Apricots enjoy the rank of being a favourite fruit among masses around the world. All thanks to the delicious and juicy taste, apricots are enjoyed in all forms. Mostly people consume it fresh but little do they know that it is equally as beneficial in dry form as otherwise. Let’s tell you more about it:
What are Dried Apricots and Where do they come from?
Apricots belong to plant species Prunus armeniaca. Categorized as stone fruits they are also known as Armenian plums however they were first cultivated in China.
Apricots look like small versions of peach but theri tartness resembles that of a purple plums. Fresh apricots are an absolute delight but sadly they don’t last much longer as they are fragile. The good news is that this fruit can be savoured in dry form and the nutrients remain the same even in dry form. Only a few fruits come with this plus factor.
Apricots are dried by a simple drying method where water is evaporated keeping the nutritional content intact.
While the fresh apricots have a tarte taste, the dried aprciots feel like a chewy candy with delicious tangy flavour.
Nutritional Profile of Apricots
Apricots naturally contain lots of vitamins and minerals and hence therefore quite a popular part of fruits based diets like Mediterranean diet. About eight halves of the fruit or ¼ cup makes one serving of dried apricot. Let’s look at the nutritional content that this wondrous fruit provides us with:
- Total calories: 48kcals
- Protein: 1.4g
- Fat: 0.6g
- Carbohydrates: 11g
- Fibre: 2g
- Sodium: 1.6mg
- Potassium: 401mg
- Vitamin A: 63% of RDI
- Vitamin C: 27% of RDI
- Vitamin B-6: 5%
- Iron 3%
- Magnesium 4%
Benefits of Dried Apricots
As we have established the nutritional profile of dried apricots it is now time to acknowledge the benefits as well. Let’s look at some of the great benefits that this tasty fruit can give us:
1. Packed with Antioxidants
Calling apricots a powerhouse of antioxidants won’t be wrong as they come with high amounts of vitamin C, A and E all of which impart great benefits to our health. There is more to the. Dried apricots contain a high amount of flavonoids which are polyphenol antioxidants that protect us from diseases like diabetes and heart diseases. These flavonoids are catechins, quercetin and chlorogenic acids. These flavanoids protect the body against the effect of free radicals mainly oxidative stress. Oxidative stress in our body paves way to chronic diseases.
2. Full of Vitamin A
Dried apricots contain lots of vitamin A in them a fat soluble vitamin that is known to have beneficial effects on the vision. Moreover, vitamin A acts as an immunity booster as well as protects the skin. These are some of the primary benefits that Vitamin A imparts on our health.
3. Improving eye health
Apricots contain vitamin A as well as Vitamin E both of which are extremely important for the proper functioning of the eye. As Vitamin A tends to prevent night blindness Vitamin E protects against radical damage. Apricots also contain a pigment known as beta carotene which is responsible for the sharp colour of the fruit. This compound acts as a precursor of Vitamin A which means it can be converted into Vitamin A by the body. More the vitamin A, improved is the vision.
The carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin are also present in the apricots which protect the eyes against oxidative stress.
4. Healthier Skin
The more you will know about apricots the more you will fall in love. Apricots contain Vitamin C and E both of which have proven benefits to skin. Vitamin C provides a protective function against damage caused by environmental pollutants and UV. Vitamin C also builds collagen in the skin which slows down the ageing process. Not to forget the beta carotene in it also has to play a role which is protection against sun burns. Imagine munching on your favourite snack that is going to improve your skin? Win-Win, right?
5. Digestive Benefits
As a single serving contains 2g of fibre, apricots exert great benefits on the digestive system of our bodies. Apricots contain both soluble and insoluble fibres; higher soluble fibres mainly that keeps the cholesterol of the body in check. Soluble fibres slow down the movement of food in your gut and act as a food for good bacteria that has tremendous effects on your digestion.
6. Lowers Blood Pressure
Apricots are rich in potassium which is a mineral acting as an electrolyte. Potassium intake lowers blood pressure and prevents risk of stroke as potassium works hand in hand with sodium to maintain the fluid balance.
7. Source of Iron
Apricots contain iron, the non-heme one. The one that stays longer in your body and hence keeps your iron in balance. This prevents you from having anaemia. Vitamin C improves the absorption of iron which is also present in apricots. So, if you are looking to improve your iron, now is the time to focus on this snack ASAP!
Side Effects of Dried Apricots
There are no primary side effects of having dried apricots but you must know all of them which do exist. So, before you fill on the jars on your working desk with dried apricots, let’s have a look at the potential side effects/risk factors. Here they are:
- If you are pregnant or are breastfeeding, you must consume dried apricots with care.
- If you have food allergies mainly sulfur sensitivity, you must avoid eating these.
- The sulphites present in dried apricots may be a problem for asthmatics as it can lead to asthematic attacks.
- Eating unripe apricots may lead to diarrhea.
We can bet that by now you are cannot wait to include dried apricots in your diet. Who wouldn’t like to eat a snack that tastes like candy and has this much benefits? Just have a look at the minor side effects and you are good to go!