I feel like everyone knows about the variety of stone fruits called nectarines and peaches. I know that in my own experience apricots have never received much love from me. However, after checking out the apricot’s health benefits, I think I have to reconsider!
Last time, we took our first foray into a food other than herbs when we looked at the artichoke’s health benefits. If you want to check out the other articles in this series, click one of the following links:
- Oregano’s Health Benefits
- Basil’s Health Benefits
- Parsley’s Health Benefits
- Rosemary’s Health Benefits
As is normal with these health articles, you are going to learn about where the apricot comes from, how it can improve your health and nutrition, and even learn how to grow it yourself (both cost effective and healthy!).
Additionally, I will be providing at least a couple of video recipes to show you how to incorporate this wonderful fruit into your diet in easier ways.
That’s enough intro, though! Stick around to find out everything you need to know about the apricot!
What Are Apricots, Where Do They Come From, And How Do They Grow?
As mentioned before, and according to Britannica.com, apricots are a stone fruit that grows on small trees. While it may seem obvious that they are related to other fruits in the stone category, I was surprised to learn that they are also related to the almond!
Apricots grow best in the more temperate regions of the world and last a long time, ensuring that growers can expect a good harvest for many years.
What was surprising to me was that the apricot originally came from China before moving throughout the rest of the world. Click the “Britannica” link above to read more in-depth about the origin and actual nature of the apricot fruit and tree!
You may be familiar with the different ways to purchase apricots, however, for those who aren’t there is definitely a wide variety. In your local supermarket, you can find them fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or made into jam. For the purpose of the post, when we look at the nutritional values, we will focus on the fresh and dried varieties.
The reason I am not looking at canned is because for the most part, when companies preserve fruits, they are in syrups. This certainly adds to the sugar content, so I am going to highlight the two most natural ways of eating them, which is with no other ingredients added.
Growing Your Own Apricots
I live in an apartment, so growing my own apricots is not necessarily within my ability at the moment. However, I am a big proponent of growing your own whenever possible. This not only cuts down on the cost of purchasing at the market, but also allows you to know exactly what goes into the growing process.
Now, apricots are not on the “Dirty Dozen” list for most pesticide-tainted fruits and vegetables, their family members are. Nectarines, peaches, and cherries all make the list, leading one to believe that buying organic apricots is a good idea. That can get really expensive though.
If you have the room in your backyard, growing your own is a great option. Check out these resources to get started:
Growing And Pruning Apricot Trees:
Growing Apricots In Pots:
Buying Fruit Trees From Bix Box Stores: While not specifically about apricots, this is great to keep in mind should you purchase from a Lowes or Home Depot.
Transplanting Fruit Trees: Again, not apricot specific, but good practice for any fruit trees.
Dealing With Pests In Stone Fruit Trees:
Nutritional Profile Of Apricots
Using my normal tool from Self.com for the information, I was able to check out some very impressive numbers as far as the nutritional value of apricots. In fact, this is what is motivating me to start eating these more regularly!
As always, I will be looking at the date with percentages based on a 2,000 calorie diet. I will also, as mentioned above, be looking at just the fresh and dried (no sugar added) varieties.
Let’s take a look at the results!
1 Cup Fresh Apricot Halves (155g)
- Calories: 74.4
- Total Fat: 0.6 (1%)
- Saturated Fat: 0.0g (0%)
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
- Sodium 1.6mg (0% DV)
- Total Carbohydrates: 17.4g (6% DV)
- Dietary Fiber: 3.1g (12% DV)
- Total Sugar: 14.3g
- Protein: 2.2g
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 119mg
- Vitamin A: 2,985 IU (60% DV)
- Vitamin C: 15.5mg (26%)
- Vitamin E: 1.4mg (7%)
- Vitamin K: 5.1mcg (6%)
- Riboflavin: 0.1mg (4%)
- Niacin: 0.9mg (5%)
- Vitamin B6: 0.1mg (4%)
- Folate: 13.9mcg (3%)
- Pantothenic Acid: 0.4mg (4%)
- Choline: 4.3mg
- Calcium: 20.2mg (2%)
- Iron: 0.6mg (3%)
- Magnesium: 15.5mg (4%)
- Phosphorus: 35.7mg (4%)
- Potassium: 401mg (11%)
- Copper: 0.1mg (6%)
- Manganese: 0.1mg (6%)
1 Cup Dried Apricot Halves (130g)
- Calories: 313
- Total Fat: 0.7 (1%)
- Saturated Fat: 0.0g (0%)
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0mg (0% DV)
- Sodium 13mg (1% DV)
- Total Carbohydrates: 81.4g (27% DV)
- Dietary Fiber: 9.5g (38% DV)
- Total Sugar: 69.5g
- Protein: 4.4g
- Omega-6 Fatty Acids: 96.2mg
- Vitamin A: 4,686 IU (94% DV)
- Vitamin C: 1.3mg (2%)
- Vitamin E: 5.6mg (28%)
- Vitamin K: 4.0mcg (5%)
- Riboflavin: 0.1mg (6%)
- Niacin: 3.4mg (17%)
- Vitamin B6: 0.2mg (9%)
- Folate: 13.0mcg (3%)
- Pantothenic Acid: 0.7mg (7%)
- Choline: 18.1mg
- Betaine: 0.4mg
- Calcium: 71.5mg (7%)
- Iron: 3.5mg (19%)
- Magnesium: 41.6mg (10%)
- Phosphorus: 92.3mg (9%)
- Potassium: 1,511mg (43%)
- Zinc 0.5mg (3% DV)
- Copper: 0.4mg (22%)
- Manganese: 0.3mg (15%)
- Selenium: 2.9mcg (4%)
As you can see, there are some incredible nutritional benefits to adding apricots to your diet. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as good amounts of fiber.
What you will notice is that there are some stark differences between the fresh and dried varieties in some key areas. With dried apricots, you are actually gaining in the Vitamin A, fiber, and most mineral categories by a huge margin.
The only problem comes with the amount of sugar. While it is still natural, the process of drying any fruit concentrates the amount of sugar inside of each piece. Because of this, it would be a good idea to eat dried apricots sparingly.
When might you want to opt for dried? Well, looking at the amount of carbs and potassium, a good time would be either just before (for energy) or just after (for recovery) exercise.
If you want to include apricots in your diet, but need some inspiration on how to do it, check out these recipes I found:
Apricot Energy Balls:
Potential Health Benefits of Apricots
According to Healthline, apricots have numerous potential health benefits. First off, they are high in vitamins and minerals as we have already seen. This contributes to your overall health. Secondly, they are also high in antioxidants called flavinoids that help ward off many types of diseases. They are great for your heart and preventing diabetes!
Apricots can also be beneficial to your eyes (because of the Vitamin A), skin (due to the Vitamin E and C), and liver. Their high fiber content is also beneficial for your digestive system and can be extremely hydrating because of their water content.
Organic Facts also notes that because of their mineral content, apricots can benefit your bone health!
Unless you are allergic to apricots, there really is no reason to leave them out of your diet as there are so many benefits that you can reap from them!
Often Forgotten No More!
While it’s cousins usually get all the attention, the apricot’s health benefits are motivating me to take a closer loo (and taste) of these simple stone fruits! They are packed with nutrition important for bodily function and as long as you purchase organic (unless you tackle growing your own), you won’t go wrong adding them to your diet!?
Now, it’s your turn! What do you think of apricots? Are they a fruit that you usually consume or use in your recipes? Were there any health benefits that surprised you?
What is your favorite way to use apricots? If you have a recipe, please let me know so all our readers can try it!
As always, feel free to leave your thoughts and questions down in the comments below and I will be getting back to you tomorrow, as it is a comment day!
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That’s all for now! As always, God bless and Happy Eating!