Apricots are small, golden orange coloured fruits belonging to the Rosaceae family of fruit trees which also include peaches, plums and nectarine. These fruits are generally available in summer season, though dried and canned apricots are available all the year round. Apricots have a velvety skin and flesh. They are not too juicy but have a smooth and sweet flavour which is slightly musky with a faint tartness somewhat similar to plums.
An apricot fruit, also known as Khubani/Khumani/Jardalu in Hindi and ‘Jaldaru’ in Telugu, comprises of a centrally located single seed surrounded by crunchy aromatic edible flesh. The seed is also edible and resembles almonds in taste and appearance. It is enclosed in a hard stony shell often called a “stone”. Oil extracted from these seeds is used in cooking.
Generally there are several varieties of apricots out of which one or two are available in your local supermarket or fruit stand. These small fruits are very versatile and can be enjoyed both fresh and dried though fresh ones have higher vitamin C content. Dried apricots are more long lasting and are generally preferred by dieters as a snack. Moreover, they are more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. Apart from being consumed as they are, these fruits are a delicacy that can be used in a number of ways and recipes.
Health Benefits of Apricot:
Apricots are as healthy as any other fruits like apples, pears, oranges or bananas. Besides, they can be excellent diet food as they are extremely low in calories and high in antioxidants and dietary fibre. Both fresh and dried apricots are equally beneficial due to their dense nutrient content. Here are apricot health benefits.
Apricots are rich in antioxidants which protect our bodies from free radicals and damage of cells. Free radicals are produced within the body due to pollution, UV rays and smoke. They hinder the normal process of cell growth, bringing about changes in DNA of the cells. This leads to the formation of cancer cells. Apricots are rich in vitamins A and C which are powerful antioxidants that fight cancer diseases and boost immune system. Moreover apricot seeds contain a compound called B17 that can fight cancer.
2. 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.
3. Heart Health:
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.
4. Treatment of Anaemia:
Apricot is a rich source of iron that plays an important role in the formation of blood. , thus improving blood flow and energy flow. Deficiency of iron can cause anaemia. Besides, apricot also contains small amounts of copper that enables the body to absorb iron. Thus, prolonged consumption of apricots helps in the production of haemoglobin which is very useful, particularly for women with heavy flow.
5. Aids in Weight Loss:
Apricots are rich in dietary fibre and low in calories. This makes them a suitable addition to weight loss program.
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6. Beneficial for Eyes:
Apricot is rich in vitamins A, C and E as well as carotenoids that reduce the risk of eye vision problems. Thus, they improve eye health and prevent macular degeneration.
7. Relieves Asthma:
Apricots have proved to be beneficial in relieving symptoms of asthma, tuberculosis and bronchitis.
8. Bone Health:
Apricots are rich in calcium which is vital for the formation and development of bones. Thus, eating apricots helps in maintaining bone health and prevents bone related problems.
9. Relieves Fever:
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.
10. 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.
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11. 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.
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