Dried apricots are made by drying apricot fruits. Their water content is evaporated without reducing their nutritive value (1).
These apricots are energy-dense. A cup of dried apricot halves contains around 313 calories (2). They also are rich in potassium, fiber, iron, and vitamins A, C, and E.
Their fiber content could have a role to play in treating constipation. The fruits are also good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that are known to boost eye health. They may also have beneficial effects on diabetes and inflammation. In this post, we will elaborate on the health benefits of dried apricots.
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What Are The Benefits Of Having Dried Apricots?
Dried apricots are rich in important nutrients, including fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Some research shows that they may be of help during pregnancy. If consumed in moderation, dried apricots, like most dried fruits, may also help supplement your weight loss efforts.
1. Are Rich In Nutrients
Dried apricots are rich in vital nutrients. They are replete with potassium, fiber, and several other nutrients.
A hundred grams of dried apricots (or about 30 dried apricot halves) contains the following (2):
- 241 calories
- 4 g of protein
- 5 g of fat
- 63 g of carbohydrates
- 3 g of fiber
- 1160 mg of potassium
- 55 mg of calcium
- 3 mg of iron
- 32 mg of magnesium
- 71 mg of phosphorus
- 2 mcg of selenium
- 180 mcg of vitamin A
- 1 mg of vitamin C
- 10 mcg of folate
Apricots of different cultivars contain varying amounts of polyphenolic compounds. These commonly contain gallic acid, rutin, epicatechin, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, catechin, procyanidins, caffeic acid, epigallocatechin, and chlorogenic acid (3).
2. May Help With Weight Loss When Taken In Moderation
As discussed, dried apricots are high in calories. But they also contain fiber, and consuming them in moderation may help with your weight loss plans.
Six dried apricots (40 grams) contain about 10 grams of total fiber (4).
In a cross-sectional study, a lower intake of fresh whole and dried fruits was associated with a higher BMI in subjects. Some research also suggests that both fresh and dried fruits can help reduce hunger, increase meal satisfaction, and decrease energy intake when taken as snacks or along with meals (4).
Dried apricots are healthy, and their high fiber content may complement your weight loss diet. But there is no research linking dried apricots directly to weight loss. Hence, practice moderation and consult a registered dietitian.
3. May Be Beneficial During Pregnancy
Apricots contain iron that may help improve blood health.
A woman’s blood volume increases by 50 percent during pregnancy. This means she would need more iron in her diet. Dried apricots are a good source of iron and may help in this regard (5).
Pregnancy and lactation may cause metabolic changes in your body. Too little exercise or an unbalanced diet can often lead to constipation. Drinking enough water and consuming fiber-rich foods, like dried apricots, may relieve digestive issues (6).
4. May Help Treat Anemia
The iron in apricots could help in the treatment of anemia.
In anemia, your blood lacks an adequate supply of healthy red blood cells (RBCs). This occurs due to a deficiency of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying molecule in the blood). Hemoglobin shortage occurs due to iron deficiency (7).
Severe blood loss, chronic bleeding in the stomach, and chronic inflammation may also cause anemia. Pregnant and menstruating women are at a higher risk of anemia (8).
However, you may not be able to meet your daily iron intake through dried apricots alone. A cup of dried apricot halves contains about 3.5 milligrams of iron (2). You may have to consume 10 such cups to meet your daily iron intake. Hence, we suggest you also include other sources of iron in your diet, like spinach, lentils, and beans.
5. May Help Relieve Constipation
The fiber in dried apricots may play a role here.
Dietary fiber increases stool bulk and accelerates its movement through the colon (10).
When fiber is fermented in the intestine, it produces short-chain fatty acids (butyrate, propionate, acetate, etc.). These alter the gut microbiome (microorganisms) by decreasing the luminal pH. This further improves stool consistency, quantity, and mobility, thereby treating constipation (10).
Dried apricots contain fiber and can aid in constipation treatment (11).
6. May Aid Diabetes Treatment
Moderate amounts of fructose from dried fruits (including dried apricots) may also help control postprandial glucose levels (12).
Dried apricots were also found to have beneficial effects on insulin levels (13).
7. May Promote Eye Health
The lutein and zeaxanthin in dried apricots may contribute to eye health. These nutrients function as blue light filters and protect the ophthalmic tissues from phototoxic damage (14). They may also lower the risk of cataracts (14).
8. May Improve Bone Mineral Density
Low bone mineral density is common in aging and post-menopausal women. It is the leading cause of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and other similar bone disorders (15). The boron in dried apricots may help improve bone mineral density.
In studies, postmenopausal women who took 3 to 4 mg of boron a day for a year showed an improvement in bone mineral density (15).
9. May Protect Your Skin From Damage And Aging Effects
As is the case with any other food, there is a limit to the number of dried apricots you can eat in a day.
How Many Dried Apricots Can You Eat In A Day?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we need to consume about 1 to 2 cups of fruit every day. Those who are more active may need more (17).
When it comes to dried fruits, half a cup of them counts as a cup of fruit (17). Though there is no information about the dosage of dried apricots, you may have a cup of them in a day.
There is less information on the side effects of dried apricots. The fruit is naturally healthy in normal food amounts. However, you should be careful while purchasing dried apricots (or any dried fruit) from the market.
Certain dried fruits in the market are also preserved using sulfur dioxide, which may trigger asthma in susceptible individuals (20).
Dried apricots are replete with several essential nutrients. They can be an excellent healthful snack. But as they are calorie-dense, we suggest you limit their portion sizes. A cup of dried apricots (about seven or eight) a day should suffice.
When you purchase dried apricots from the market, ensure you read the nutrition labels and double-check the manufactured dates.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Can eating dried apricots give you gas?
There is limited information available. Dried apricots are high in fiber, and studies show that a sudden intake of high fiber may lead to gas (21).
Should you wash dried apricots?
Unless the package says they are ready to eat, you should wash dried apricots. Once you wash them, allow them to dry before storing them in the refrigerator.
How can you enjoy dried apricots?
You can eat them as they are as an evening snack. You may also add them to your fruit salad or smoothie. You can also sprinkle your ice cream with pieces of dried apricots. Dried apricots also taste well when you simply dip them in your favorite cheese and munch (gouda cheese pairs well with dried apricots).
Are dried apricots anti-inflammatory?
Dried fruits, in general, have some anti-inflammatory benefits. However, there is no direct research stating the anti-inflammatory effects of dried apricots.
- FOOD PRESERVATION: Drying Fruits, North Dakota State University.
- Apricots, dried, sulfured, uncooked, U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central.
- Phenolic compounds and vitamins in wild and cultivated apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) fruits grown in irrigated and dry farming conditions, Biological Research, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Whole Fruits and Fruit Fiber Emerging Health Effects, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Eating for Two – A Healthy Pregnancy Starts with a Healthy Diet, The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
- Dried fruit and public health – what does the evidence tell us?, International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition.
- Diagnosis and management of iron deficiency anemia in the 21st century, Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Anemia, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
- Iron-deficiency anemia, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
- Diets for Constipation, Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Concerned About Constipation?, National Institute on Aging.
- Postprandial Glycaemic Responses of Dried Fruit-Containing Meals in Healthy Adults: Results from a Randomised Trial, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Effect of dried fruit on postprandial glycemia: a randomized acute-feeding trial, Nutrition & Diabetes, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Fruits and vegetables that are sources for lutein and zeaxanthin: the macular pigment in human eye, British Journal of Ophthalmology.
- Microelements for bone boost: the last but not the least, Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Skin Carotenoids in Public Health and Nutricosmetics: The Emerging Roles and Applications of the UV Radiation-Absorbing Colourless Carotenoids Phytoene and Phytofluene, Nutrients, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- What foods are in the Fruit Group?, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Mycotoxins in botanicals and dried fruits: a review, Food additives & contaminants, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Fungal Presence in Selected Tree Nuts and Dried Fruits, Microbiology Insights, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Sulphur dioxide in foods and beverages: its use as a preservative and its effect on asthma, British Journal of Diseases of the Chest, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
- Foods that May Cause Gas, International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
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