Apricot, scientifically known as Prunus armeciaca, is a nutritious fruit belonging to the Rosacea family. Its scientific name is derived from Armenia, where it is believed to have originated. It has been cultivated in India for more than 3000 years. It is a small, orange colored fruit with a soft, tangy flesh and a thin skin. Apricots are typically yellow or orange in color with a slight red tinge on one side. Its taste lies somewhere between plums and peaches, fruits to which it is closely related. The seed is enclosed in the hard shell, often called a “stone”. Apricot is a versatile fruit and can be enjoyed in many ways. Read on further to know about the health, skin and hair benefits of this tangy fruit.
Health Benefits of Apricot Fruit:
The health benefits of apricots can be attributed to the high concentration of nutrients present in it. Some of the apricot benefits for health include:
Apricot is an excellent source of antioxidants. Free radicals are usually caused due to pollution, sunrays and other environmental conditions. They hinder the process of cell growth, leading to changes in the DNA of the cells. This leads to the formation of cancer cells in the body. Therefore, consume apricots on a regular basis to protect yourself from cancer. Besides, studies have also revealed that apricot seeds contain a compound called B17, which helps in the treatment of cancer. It contains high levels of Vitamin A and C, which boost the immune system, fighting cancer causing cells.
2. Eye health:
Foods rich in Vitamin A, C, carotenoids and beta-carotene can help reduce the risk of vision problems. The degenerative effect of free radicals may lead to cataract. It can also inhibit the blood supply to the eyes, causing macular degeneration. The high levels of beta-carotene improve blood flow to the eyes, reversing age-related macular degeneration. It contains an antioxidant called Zea xanthin, which provides light filtering functions, thus improving vision.
Apricots contain a high amount of pectin, a soluble fiber, which helps in the treatment of constipation. It is often recommended to patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Fiber bulks up the stool, making it easier to transport through the bowels. It activates the peristaltic motion of the digestive tract, regulating the bowel movements. The high levels of fiber in apricot are also vital for colon health.
4. Bone health:
Apricots contain all the necessary nutrients required for healthy bone growth. Thus, eating apricots regularly will ensure the growth and development of the bones. It will also prevent age-related conditions, including osteoporosis. The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot reduce inflammation in the body, relieving arthritis pain and gout.
5. Fluid levels:
Potassium in apricot helps to maintain the fluid balance in the body, ensuring that energy is equally distributed throughout the organs. A healthy balance of electrolytes ensures that you have more energy and stamina to deal with day-to-day activities.
Apricot oil is known to cure earaches. Drop a few drops of apricot oil into the affected ear canal for quick relief.
Apricot juice is believed to cure fever. Its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties affect the body’s overall temperature, curing fever. Prepare a concoction using apricot juice and water. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to this concoction. Drink this concoction twice a day to relieve cold, cough and fever.
8. Heart health:
Apricot is an excellent fruit for maintaining heart health. Research has found that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C are less susceptible to heart diseases. The high levels of dietary fiber remove the excess cholesterol from the arteries, reducing strain on the heart. It protects the low-density lipoprotein from oxidation, preventing heart diseases and stroke. Potassium in apricot regulates the balance of intracellular and extracellular water levels, thereby regulating blood pressure. Half a cup of apricot provides the body with 10% of the recommended amount of potassium.
Apricot is an excellent source of iron, a mineral which plays a very important role in the formation of hemoglobin. In addition, apricot also contains copper, which aids in iron absorption. This improves the blood flow in the body, preventing anemia.
10. Weight loss:
This low calorie fruit will make an excellent addition to your weight loss regime. One hundred grams of apricot contain 45 calories. The insoluble fiber in apricot absorbs water and keeps the stomach full for a longer time. Fiber also promotes quick movement of food through the digestive tract.
11. Respiratory health:
Apricot oil is believed to be anti-asthmatic in nature. It is very beneficial for treating respiratory disease and its related symptoms. The oil has expectorant and stimulating qualities, which helps to relieve pressure and stress from the respiratory system. This helps to prevent asthma attacks.
Apricots are very beneficial for pregnant women. It contains several essential nutrients, which can help in the growth and development of the fetus. Pregnant women are advised to consume dried apricots as it contains high amounts of iron. Iron will facilitate the circulation of blood in the body, preventing anemia. The dietary fiber in apricots prevents indigestion and constipation in pregnant women.
Skin Benefits of Apricot Fruit:
13. Apricot scrub:
Apricot scrub is one of the most popular skin care products available. Ground apricot kernel is used in the scrub to get rid of dead skin cells, allowing your skin to renew itself. The exfoliating action of apricot scrub can help to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. Apricot scrub can also help you to get an even skin tone. It removes and exfoliates damaged skin, revealing the new and lighter skin cells beneath. It is also useful for eliminating skin blemishes.
The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot oil may help to treat acne and skin redness. The flesh of apricot is particularly beneficial for treating acne-prone skin. Apply a paste of apricot to cure acne and pimples. Apricot leaf juice is useful for treating scabies, sunburn and eczema. Apricot scrub reduces blackheads, unclogs the pores and deep cleanses the skin, preventing the occurrence of acne.
15. Sensitive skin:
Apricot kernel oil is very useful for sensitive skin. It is also used in baby products because of its mild and gentle nature.
Apricot oil is commonly used for massaging the body and skin. It is used in aromatherapy massages to keep the skin healthy and to balance the nervous system. Do not forget to consult your doctor before using it, especially if you have sensitive skin.
The hydrating properties of apricot kernel oil make it a natural moisturizer. The high levels of linoleic acid present in this oil maintain the moisture balance of the skin. It is lightweight oil that gets absorbed into the skin, without leaving any greasiness behind. This oil is suited for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin. You can also add a few drops of this oil to your moisturizer or serum.
18. Signs of ageing:
Regular consumption of apricot helps to maintain the elasticity and suppleness of the skin. Vitamin E in apricot helps to delay the signs of ageing. It also tones and firms the skin. You can use apricot paste as a facial mask to soften the skin.
19. Treat skin damage:
Apricot contains oleic acid and Vitamin A, which prevent skin damage. The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot are helpful for soothing minor skin conditions like eczema and dry skin.
Hair Benefits of Apricot Fruit:
The wide arrays of nutrients present in apricot make it very beneficial for the hair. Some of the benefits of apricot for the hair include:
20. Apricot kernel oil:
Several hair products claim to improve the growth and texture of the hair, but only a handful of these work. Instead of trying harmful and chemical-laden hair products, you can try apricot kernel oil to improve the health of your hair.
Regular consumption of apricot can do wonders to your hair. It promotes sebum production in the scalp, keeping it conditioned and moisturized. Add a few drops of apricot kernel oil to your shampoo and conditioner to make the hair soft, smooth and manageable. It is also used as treatment oil before chemical treatments. You can also use apricot kernel oil to manage frizzy hair. Take a few drops of apricot oil and smoothen through the hair.
22. Moisturized scalp:
Regular application of apricot oil can help to make the hair shiny and soft. Massage your scalp with apricot oil to keep the hair roots nourished and conditioned. It also stimulates the follicles, stimulating hair growth.
Apricot kernel oil is very beneficial for treating scalp conditions like an itchy scalp, dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.
The benefits of dried apricots stem from the fact that the drying process strips the fruit of its water content, without altering the nutritional value. As a result, the nutritive value of apricots is concentrated into a much more potent form, enhancing its benefits. Dried apricots are long lasting and are consumed widely as a nutritious snack.
Dry apricot contain a relatively high concentration of iron than fresh apricot. The type of iron supplied by dried apricot is known as non-heme iron. The non-heme iron takes a long time to get absorbed in the body. Consume dried apricots with Vitamin C rich foods to increase the iron absorption rate. Half a cup of dried apricots provides nearly 12% of the recommended dietary allowance of iron.
Dried apricots contain high levels of antioxidants and other potent phytonutrients like lutein, zea xanthin and beta cryptoxanthin. These compounds provide protection from free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can cause ageing, cancer and other harmful diseases. The total antioxidant or ORAC value of raw apricot is 1115 umol TE per 100 grams.
Dried apricots have a high content of Vitamin A, E and beta-carotene. Half cup serving of dried apricots provides 14% of the recommended amount of Vitamin A. Dried apricot contains high amounts of carbohydrates. In fact, half cup of dried apricots yields 3 times more calories than fresh apricots.
Dried apricots act as a natural laxative to flush out unwanted waste from the body. It also reacts with the body’s digestive juices, producing a more alkaline environment to aid digestion.
Choose organic dried apricots instead of the artificially dried variety. Organic dried apricot is brown in color and is not at all subjected to chemical treatment. Thus, organic dried apricots will help you reap the most benefits, without leading to any side effects. For best results, consume 4 to 6 servings of dried apricots daily.
Apricot kernel oil:
Apricot kernels contain an oil content of around 40 to 50%. The oil is extracted by the cold press method and refining the dried seeds of this fruit. It is composed of unsaturated fats, which include oleic acid and linoleic acid. Apricot oil is generally used in the manufacturing of cosmetics. It is added to soap, shower gels, moisturizers and conditioners. Several hair products also contain apricot kernel oil. Dried and canned apricots are available throughout the year, while fresh apricots are available from May to August.
- Allergies are a possible side effect of eating apricots in high amounts.
- Dried apricots are found to contain sulfites. Sulfites can have serious impact on the health, inducing asthmatic attacks. Thus, sulfite-sensitive people should avoid consuming dried apricots.
Apricot: Nutritional Value:
- The impressive health benefits of apricots are due to the wide range of nutrients present in it. Apricot is rich in vitamins like beta-carotene, Vitamin A, C E and K. It is rich in minerals like iron, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus. It is also a good source of antioxidants, dietary fiber and flavonoids.
|Apricots (Prunus armeniaca), fresh,|
Nutritive Value per 100 g,
Total-ORAC umol TE/100 g-1115.(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.4 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g||5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.240 mg||5%|
|Vitamin A||1926 IU||64%|
|Vitamin C||10 mg||16%|
|Vitamin E||0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin K||3.3 µg||3%|
Include this tangy and sweet fruit in your diet to benefit your health in multiple ways. Do leave us a comment below.