Health

Are apricots good for you?

Introduction

Apricot is a juicy, sweet/tart, and fleshy fruit that has been grown for human consumption for over four thousand years. People hardly favor fresh apricots as they prefer oranges and apples, but when it is available, it is fresh and nutritious during the summer period. Dried apricots also contain a great deal of nutrients and they do not have a specific season like fresh apricots.

Now, let us take a look at what constitutes apricots and exactly why are they so good for us? Is there any disadvantage to taking them as snacks? This article will discuss the elements present in apricots, the advantages of consuming them, and the risks & disadvantages of including apricots in your diet plan.

Nutrient Profile of Apricots

In its natural form, apricots contain numerous vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. Some of the key nutrients found in apricots include:Some of the key nutrients found in apricots include:

  • Vitamin A – contains nearly 20% of the daily required amount of this vitamin and is good for the health of the eyes and skin.
  • Vitamin C – apricots contain 10mg of flavonoid per fruit and dried apricots even more, both of which have a positive effect on the immune system.
  • Fiber – The fruit contains fiber in 2 grams that is important in our diet. There are significant amounts of the fiber within the skin.
  • Potassium – It contains 201 mg of potassium in a fruit which aids in the balance of fluids.
  • Iron – Required to support hemoglobin production, and in small amounts, is important for bone and cardiovascular health.
  • Antioxidants – Fresh apricot fruits are also rich in vitamin A which is a natural antioxidant while dried fruits contain other antioxidants such as catechins.

Apricots For Eye Health

Another nutrient that is in high quantity in apricots is vitamin A which is significant in retaining good eyesight. Vitamin A supports several parts of the eye:Vitamin A supports several parts of the eye:

Retina Health

Some of the vitamins that are important for the proper functioning of the eyes include vitamin A which plays an important role in the proper functioning of the retina of the eye. The retina transmits light impulses to the optic nerve of the eye. Vitamin A also plays a crucial role in defending and preserving cells in the retina. There is evidence that has indicated that vitamin A deficiency might be a cause of age-related macular degeneration.

Preventing Night Blindness

Vitamin A proved to be effective in the prevention of night blindness. This condition makes people incapable of seeing in low light intensity because of the absence of Vitamin A in their system. One or two apricots contain enough vitamin A to prevent this occurrence, just as a cup of cooked corn has sufficient thiamine to meet a man’s requirements for the day.

Protecting Against Dry Eyes

This is normally true for dry eyes which are most commonly associated with a vitamin A deficiency. Tears carry compounds within our eyes that help keep the eyes moist. Vitamin A assists in maintaining healthy vision and keeping the eyes moist, so one will not feel scratchy.

Slowing Cataract Progression

Some other studies have discovered that vitamin A in fruits such as apricots helps in preventing the worsening of cataracts that are known to cause loss of vision. Further studies are however required but studies on apricots reveal that the vitamin A here helps in the protection of the eyes.

Apricots For Skin Health

Not only do apricots help to support the health of eyes but they are also packed with the nutrients that help to promote skin health. The vitamin A, vitamin E and lycopene in apricots offer several protective effects:The vitamin A, vitamin E and lycopene in apricots offer several protective effects:

New to the acne treatment discussion and the cell turnover is vitamin A.

It was found that patients with acne should increase their intake of apricots. They discovered that the normal cell growth and turnover process was highly dependent on Vitamin A. It contributes to the task of removing dead skin hence clearing blocked follicles. Phrynoderma which can be described as rough and bumpy skin is also a certain consequence of vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin E is effective in the prevention of skin aging.

Vitamin E in particular has been found to be an effective antioxidant for the skin, shielding it from the effects of the sun and the aging process. It also assists in the absorption of moisture and the repairing process of skin damage that occurs more quickly. One apricot successfully covers only 4% of the daily vitamin E intake that is necessary for the human body.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin to Support Eye Health

Apricots contain a small amount of lycopene – the pigment responsible for giving tomatoes and watermelons a red hue and noted for its antioxidant properties. Research has also revealed that lycopene has the ability of shielding skin from UV radiation as it acts to absorb the damaging rays and prevent the acceleration of skin cell cancers.

Apricots to Help Digestion

The high fiber content found in apricots makes them beneficial for improving digestion in several ways:The high fiber content found in apricots makes them beneficial for improving digestion in several ways:

Relieving Constipation

A single or a couple of fresh apricots can offer 10-15 % of the Daily Value for fiber. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, assists in proper movement of food and wastes within the digestion system easing constipation.

Good Prebiotic Fiber

Fiber and antioxidants present in apricots feed young cells in the gut. They also help to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in the intestines which are very useful for digestion and immune system.

In some instances, it could be easier to digest.

Patients who are prone to irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulitis find the soft fleshy part and skin of apricot to be more digestible than the skin of other fruits. The raw fruit can be successfully eaten when it is cut and mashed to a pulp, but once the apricot has been cooked, it is even easier to take.

Here, apricots supply the needed iron to the anemic patient.

Anemia is typical of iron deficiency and may lead to weakness, headaches, dizziness, and fast heartbeat. There is a small quantity of non-heme iron, copper, and Vitamin C, which are important in increasing the intake of iron in dried apricots. Savor a handful, and it would be a great investment in the easiest way to naturally boost your iron levels in your diet!

Apricots to Strengthen Bones

Bone mass density starts declining at age 30 years, and got to a stage where the population is at risk of osteoporosis. Dietary intake of foods rich in vitamin K and potassium can play a significant role in the development of strong and healthy bones.. One fresh apricot offers vitamin K, which is 10mcg, and potassium, 201 mg. Together, these nutrients suppress bone metabolism and decrease the rate of bone turnover and calcium loss.

Apricots for Strengthening Heart muscles

Cardiovascular diseases remain a significant cause of death, which makes it imperative to add foods that are rich in nutrients to the list of foods to be consumed. Apricots provide potassium and antioxidants like vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene to protect your heart in several ways:Apricots provide potassium and antioxidants like vitamin C, lycopene and beta-carotene to protect your heart in several ways:

Lowering Blood Pressure

Potassium, found in foods like bananas, helps reduce sodium and also reduces tension in blood vessels. This produces reduced blood pressure level since the blood can easily reach several areas of the body. One apricot provides the consumer with 5% of the required 4700 mg of potassium per a day’s intake.

Reducing LDL Cholesterol

It is suggested that such antioxidants as beta-carotene and lycopene have a positive effect on preventing LDL cholesterol from being oxidized. Another negative effect of oxidized LDL cholesterol is that it accumulates on the artery walls and forms plaque. The antioxidants present in the Apricots can help minimize this.

Preventing Platelet Build-Up

They can aggregate together to form clumps that occlude the bloodstream resulting in heart attack or stroke. Antioxidants present in apricots; catechin, the flavonoid, avoids platelet aggregation for improved blood circulation.

They directly impact the reproductive process and ensure the wellbeing of the mother and the unborn child.

Pregnant women can equally derive so many benefits from the nutrients that are available in apricots. Just some of the benefits include:Just some of the benefits include:

To minimize the occurrence of Neural Tube Defects

In one serving of fresh apricots, there is 6 percent of folate while the dried apricots have 85 percent of folate which is over 20 percent of daily recommended value. Folate intake in the preconception period and early pregnancy can effectively lower the possibility of neural tube birth defects.

Iron to Prevent Anemia and Low Birth Weight

, it is important to know that apricots contain iron for preventing anemia as discussed above. It helps to make sure that mom as well as her developing baby gets enough oxygenated blood.

The major reason why the body requires potassium is for proper development of a baby.

Due to the need for support of cell function as well as for fluid and growth during pregnancy, potassium is needed in larger quantities. The Apricot contains nutrients that can make potassium easily absorbed, it’s recommended to consume apricot if your body needs potassium.

Water Content Prevents Dehydration

The fruit is a good source of vitamins A and C and daily consumption of one medium size apricot contains only 50 calories as it mostly contains water, containing well over 85% of the commodity. Apricots are rich in fiber and can be consumed at any time during pregnancy to manage mild dehydration and constipation in expectant moms.

Potential Downsides of Apricots

While apricots are packed with beneficial nutrients and make a healthy addition to most diets, there are a few things to be mindful of:While apricots are packed with beneficial nutrients and make a healthy addition to most diets, there are a few things to be mindful of:

Pesticide Residue in Non-Organic

The EWG 2021 Dirty Dozen list has it that 35% of apricot samples produced through conventional methods had two or more pesticide residues. If possible, one should opt for using organic apricots or else the non-organic ones should be washed thoroughly.

Containing Formaldehyde When Sulphited

Certain kinds of dried apricots contain sulfites which are used as preservatives. Despite the special benefits that sulfites have to offer, it is important to note that sulfites can trigger headaches or asthma in some individuals. Sulfurized dried apricots are available, but if not sulfurized, they will not last as long.

High FODMAP Content

Fresh and dried apricots contain carbohydrate chains known as FODMAP which may cause irritation to the gut causing IBS. Individuals with IBS should reduce the portions of apricot that is consumed to find out whether this can be tolerated.

Reflux Caused by High Acid

Some people who have acid reflux or GERD may be affected by the malic acid that is inherent in apricots. It is recommended to enjoy them outside when you are not eating, and avoid foods that cause reflux if you are suffering from reflux, apricots are recommended.

Dried Apricots has a high caloric value and contain large amounts of sugars.

Dried apricots contain sugar from the natural fruit fructose but being dried, they are extremely high in calories, 313 calories per 100g serving and contain 69g sugar. May be consumed occasionally and should be included as such if the carbohydrate spikes are high in the diet for diabetics.

Conclusion

They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and they are low calorie especially when eaten fresh. Besides eating fresh apricots when they are in season, or adding unsulfured dried apricots to meals, getting the nutrient benefits can help with digestion, eye health, skin and pregnancy health as well as strengthen bones and boost heart. Just bear in mind the pesticide residue if it is organically grown or sulfite if they are dried fruits. Eating apricots should be a part of maintaining a healthy eating plan, proper hydration to enhance body health.

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