Apricot Benefits and Side Effects

Apricot Benefits and Side Effects

Apricot is an Asian summer delicacy which is believed to have been originated in China. This small and sweet fruit is rich in fibre and an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it is a good source of beta-carotene which gives apricot fruit a distinct golden orange color. In fact, Greeks named them “Golden eggs of the sun” when they first brought apricots to Europe


The apricot fruits are approximately 4 to 5 cm in diameter and weigh around 35 g. It grows well in mountain slope soils. Temperate regions, especially Mediterranean regions are best suited for its cultivation. Turkey is the largest producer of apricots, accounting for 27% of the world’s total apricot production. In India, apricots are mainly cultivated in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the hills of Uttarakhand. 

Apricot Benefits and Side Effects


Apricot is considered to be one of the healthiest fruits. Dried apricots are a rich source of iron. So if you are anemic, having dried apricots can be beneficial. Egyptians used dried apricots to prepare a special drink called Amar-al-din to enjoy its varied health benefits. Apricot oil is very beneficial for the skin and hair.


Some basic facts about Apricot:


Botanical name: Prunus armeniaca

Family: Rosaceae

Common Name: Apricot in English, Khubani in Hindi

Sanskrit name: Andhigraha

Parts used: Fruit, seeds

Native and geographical distribution: The origin of apricots is not clearly known. It is believed that the Chinese were the original cultivators of this fruit. However a few believe that Armenia was the first to grow them. Temperate regions, especially Mediterranean regions are best suited for apricot cultivation. Apricots are also cultivated in Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, USA, and France

  • Apricot nutrition facts
  • Apricot health benefits
  • Apricot uses
  • Apricots side effects
  • Takeaway


Apricot nutrition facts

Apricots are fruits abundant in vitamins and minerals with very few side effects. Apricots are rich in polyphenols, carotenoids, and ascorbic acid. They are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and are also enriched with potassium and calcium. Apricots are also rich in fibre content.


According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, 100g of Apricots contain the following values:


Nutrient Values per 100 g

Water 86.35 g

Energy 48 kcal

Protein 1.40 g

Total lipid 0.39 g

Ash 0.75 g

Carbohydrate 11.12 g

Fibre 2.0 g

Sugars 9.24 g

Fructose 0.94 g

 

Minerals Value per 100 g

Calcium 13 mg

Iron 0.39 mg

Magnesium 10 mg

Phosphorus 23 mg

Potassium 259 mg

Sodium 1 mg

Zinc 0.20 mg

Copper 0.078 mg

Manganese 0.077 mg

Selenium 0.1 µg

 


Vitamins Value per 100 g

Vitamin A 96 µg

Vitamin B1 0.030 mg

Vitamin B2 0.040 mg

Vitamin B6 0.054 mg

Vitamin C 10 mg

Vitamin E 0.89 mg

Vitamin K 3.3 µg

 

Fats/Fatty acids Value per 100 g

Saturated 0.027 g

Monounsaturated 0.170 g

Polyunsaturated 0.077 g

Apricot health benefits

  • Apricots for diabetes
  • Apricots for inflammation
  • Apricots for eyes
  • Apricots prevent liver damage
  • Apricots for high blood pressure
  • Apricots for heart
  • Apricot for constipation
  • Apricots for gastritis
  • Apricots for cancer

Apricots for diabetes

Apricots rank low on the glycemic index (GI) which means they do not increase the blood glucose levels significantly. Low GI foods are especially recommended for diabetic people so as to keep their blood glucose levels in check. Consuming moderate amounts of apricots will not let the glucose level to rise rapidly. Clinical studies suggest that the antioxidant properties of apricot along with the presence of hypoglycemic compounds such as anthocyanin and carotenoids can help reduce the risk of diabetes. It was further added that apricot consumption doesn't have any evident side  effects on diabetic people.


Apricots for inflammation

Apricots contain an essential compound called catechins that are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. A single apricot can provide a good amount of catechin. Animal studies suggest that apricots are very useful in reducing the symptoms of Inflammatory bowel disease (IBS). However, much of the research about the health benefits of catechin is done on animal models and clinical studies are still needed to confirm the anti-inflammatory potential of apricots on humans.


Apricots for eyes

Apricots are rich in β-carotene which is very beneficial for the eye health. Several studies have been done to understand the role of beta-carotene in preventing age-related eye diseases. As per its findings of a clinical study, apricot and other fruits and vegetables that are rich in β-carotene can help reduce the risk of age-related macular disorder (AMD). Another study done on animal models claimed that topical application of apricot kernel extracts can help cure dry eye disease. 


Age-related eye problems are on the rise and it is believed that eating foods that are rich in nutrients that are beneficial for the eye can help reduce the risk of age-related eye issues.


Apricots prevent liver damage

Liver is the largest internal organ and one of the most important organs in the human body. Its primary role is to purify the blood coming from the digestive tract before the blood reaches the other parts of the body. It is also responsible for the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates. Research suggests that apricots are an excellent hepatoprotective (protects liver).


In vivo studies claim that regular consumption of apricots can prevent the fatty liver disease, which is the build-up of unwanted fat in the liver.


Liver is one of the body organs with the unique ability to regenerate. A study was conducted on animal models to evaluate if sun-dried apricots can help in liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. Partial hepatectomy is the removal of cancerous cells from the liver in order to curb the spreading of the disease to other parts of the body. The abovementioned study showed positive results in liver regeneration after consuming apricots for just 21 days.


Apricots for high blood pressure

Hypertension is a condition that occurs when the blood pressure is above the normal levels-120/80 mmHg in adults. It is mainly caused due to stress, unhealthy food habits, and other lifestyle factors. Hypertension can lead to a wide range of health complication such as stroke, heart failure, dementia etc. that could sometimes be fatal. Research shows that the fibre content present in apricots can help regulate the blood pressure, thereby preventing hypertension. Additionally, apricots are rich in potassium and low in sodium content which has been reported to be beneficial for maintaining blood pressure levels.


Apricots for heart

Work-life imbalance, pressure, tension, eating habits, lack of exercise, etc. are the leading causes of cardiovascular problems. A study was done on animal models to investigate if apricot consumption can have a positive effect on Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (MI). MI occurs when blood returns to the tissues after being deprived of oxygen. The study suggests that the antioxidants present in apricot may play a role in reducing heart damage by MI. Another study claims that apricots are rich in various cardioprotective compounds like polyphenols, carotenoids, and other essential minerals and vitamins. All of these are effective against heart diseases such as the coronary heart disease (CHD).  


Apricot for constipation

Constipation is a very common problem amongst every generation. If this condition is not treated, it may lead to colorectal cancer. Research suggests that foods rich in fiber can help prevent constipation. They provide bulk to the food and help regulate bowel movements. Additionally, soluble fibers help in maintaining the good bacteria in the intestines which is very beneficial for easier digestion of food.


Apricots for gastritis

Gastritis refers to the inflammation of the inner lining of the stomach. There are several causes for gastritis. Some common causes include alcohol abuse, stress and regular intake of medication that causes the lining of the stomach to erode. The ulcer-causing bacteria Helicobacter pylori is also considered one of the causes of gastritis. Several studies have shown that apricots can prevent chronic gastritis. Just 3 apricots every day can reduce stomach inflammation and prevent the infection caused by Helicobacter pylori. In an earlier study, it was claimed that apricots can reduce the motility of Helicobacter pylori thus preventing it from infecting the stomach.


Apricots for cancer

Cancer is one of the leading causes of mortality all over the world. While the exact cause of this disease is unknown, free radical accumulation is widely being linked to cancer development. Research shows that apricot can help reduce the risk of cancer because it is loaded with antioxidants that can effectively neutralise these free radicals. Amygdalin, a plant substance found in apricot kernels are believed to be an effective anti-cancer agent. It reduces the multiplication of cancer cells in the body and induces apoptosis (natural cell death) in cancer cells. Thus, apricots may have a potential in the treatment of cancer.


Apricots also contain a variety of carotenoids which exhibit significant antioxidant activity. A study done on 37 apricot varieties showed that these fruits are loaded with a wide range of carotenoids. Studies suggest that intake of foods rich in carotenoids can reduce the risk of different types of cancer.


Apricot uses

Apricots can be consumed raw or after cooking them. It is better to eat apricots when they are fresh but they can also be consumed after drying them under the sun. Dried apricots hold a special place among dried fruits. These fruits are used to make jam, jellies, juices and also used to flavour beverages, especially alcoholic beverages. Apricot papads are also made from this fruit. 


Apricots side effects

Amygdalin, a plant substance present in apricots might lead to cyanide poisoning in human beings. There have been two reported cases of amygdalin poisoning. Symptoms like fever, headache, and severe abdominal cramps were noted in one of the patients.

Apricot consumption might lead to allergic reaction in some people. A study observed that the major allergen in apricots is the lipid transfer protein (LTP).

Takeaway

Apricot is rich in several nutrients and minerals. They are easily available. Dried apricots have almost the same health benefits as fresh apricots. Side effects of eating apricots are very minimal. So apricots could be a good addition to your daily diet.

0/Post a Comment/Comments

Previous Post Next Post