Apricot Health Benefits | Apricot Nutrition Facts
Apricot meaning in Hindi is Khubani. We eat fruits for a fruitful life. Fruits are a mine of essential vitamins, minerals, and plant chemicals, along with fibers. A diet high in fruits and vegetables can help protect against many chronic diseases.
Apricots are one of those fruits. They are vastly nutritious and have numerous health benefits, including heart health, digestive support, and good vision. This article will give you a thorough understanding of this abundant fruit.
What Are Apricots?
Apricots are small, round, sour-tasting stone fruits. They are yellowish-orange in color. Apricots are from the Prunus armeniaca species and are closely related to the plum family.
The Apricot in Hindi is Khubani. They are a good source of Vitamin A and have high natural sugar content. They are cultivated throughout temperate regions, primarily in the Mediterranean. Canning or drying is used to preserve apricots. Dried apricots are full of iron.
Apricot Health Benefits
May Enhance Eye Health
Apricots possess different elements that aid eye health, such as vitamins A and E. Vitamin A makes the retina’s light pigments work correctly. Lack of vitamin A may result in night blindness. 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3880510/ Beta carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, meaning the body can convert it into this vitamin. 2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20200262/ Beta carotene gives the yellow-orange complexion to apricots.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects our eyes from free radicals, which are harmful compounds that damage our cells and cause oxidative stress. 3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693724/ Apricots also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are responsible for protecting our eyes from oxidative stress.
May Foster Skin Health
You may have seen cosmetic products with apricot as an ingredient. You guessed right! Apricot does have the potential to boost your skin health. Oxidative stress caused by the sun, pollution, smoking, and alcohol is the prime reason for skin damage and wrinkles.
Furthermore, sunburns directly connect with the risk of melanoma, a lethal form of skin cancer. 4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15617990/, 5https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27045074/ Apricots have good vitamin C content. A diet rich in vitamin C can help protect against UV rays and pollutants by deactivating free radicals.
It also helps heal UV damage and prevent wrinkles. 6https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579659/ Moreover, this vitamin helps synthesize collagen, a protein that gives skin strength and elasticity. A 10-week analysis revealed beta carotene supplementation protects against sunburn. 7https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18086246/
May Reduce The Risk Of Chronic Diseases
We already know apricot has many antioxidant compounds such as vitamins A, C, E, and beta carotene. There is another group of antioxidants called flavonoids, which according to studies, may prevent chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. 8https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26742071/, 9https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28620474/, 10 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22935143/
Oxidative stress caused by free radicals can induce obesity and heart disease. Flavonoids can neutralize free radicals, thus helping reduce the risk. 11https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4307252/, 12https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28230726/
Benefits Of Fiber
Apricot contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and softens our stool. It is also a nutrient beneficial for gut bacteria and may regulate blood sugar and cholesterol. 13https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23609775/, 14https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19335713/ On the other hand, insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and may help pass through waste. It may also reduce the risk of diabetes. 15https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18287346/, 16https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17760498/
Related Article: What Is Fiber? Health Benefits, Food Sources And Daily Requirements
Potassium is a mineral that also acts as an electrolyte. Our body needs potassium for the proper functioning of nerves and muscle contraction. It plays a role in moving nutrients into the cells and removing cell waste. It also maintains heart health by keeping the heart rate consistent.
Potassium-rich foods can lower blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. The more potassium we eat, the more sodium we lose through urine. Besides, potassium eases the tension in our blood vessel walls, which also lowers blood pressure.
However, potassium can be harmful to kidney patients who take certain medications or people with any condition that affects how the body manages potassium. 17https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/how-potassium-can-help-control-high-blood-pressure If you have the conditions mentioned above, consult your doctor before consuming potassium foods or supplements.
How To Eat Apricot
Apricot is safe to eat raw. All you need to do is wash the fruit, cut it into halves, remove the stone, and enjoy eating. Apricots are also available dried, which is very convenient and can be a yummy addition to yogurt or porridge, or you can have them as snacks.
They are also used in jams, preserves, salsas, and apricot desserts like cakes, pastries, and pies. You can also add apricot to cereals. Studies show that canning or freezing apricots do not reduce their nutritional value. So, feel free to eat them canned or frozen as well. 18https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29786843/
Apricot Safety Concerns
Are Apricots Unsafe To Consume?
Let’s take a sigh of relief here; they are good. The only concern is for the kernels. Amygdalin is a naturally occurring chemical substance in the apricot kernel. When anyone eats amygdalin, it converts into cyanide, a quickly reacting, potentially deadly chemical.
A Small Dose Of Cyanide Consumption Can Cause 19https://emergency.cdc.gov/agent/cyanide/basics/facts.asp#:~:text=Immediate%20signs%20and%20symptoms%20of,Nausea%20and%20vomiting
-Nausea and vomiting
-Rapid heart rate
A High Dose Of Cyanide Consumption Can Cause
-Loss of consciousness
-Slow heart rate
-Low blood pressure
-Circulatory problems and cardiac arrest
-Inability to breath
Studies indicate 0.5-3.5 milligrams (mg) of cyanide per kilogram of body weight can be dangerous. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) suggests that eating more than three small raw apricot kernels or less than half of one large kernel in a serving can exceed safe levels. Infants consuming even one small apricot kernel risk being over the safe. 20level.https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/160427
What Is Vitamin B17 Or Laetrile?
Laetrile, or vitamin B17, is a somewhat synthetic form of amygdalin. It is proposed as an alternative to cancer treatment. However, there is no scientific evidence of this found in research. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) disapproves of using laetrile in the US. 21https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cms_ia/importalert_167.html Also, the American Institute of Nutrition Vitamins has not approved it as a vitamin. 22https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK65722/
What About Vitamin B15 Or Calcium Pangamate?
Also present in the apricot kernel is another alleged vitamin, B15, or calcium pangamate. It follows in brother B17’s footsteps. Like laetrile, calcium pangamate has been proposed for curing cancer, but there is no reliable evidence. The FDA considers it unsafe for food and drug use, too. 23https://www.fda.gov/regulatory-information/search-fda-guidance-documents/cpg-sec-457100-pangamic-acid-and-pangamic-acid-products-unsafe-food-and-drug-use
In fact, scientists concluded that calcium pangamate can cause genetic mutations and has a 90% chance of causing rather than healing cancer. 24https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/370392
Conclusion And My Recommendation
An Apricot is a wonderful fruit. Like most fruits, it is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also has a decent fiber content. Apricot has potential health benefits. The antioxidants in it bolster eye health and skin health and protect against chronic diseases. Because of their fiber content, apricot improves gut health, too.
Apricots are super rich in potassium, which helps maintain fluid balance and lower blood pressure. However, as we’ve discussed, some conditions may contraindicate potassium consumption. So, consult your physician before eating potassium foods or supplements.
Furthermore, apricot kernels contain amygdalin, which can metabolize to cyanide in the body. This can be fatal. Laetrile and calcium pangamate are supplements derived from amygdalin. Manufacturers and health stores propagate them as vitamins B17 and B15, respectively, and claim they are cancer-curing agents.
However, top health authorities have denied the claim and also disapproved of them as vitamins. Plus, research says they can be harmful instead of helpful. Therefore, my friends do not consume apricot kernels or products such as laetrile and calcium pangamate.
Nonetheless, eating apricot is very healthy. Remember to eat a range of fruits as a part of a balanced diet to ensure you get all the nutrients your body requires.
What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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About Rohit Kumar
Rohit Kumar is an avid writer who puts a lot of his emotions in words through his articles. Today, he is a certified fitness expert with a vast knowledge on nutrition and has contributed to the pages of Fabulous Body with his articles.