Health benefits of apricots
Fresh fruits are low in calories, composing just 50 calories per 100 g. However, they are rich source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The fruits are enriched with numerous health promoting phyto-chemicals; that helps prevent heart disease, reduce LDL, ("bad cholesterol") levels and offers protection against cancers.
Apricots are excellent sources of vitamin-A and carotenes. 100 g fresh fruits have 1926 IU or 64% of daily-required levels of vitamin A. Both of these compounds are known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin-A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotenes helps protect body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh fruits contain vitamin-C, another natural anti-oxidant. Vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen free radicals.
They are also good source of minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, calcium and manganese. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
The total anti-oxidant or ORAC value of raw apricots is 1115 umol TE/100 g. Much of this in these fruits comes from some important health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic anti-oxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin and beta cryptoxanthins. Altogether these compounds act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease process.
Zeaxanthin, a carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal "macula lutea" in the eyes where it is thought to provide anti-oxidant and protective light-filtering functions. Thus, consumption of fruits like apricots rich in zeaxanthin helps eyes protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the elderly people.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.4 g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber||2 g||5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.240 mg||5%|
|Vitamin A||1926 IU||64%|
|Vitamin C||10 mg||16%|
|Vitamin E||0 mg||0%|
|Vitamin K||3.3 mcg||3%|
Selection and storage
Apricot season lasts from May until September. Buy fresh, well ripe fruits that feature uniform golden-orange color and rich aroma.
Avoid those with pale yellow color as they were picked too soon. Ripened apricots are delicate and should be handled with care.
Store them in the refrigerator in egg tray set at high relative humidity. Use them as early as possible.
Dried apricots are often treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life by preventing oxidation and bleaching of colors, as in the case of other dried fruits like figs. Sulfite treated bright orange colored fruits can cause acute bronchospasm in sensitized people who are suffering from asthma episodes. Therefore, sulfite sensitive persons can instead safely use unsulfured dried fruits that have brown color.
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