage to reduce stress, pain and inflammation. This oil is very mild and non irritating, and can even be used for children and for infants.
. Typically produced in large quantities, apricot oil is readily available at natural health stores and pharmacies both in store and online. Prices vary, depending upon factors such as how the oil is extracted from the apricot kernel and whether it s food grade or not. If you have a personal or family history of nut allergies, apricot oil provides a texture and color similar to that of the comparably priced sweet almond oil without its propensity for producing allergic reactions. As a rule, apricot seed oil tends to have a longer shelf life than other commonly used oils.
. Apricot kernel oil provides an all purpose oil appropriate for all types of cooking. Rich in monounsaturated fat, food grade apricot oil may help lower LDL or bad cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health, especially when used in recipes in place of shortening, butter and other sources of saturated fat.
. Apricot oil is one of the oils that has a lipid content similar to that of your skin. When the skin s lipid content becomes too low, dry and irritated skin results; topical application of apricot oil helps soothe and heal this rough, damaged skin. The oil s fine texture allows more rapid skin penetration, which promotes more prompt healing and nourishment of sore or chapped skin without residue.
. Apricot oil provides a prime option for use as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. When using apricot oil topically, you can blend it with multiple different essential oils, including lavender, chamomile, rose, lilac, jasmine and ylang ylang to create a pleasing yet mild massage oil. Balch recommends 25 drops of essential oil per 2 oz. of apricot oil for use in massages for adults.
. Apricot kernel seed oil provides lubrication for the skin. As a light and gentle lubricant, which is appropriate for sensitive skin types, apricot kernel oil is frequently used in massage. In Face Creams, Hair Rinses, and Body Lotions: Recipes for Natural Beauty, Gill Farrer Halls uses apricot kernel oil as a lubricating ingredient in lip balms. Farrer Halls says that apricot kernel oil is suited for use on the delicate, sensitive skin of your lips.
High temperature frying
. Apricot oil is a healthy alternative to using butter in the frying pan. Like sunflower oil and avocado oil, apricot kernel oil is suitable for high temperature frying due to its high smoke point. It also has a light and nutty taste that does not overpower the natural flavor of other food. Of course, like any high temperature cooking oil, apricot oil should be used with caution since excess heat from the pan can easily burn your hands.
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