Apricots look like peaches, but they are smaller in size. Their golden orange color, silky skin, and juicy flesh make them an inviting and adorable food. Apricot fruits are smooth and sweet, especially when freshly picked, although some people find them slightly tart. Full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and fiber, fresh apricots are available in summer. The rest of the fruit is in a dried and canned form and is on sale throughout the year. If you have eaten a peach and a plum before, then apricots’ taste is somewhere between that of these two fruits.
Health benefits of apricots
No matter how you eat your apricot, it will provide the following health benefits:
Protect against free radicals
Apricots have a large number of antioxidants. An excellent example of these is polyphenolic antioxidants like flavonoids. A diet containing many flavonoids and similar polyphenolics can reduce your chances of developing heart disease. It is also known that antioxidants can help your body fight off free radicals. If these manage to enter the body, they could eventually lead to inflammation and terrible diseases like cancer and heart disease. By eating apricots, you can obtain high amounts of flavonoids. Other kinds of antioxidants found in these fruits include proanthocyanidins, quercetin, catechins, epicatechins, hydroxycinnamic, caffeic acid, gallic acid, ferulic acid, and coumaric acid.
Safeguard your eyesight
Apricots have a large amount of beta-carotene. It is obvious, given their strong orange tinge. This and xanthophylls are nutrients that can protect your eyesight from the effects of aging. Lutein, a carotenoid found in this fruit, can keep your eye retina from damage triggered by blue light. If you eat three or more servings of apricots daily, and you are old, you can prevent vision loss.
Can reduce the odds of suffering inflammation
Catechins are a flavonoid phytonutrient found in this fruit and can also be found in green tea and cocoa. Since you can get 4 to 5 grams of catechins from just a single fruit, you can significantly help your body avoid inflammation. As catechins are an anti-inflammatory nutrient, they can inhibit the work of cyclooxygenase-2, a body enzyme linked to the process of inflammation. Although there are no specific studies linking catechins from apricots to reducing inflammation in blood vessels, catechins from foods like green tea and cocoa have been found to offer this advantage. Thus, the assumption is that apricots’ catechins can help reduce inflammation in the blood vessels and improve blood pressure control.
Can reduce constipation
The leading cause of constipation is a diet without enough fiber. Most refined foods don’t provide enough fiber and cannot prevent constipation. On the other hand, Apricots contain a lot of dietary fiber that is enough to support your digestive system, increase your bowel movements and eliminate constipation. A portion of this fiber is called soluble fiber, and its work is to help control the cholesterol levels in the blood.
Hydrate your body and skin
The most hydrating fruit you can eat is an apricot. It is a juicy fruit that can replenish your body’s level of electrolytes. Eat them to keep your skin wrinkle-free and adequately moisturized. Vitamin C levels in this fruit will boost skin health and improve its youthfulness.
How to buy the best apricots
Apricots can boost your overall body health. To ensure that you get the most out of them, ensure that you select the best fruits on the market. Here are selection tips for you:
- To buy the freshest apricots in the U.S, buy them from May to August. These summer months provide the best fruit quality. During winter, you will only find imported South American apricots.
- The most suitable fruits to select should have a rich orange color. Avoid any fruit with a pale yellow color.
- Did you know that fruits that are picked from a tree while ripe have a sweeter taste? It is the same case with apricots. Don’t buy very firm apricots, as this is a sign that they are not tree-ripened.
- Ripe fruits will provide the highest amount of antioxidants. So, buy these as long as they show no signs of decay or damage.
- Look for a USDA organic logo on the label when buying your apricots. It serves as a sign that the fruits have been organically grown and have no pesticides, heavy metals, or other toxins that could worsen your health.
Apricots are not only attractive to look at but are also very healthy foods to eat. The health benefits of apricots are many. So, eat an apricot daily to keep your system from the inflammation triggered by free radicals. Doing so will help reduce your odds of getting cancer, heart disease, arthritis, or vision loss.