Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are stone fruits also known as Armenian plums.
Round and yellow, they look like a smaller version of a peach but share the tartness of purple plums.
They’re extremely nutritious and have many health benefits, such as improved digestion and eye health.
Here are 9 health and nutrition benefits of apricots.
Apricots are very nutritious and contain many essential vitamins and minerals.
Furthermore, this fruit is a decent source of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body.
It’s best to enjoy apricots whole and unpeeled, as the skin boasts large amounts of fiber and nutrients. Be sure to discard the stone, as it’s inedible.
SUMMARYApricots are low in calories and fat while also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
Apricots are a great source of many antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamins A, C, and E.
What’s more, they’re high in a group of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.
These compounds work to neutralize free radicals, which are harmful compounds that damage your cells and cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to obesity and many chronic diseases, such as heart disease.
In one study in 2,375 people, researchers developed a scoring system to measure changes in levels of inflammatory markers.
They found that high flavonoid and anthocyanin intakes were associated with a 42% and 73% lower inflammation score, respectively. High flavonoid intake was also tied to a 56% lower oxidative stress score.
SUMMARY Apricots contain numerous antioxidants, most notably flavonoids. They help protect your body from oxidative stress, which is linked to many chronic diseases.
Vitamin A plays a vital role in preventing night blindness, a disorder caused by lack of light pigments in your eyes, while vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that enters your eyes directly to protect them from free radical damage (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Meanwhile, beta carotene — which gives apricots their yellow-orange color — serves as a precursor to vitamin A, meaning that your body can convert it into this vitamin (14Trusted Source).
SUMMARY Apricots are an excellent source of beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients protect your eyes against damage.
Eating apricots may benefit your skin.
What’s more, research indicates a direct link between ultraviolet (UV) light exposure, sunburns, and your risk of melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer.
Notably, you can fight some of this skin damage through a healthy diet full of antioxidants, which apricots provide.
While you should still use sunscreen, munching on apricots may offer additional protection.
SUMMARY Apricots are naturally high in antioxidants, which guard against environmental damage from sunlight, pollution, and cigarette smoke. These compounds may benefit your skin by lowering your risk of wrinkles and sunburn.
Apricots may promote gut health.
Apricots contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble kind dissolves in water and includes pectin, gums, and long chains of sugar called polysaccharides, while the insoluble kind doesn’t dissolve in water and includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
Apricots are particularly high in soluble fiber, which is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, fiber delays the movement of food through your digestive tract and feeds your beneficial gut bacteria. A healthier gut microbiome is linked to a lower risk of obesity.
SUMMARYApricots are a good source of soluble fiber, which feeds your healthy gut bacteria and may boost digestive health.
Apricots are high in potassium, a mineral that also serves as an electrolyte. In your body, it’s responsible for sending nerve signals and regulating muscle contractions and fluid balance.
Two apricots (70 grams) provide 181 mg of this mineral, which is 4% of the DV.
As potassium works closely with sodium to maintain fluid balance, adequate intake may help prevent bloating and maintain healthy blood pressure.
SUMMARY Potassium aids nerve signaling, muscle contractions, and fluid balance. Eating potassium-rich foods, such as apricots, may help prevent high blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.
Like most fruits, apricots are naturally high in water, which can help regulate blood pressure, body temperature, joint health, and heart rate.
As most people don’t drink enough water, eating fresh fruit can help you reach your daily needs.
If you’re dehydrated, your blood volume drops, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood. Furthermore, staying hydrated allows your blood to circulate waste products and nutrients throughout your body.
What’s more, eating apricots can be an easy way to replenish both water and electrolyte loss after exercise, as this fruit offers good amounts of water and potassium.
SUMMARY Apricots are naturally high in water, which is important for staying hydrated. Proper hydration is vital for several aspects of health, including blood pressure and heart rate.
Some data suggests that apricots may help protect your liver from oxidative stress.
This research suggests that apricots may help prevent liver damage because of their naturally high antioxidant content.
That said, it’s hard to know whether this fruit provides the same benefit in humans. More research is necessary.
SUMMARY In two rat studies, apricots were found to protect the liver from oxidative stress caused by the ingestion of alcohol. Yet, human studies are needed.
Both fresh and dried apricots make for a quick, delicious snack or an easy addition to your favorite meal. You can add them to your diet in a variety of ways, including:
As they’re sweet and tart, apricots can be used as a replacement for peaches or plums in most recipes.
SUMMARY Both fresh and dried apricots are widely available. You can eat them on their own or add them to your favorite dishes, sides, or desserts.
Apricots are a delicious fruit packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They have multiple benefits, including improved eye, skin, and gut health.
Fresh or dried, apricots are easy to add to yogurt, salads, and main meals.
If you’re used to eating peaches and plums, apricots can be a great way to change up your routine.