One of the best signs of springs is when you start to see apricots become available. These delicious stone fruits come into season toward the end of spring in the warmer areas where they grow, such as California and Australia.
Also sometimes called Armenian plums, apricots are round and yellow and look a bit like a peach, though they share more of the tartness of purple plums. But as delicious and refreshing as these tiny fruits are, they are not widely eaten, at least not in this country.
But I’m about to share some pretty awesome health benefits apricots offer and when you read these, I think you’ll start eating more!
1. They’re Packed with Nutrients
Apricots are very nutritious and contain many essential vitamins and minerals. Just 2 regular-sized apricots provide:
- Calories: 34
- 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
In addition, apricots are an excellent source of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body and decrease your likelihood of developing numerous diseases. But those aren’t even the only antioxidants! Apricots also contain vitamins A, C, E and a group of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against certain illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
2. May Support Eye Health
As I just mentioned, apricots contain vitamins A and E, which are both essential for optimal eye health. Vitamin a plays a major role in preventing night blindness (a disorder caused by a lack of pigment in your eyes) while vitamin E protects your eyes from free radical damage. And all of that beta carotene that gives apricots their yellow-orange color? Well it is a precursor to vitamin A, meaning your body can take it and convert it into vitamin A.
3. May Boost Skin Health
You know that most skin damage is a result of environmental factors such as the sun, pollution, and cigarette smoke. The antioxidants in apricots can ward off those free radicals that result from these environmental factors.
The vitamin C in apricots also helps your body produce more collagen. You most likely know that as we age, the production of collagen slows. Collagen is the “glue” that keeps our body together and elastic in nature. Once production declines, your skin begins to sag and form wrinkles.
Beta carotene has also been shown to help reduce sunburn risk by 20%. While you should still use sunblock, eating this delicious fruit more often may help protect your skin.
4. May Promote Gut Health
The average apricot contains 3.3 grams of fiber, which is 8.6% and 13.2% of the DV for men and women, respectively. More importantly, this fiber is both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and includes pectin, gums, and long chains of sugar called polysaccharides. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin.
Soluble fiber is important for maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also feeds the beneficial gut bacteria. And the healthier your gut microbiome, the better your overall health.
5. May Protect Your Liver
There is data that suggests apricots may help protect your liver from oxidative stress. In two animal studies, rats fed both alcohol and apricots had lower levels of liver enzymes and markers of inflammation than the rats fed only alcohol and no apricots.
While human research is necessary, it seems that the high antioxidants content may also benefit the health of our human liver as well.
6. May Decrease Blood Pressure
Apricots are high in potassium, a mineral that also serves as an electrolyte. Not only does potassium help our body regulate muscle contractions and send nerve signals, but it also helps to maintain a heathy blood pressure.
Salt is always the culprit when we speak about high blood pressure, and while no one should eat unreasonable amounts of it, the real culprit is a sodium/potassium ratio that is out of balance. Potassium works closely with sodium to maintain a healthy fluid balance, which helps prevent bloating and maintain a healthy blood pressure.
In fact, 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.
These are just some of the benefits apricots offer our health. And the best part is, beyond being incredibly tasty, they are so easy to add to your diet. You can easily slice some up and add to salads, yogurt or granola. You can slow-cook them with different meats or use in preserves and salsas.
Are There More Natural Treatments for High Blood Pressure?
Eating foods rich in potassium is definitely an effective way to lower your blood pressure. But there are other natural protocols that could help you get your blood pressure numbers down once and for all.
In fact, we’d like to introduce you to one doctor who has been helping her patients completely reverse diseases like hypertension and type 2 diabetes all through natural means. We invite you to watch the following video to learn how you can lower your blood pressure for good and stop worrying about your risk of stroke.