This article is about the trees and their fruit.
An apricot is a fruit, or the tree that bears the fruit, of several species in the genus Prunus (stone fruits).
The origin of the apricot is disputed and unsettled. It was known in Armenia during ancient times, and has been cultivated there for so long that it is often thought to have originated there. Its scientific name Prunus armeniaca (Armenian plum) derives from that assumption. For example, the Belgian arborist baron de Poerderlé, writing in the 1770s, asserted, “Cet arbre tire son nom de l’Arménie, province d’Asie, d’où il est originaire et d’où il fut porté en Europe …” (“this tree takes its name from Armenia, province of Asia, where it is native, and whence it was brought to Europe …”). An archaeological excavation at Garni in Armenia 0found apricot seeds in an Eneolithic-era site. Despite the great number of varieties of apricots that are grown in Armenia today (about 50), according to the Soviet botanist Nikolai Vavilov, its center of origin would be the Chinese region, where the domestication of the apricot would have taken place. Other sources say that the apricot was first cultivated in India in about 3000 BC.
Its introduction to Greece is attributed to Alexander the Great. Subsequent sources were often confused about the origin of the species. John Claudius Loudon (1838) believed it had a wide native range including Armenia, the Caucasus, the Himalayas, China, and Japan.
Apricots have been cultivated in Persia since antiquity, and dried ones were an important commodity on Persian trade routes. Apricots remain an important fruit in modern-day Iran.
Egyptians usually dry apricots, add sweetener, and then use them to make a drink called amar al-dīn.
In England during the 17th century, apricot oil was used in herbalism treatments intended to act against tumors, swelling, and ulcers.
In the 17th century, English settlers brought the apricot to the English colonies in the New World. Most of modern American production of apricots comes from the seedlings carried to the west coast by Spanish missionaries. Almost all U.S. commercial production is in California, with some in Washington and Utah.
In a 100-gram amount, raw apricots supply 48 Calories and are composed of 11% carbohydrates, 1% protein, less than 1% fat and 86% water (table). Raw apricots are a moderate source of vitamin A and vitamin C (12% of the Daily Value each).
Dried apricots are a type of traditional dried fruit. The world’s largest producer of dried apricots is Turkey. When treated with sulfur dioxide (E220), the color is vivid orange. Organic fruit not treated with sulfur dioxide is darker in color and has a coarser texture. When apricots are dried, the relative concentration of nutrients is increased, with vitamin A, vitamin E, potassium and iron having Daily Values above 25% (table).
27 Amazing Benefits
1. Cancer :-
Apricot is an excellent source of antioxidants. Free radicals are usually caused due to pollution, sunrays and other environmental conditions. They hinder the process of cell growth, leading to changes in the DNA of the cells. This leads to the formation of cancer cells in the body. Therefore, consume apricots on a regular basis to protect yourself from cancer. Besides, studies have also revealed that apricot seeds contain a compound called B17, which helps in the treatment of cancer. It contains high levels of Vitamin A and C, which boost the immune system, fighting cancer causing cells.
2. Eye health :-
Foods rich in Vitamin A, C, carotenoids and beta-carotene can help reduce the risk of vision problems. The degenerative effect of free radicals may lead to cataract. It can also inhibit the blood supply to the eyes, causing macular degeneration. The high levels of beta-carotene improve blood flow to the eyes, reversing age-related macular degeneration. It contains an antioxidant called Zea xanthin, which provides light filtering functions, thus improving vision.
Apricots contain a high amount of pectin, a soluble fiber, which helps in the treatment of constipation. It is often recommended to patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. Fiber bulks up the stool, making it easier to transport through the bowels. It activates the peristaltic motion of the digestive tract, regulating the bowel movements. The high levels of fiber in apricot are also vital for colon health.
4. Bone health:-
Apricots contain all the necessary nutrients required for healthy bone growth. Thus, eating apricots regularly will ensure the growth and development of the bones. It will also prevent age-related conditions, including osteoporosis. The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot reduce inflammation in the body, relieving arthritis pain and gout.
5. Fluid levels:-
Potassium in apricot helps to maintain the fluid balance in the body, ensuring that energy is equally distributed throughout the organs. A healthy balance of electrolytes ensures that you have more energy and stamina to deal with day-to-day activities.
Apricot oil is known to cure earaches. Drop a few drops of apricot oil into the affected ear canal for quick relief.
Apricot juice is believed to cure fever. Its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties affect the body’s overall temperature, curing fever. Prepare a concoction using apricot juice and water. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to this concoction. Drink this concoction twice a day to relieve cold, cough and fever.
8. Heart health:-
Apricot is an excellent fruit for maintaining heart health. Research has found that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C are less susceptible to heart diseases. The high levels of dietary fiber remove the excess cholesterol from the arteries, reducing strain on the heart. It protects the low-density lipoprotein from oxidation, preventing heart diseases and stroke. Potassium in apricot regulates the balance of intracellular and extracellular water levels, thereby regulating blood pressure. Half a cup of apricot provides the body with 10% of the recommended amount of potassium.
Apricot is an excellent source of iron, a mineral which plays a very important role in the formation of hemoglobin. In addition, apricot also contains copper, which aids in iron absorption. This improves the blood flow in the body, preventing anemia.
10. Weight loss:-
This low calorie fruit will make an excellent addition to your weight loss regime. One hundred grams of apricot contain 45 calories. The insoluble fiber in apricot absorbs water and keeps the stomach full for a longer time. Fiber also promotes quick movement of food through the digestive tract.
11. Respiratory health:-
Apricot oil is believed to be anti-asthmatic in nature. It is very beneficial for treating respiratory disease and its related symptoms. The oil has expectorant and stimulating qualities, which helps to relieve pressure and stress from the respiratory system. This helps to prevent asthma attacks.
Apricots are very beneficial for pregnant women. It contains several essential nutrients, which can help in the growth and development of the fetus. Pregnant women are advised to consume dried apricots as it contains high amounts of iron. Iron will facilitate the circulation of blood in the body, preventing anemia. The dietary fiber in apricots prevents indigestion and constipation in pregnant women.
13. Apricot scrub:-
Apricot scrub is one of the most popular skin care products available. Ground apricot kernel is used in the scrub to get rid of dead skin cells, allowing your skin to renew itself. The exfoliating action of apricot scrub can help to get rid of fine lines and wrinkles. Apricot scrub can also help you to get an even skin tone. It removes and exfoliates damaged skin, revealing the new and lighter skin cells beneath. It is also useful for eliminating skin blemishes.
The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot oil may help to treat acne and skin redness. The flesh of apricot is particularly beneficial for treating acne-prone skin. Apply a paste of apricot to cure acne and pimples. Apricot leaf juice is useful for treating scabies, sunburn and eczema. Apricot scrub reduces blackheads, unclogs the pores and deep cleanses the skin, preventing the occurrence of acne.
15. Sensitive skin :-
Apricot kernel oil is very useful for sensitive skin. It is also used in baby products because of its mild and gentle nature.
16. Massage :-
Apricot oil is commonly used for massaging the body and skin. It is used in aromatherapy massages to keep the skin healthy and to balance the nervous system. Do not forget to consult your doctor before using it, especially if you have sensitive skin.
17. Moisturizer :-
The hydrating properties of apricot kernel oil make it a natural moisturizer. The high levels of linoleic acid present in this oil maintain the moisture balance of the skin. It is lightweight oil that gets absorbed into the skin, without leaving any greasiness behind. This oil is suited for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone skin. You can also add a few drops of this oil to your moisturizer or serum.
18. Signs of ageing:-
Regular consumption of apricot helps to maintain the elasticity and suppleness of the skin. Vitamin E in apricot helps to delay the signs of ageing. It also tones and firms the skin. You can use apricot paste as a facial mask to soften the skin.
19. Treat skin damage:-
Apricot contains oleic acid and Vitamin A, which prevent skin damage. The anti-inflammatory properties of apricot are helpful for soothing minor skin conditions like eczema and dry skin.
Hair Benefits of Apricot Fruit:
20. Apricot kernel oil:-
Several hair products claim to improve the growth and texture of the hair, but only a handful of these work. Instead of trying harmful and chemical-laden hair products, you can try apricot kernel oil to improve the health of your hair.
Regular consumption of apricot can do wonders to your hair. It promotes sebum production in the scalp, keeping it conditioned and moisturized. Add a few drops of apricot kernel oil to your shampoo and conditioner to make the hair soft, smooth and manageable. It is also used as treatment oil before chemical treatments. You can also use apricot kernel oil to manage frizzy hair. Take a few drops of apricot oil and smoothen through the hair.
22. Moisturized scalp:-
Regular application of apricot oil can help to make the hair shiny and soft. Massage your scalp with apricot oil to keep the hair roots nourished and conditioned. It also stimulates the follicles, stimulating hair growth.
Apricot kernel oil is very beneficial for treating scalp conditions like an itchy scalp, dandruff, eczema and psoriasis.
Dry apricot contain a relatively high concentration of iron than fresh apricot. The type of iron supplied by dried apricot is known as non-heme iron. The non-heme iron takes a long time to get absorbed in the body. Consume dried apricots with Vitamin C rich foods to increase the iron absorption rate. Half a cup of dried apricots provides nearly 12% of the recommended dietary allowance of iron.
Dried apricots contain high levels of antioxidants and other potent phytonutrients like lutein, zea xanthin and beta cryptoxanthin. These compounds provide protection from free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that can cause ageing, cancer and other harmful diseases. The total antioxidant or ORAC value of raw apricot is 1115 umol TE per 100 grams.
Dried apricots have a high content of Vitamin A, E and beta-carotene. Half cup serving of dried apricots provides 14% of the recommended amount of Vitamin A. Dried apricot contains high amounts of carbohydrates. In fact, half cup of dried apricots yields 3 times more calories than fresh apricots.
Dried apricots act as a natural laxative to flush out unwanted waste from the body. It also reacts with the body’s digestive juices, producing a more alkaline environment to aid digestion.
Choose organic dried apricots instead of the artificially dried variety. Organic dried apricot is brown in color and is not at all subjected to chemical treatment. Thus, organic dried apricots will help you reap the most benefits, without leading to any side effects. For best results, consume 4 to 6 servings of dried apricots daily.