Apricots are originally from China but arrived in Europe via Armenia, which is why the scientific name is Prunus armenaica. Dried and canned apricots are available year-round, fresh apricots with a plentiful supply of vitamin C and are in season in North America from May through August. 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. Essential oil from the pits is sold commercially as bitter almond oil. Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, U.S.A. and France is the leading producers of apricots.
- Antioxidants. The high beta-carotene content of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Beta-carotene helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease. For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened fruit. Look for fruits with a rich orange color while avoiding those that are pale and yellow. Fruits should be slightly soft.
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Free radical damage can injure the eyes’ lenses; therefore, vitamin A promotes good vision.
- Fiber. Apricots are a good source of fiber, which has a wealth of benefits including preventing constipation and digestive conditions such as diverticulitis.
Dried Apricots are more nutritious than fresh ones; they last longer, and are available during the off seasons. Dried Apricotshave a higher sugar content compared to fresh ones, but this goes to almost all dried fruits.
- Low calorie levels. Dried Apricots have low calorie levels in comparison to other fruits. For example: for every 3 apricots you consume, you get around 50 calories.
- Iron. Iron is also among the various health benefits of dried apricots. Dried Apricots are good for the anemic due to their richness in iron.
- Natural Laxative. Dried Apricots a gentle Natural Laxative that can be used to Ease Constipation. It is advisable for people with chronic constipation to make an effort of eating 6-8 apricots a day. Dried Apricots also trigger alkaline reactions in the body ensuring improved digestions.
Note: Eating 3 or more servings of fruit per day may lower your risk of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), the primary cause of vision loss in older adults by 36%, compared to persons who consume less than 1.5 servings of fruit daily.