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.
Just 2 fresh apricots (70 grams) provide (1Trusted Source):
- Carbs:?8 grams
- Protein:?1 gram
- Fat:?0.27 grams
- Fiber:?1.5 grams
- Vitamin A:?8% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C:?8% of the DV
- Vitamin E:?4% of the DV
- Potassium:?4% of the DV
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 (2Trusted Source,?3Trusted Source,?4Trusted Source).
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 (5,?6Trusted Source,?7Trusted Source).
The main flavonoids in apricots are chlorogenic acids, catechins, and quercetin (5).
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 (8Trusted Source,?9Trusted Source,?10Trusted Source).
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 (11Trusted Source).
SUMMARYApricots 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).
SUMMARYApricots 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.
Notably, you can fight some of this skin damage through a healthy diet full of antioxidants, which apricots provide.
Vitamins C and E, both found in this fruit, may aid your skin. In particular, vitamin C protects against UV damage and environmental pollutants by neutralizing free radicals (19Trusted Source).
Furthermore, this vitamin helps build collagen, which gives your skin strength and elasticity. Eating a diet high in vitamin C can help your skin heal from UV damage and prevent wrinkles (19Trusted Source).
Beta carotene, another apricot nutrient, may protect against sunburns. In a 10-week study, supplementing with beta carotene reduced sunburn risk by 20% (20Trusted Source).
While you should still use sunscreen, munching on apricots may offer additional protection.
SUMMARYApricots 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.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced apricots provides 3.3 grams of fiber, which is 8.6% and 13.2% of the DV for men and women, respectively (1Trusted Source).
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 (21Trusted Source).
While a single apricot (35 grams) holds only 0.7 grams of fiber, it?s easy to eat a few in one sitting (1Trusted Source).
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 (24,?25Trusted Source).
Two apricots (70 grams) provide 181 mg of this mineral, which is 4% of the DV.
One analysis of 33 studies found that a diet rich in potassium significantly reduced blood pressure and resulted in a 24% lower risk of stroke (26Trusted Source).
SUMMARYPotassium 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.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced, fresh apricots provides almost 2/3 cup (142 ml) of water (1Trusted Source).
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 (27,?30Trusted Source).
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 (1Trusted Source,?27,?30Trusted Source).
SUMMARYApricots 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.
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.
SUMMARYIn 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:
- stirred into trail mix or granola
- eaten fresh as a snack
- sliced and added to?yogurt?or salad
- used in jams, preserves, and salsas
- stewed in a slow-cooker with meat, such as chicken or beef
- added to desserts like pies, cakes, and pastries
As they?re sweet and tart, apricots can be used as a replacement for peaches or plums in most recipes.
SUMMARYBoth fresh and dried apricots are widely available. You can eat them on their own or add them to your favorite dishes, sides, or desserts.