Most people who are concerned about healthy living must be at least aware of these small, golden colored fruits. Dried apricots too, have seen the light as an alternative snacks for health-conscious individual. Apricots belong to Rosaceae family, in which other fruits such as peaches and plums belong to. The most noticeable characteristics of fruits of this family is their thin, silky skin and the smooth, musky-tasting flesh. They also have hard-shelled seeds that contain oil that can be extracted and distilled, mostly used in cooking.
Originally, the fruits were grown in China, but gaining renown through international trades. By the eighteenth century, apricots turned out to be more suitable to be grown in the United States. That factor lends to the scientific name “Prunus Armenaica”. Consumption-wise, apricots by themselves are smooth and sweet being consumed fresh. Considering storage, however, dried apricots are better. They are equally sweet and somewhat more nutritious being consumed in their dried variety.
It goes without saying that not all fruits or produces are created equal, some are more nutritious than the others. More often than not, some are best consumed fresh, while others are still equally good consumed dried. When it comes to dried fruits, apricots really take the cake. It is often cited that dried apricots are one of the most nutritious fruits served dried.
As for the facts, a cup of dried apricots are rich of vitamins and minerals. They have at least 94% of daily suggested nutrition of vitamin A and 19% of iron. There are also 9.5 grams of fiber and a few amount of calcium as well as Vitamin C Benefits. High amounts of pectin, a kind of soluble fiber, potassium and carotenoids are also found. Carotenoids are antioxidants naturally found in bright colored fruits and vegetables.
What Nutrients in Dried Apricots?
There are, however, some trade-off that we need to consider should we choose to consume these dried delicacies. First, Health Benefits of Dried Fruits has more calories than the fresh ones. The difference in calories is pretty evident when it comes to apricots.
Fresh apricots have approximately 74 calories and 14,3 grams of sugar a cup, while dried apricots have 313 calories and 69.5 of sugar a cup. This highly noticeable difference is mostly due to the drying process itself, manufacturers tend to add sugar and other preservatives/additives such as sulfur dioxide to preserve the color and taste, of course there are always unsweetened, sugar-free alternatives available in the market, but the taste won’t be as sweet as the ones with added sugar.
Despite the claims and the all-too-often calories fright, more calories isn’t always that bad. Calories are basically energy in form of glucose that will be processed in our body whenever needed. So, more calories means more energy burst when we’re tired and need something to keep us going.
This is mostly the case with hikers and runners as well as others who do endurance sports, who oftentimes choose dried fruits and nuts as their go-to snacks and mid-exercise refreshments. This trend of mixing dried fruits and nuts is also observable mostly in small confectioneries selling mixed fruits and nuts bars as well as big food manufacturers producing snacks marketed as “energy bars”.
Second, due to said process, dried apricots tend to lose some of their nutrients. Those are mostly the are water-soluble ones such as thiamine and vitamin C, to name a few. Thus it is best advised to look at the nutritional facts whenever available before considering putting some jars into our shopping carts.
Indeed, here are the health benefits of eating dried apricots for your daily health. As discussed in the earlier paragraphs, apricots, fresh or dried, are considered to be superfoods, mainly because they provides complete stacks of calories, micronutrient, fiber, minerals and antioxidants not commonly found in other fruits or vegetables. All those vitamins and fiber are great, right? You bet! In the following lists, we will discuss what eating dried apricots does to our bodies (besides making our mouth water and craving for more.)
1. Dried Apricots Help Protecting Us from Cancer
Remember carotenoids? Those antioxidants, what do they do beside giving all the fruits (as well as lobsters) those fancy colours? Correct, they fight oxidation, hence the name. No, seriously, oxidation is a chemical reaction responsible for releasing free radicals, leading to chain reactions that might damage other cells. The damage to cells includes but not limited to cancers, see the connections now?
2. Help with Digestives
Besides more calories, one of the benefits of eating dried fruits is their higher amount of fiber, and the same goes for dried apricots. Dried fruits are noticeably tougher to munch, this is due to their higher amount of fiber, and thus, digested more slowly than their less-fiber counterparts. Pectin and cellulose, act as part fiber and part laxative, help in treatment of constipation, as well as balancing the body’s metabolism.
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3. Keep Our Heart Healthy
One of the benefits of antioxidants besides what has been discussed earlier, is that they also help reducing bad cholesterol (also known as LDL). LDL is mainly caused by free radicals trying to replace their missing electrons by stealing it from fat and protein in a cholesterol molecule (lipoprotein), and when free radicals run rampant, threatening our health, antioxidants are there to the rescue.
4. Treat Anemia
Not only vampires, the symptoms of blood deficiencies can also occur in the best of us humans. Anemia, as we call the symptoms, is actually a lack of iron in our body. Well, hemoglobin in red blood cells mostly composed of iron (70% of it), so iron deficiencies do mean “lack of blood”. It just so happened that apricots are rich of iron, not only that, they also have copper that helps the body absorb iron, so, consuming dried apricots frequently really helps in the production of hemoglobin, particularly necessary for women, especially the ones with heavy flow.
5. Perfect for Diet
Dried apricots have high dietary fiber, which not only help in our digestives, but also help in retaining the fullness we get after meals. This is due to fiber being slower to digest, which in turn reducing our craving for more treats.
6. Protects Eyes
Other than fighting cancers and reducing heart attack risk, as a bonus, carotenoids, along with vitamin A, C and E which contained in apricots, also protect our eyes from the damage caused by blue and ultraviolet lights, especially necessary for us who work in front of blue light-emitting screen all day.
7. Promote Strong Bones
Apricots contain calcium which is a necessity for development of bones, that’s why eating dried apricot helps maintaining the health of our bones as well as preventing bone-related problems, which mainly are caused by calcium deficiencies. That’s the health benefits of eating dried apricots.
8. Help Treating Cold and Fever
It has almost became a go-to for everyone who feels a slight bit of fever to reach for fruits with high amount of vitamin C. The water, the sour and fresh taste as well as the vitamins made us feel better in no time. To prepare dried apricots, we can use water and a little honey. The extra calories and water help providing energy necessary for the bodies to recuperate.
9. Help Pregnant Women Maintain Health
What’s more to say? Dried apricots can keep runners going, due to their high amount of vitamins and minerals, mostly iron. The same benefit can be highly beneficial for pregnant women, who are often advised to consume dried apricots to help them maintain their iron level to stay in the healthy limit and thus prevent anemia.
10. Provide Necessary Electrolyte
Electrolyte drinks have been all the rage these days. The main reason why is that as the time goes, we became more and more active, move around a whole lot more than we do in our younger days. The issues that people face nowadays is that we apparently never have enough fluid level in our body, and it just so happened that electrolyte can help maintaining the transportation of ions to every cells of the body.
Therefore, what makes easier for us to hydrate, than drinks with electrolyte? Luckily, dried apricots aren’t all that “dry”, because they contain minerals such as potassium and sodium. Those minerals also serves as electrolyte so we can maintain our fluid level just fine.
11. Help Us Building Muscles
As we learned earlier, dried apricots help providing necessary electrolyte, one of them being potassium. Potassium is described to be necessary for bodily function such as metabolism and recovery of tissues, organs, and other cells. Logically, the better the recovery, the faster it is for the tissues to rebuild. Which is why dried apricots are great as pre-workout or post-workout treats. They can help us regain our energy as well as damaged muscle tissues, which in turn makes it faster to build our muscles.
12. Help in Blood Clotting
So, how is helping in blood clotting a good thing? In the context of recovery from injuries, blood clotting plays an important part, the most important being preventing excessive bleeding. Dried apricots contain many vitamins, Vitamin K Benefits is one of them. Optimally, it is enough to consume a cup of dried apricot for 4 mcg of Vitamin K.
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So, those are some of the research-proven health benefits of dried apricots consumption. Of course, there might be many other health benefits of eating dried apricots that might not covered by us in this article. The point is, fresh or dried, apricots are such great fruits for our health. We mean, who could pass up a cup of dried apricots, especially combined with greek yogurt and honey? Not us, obviously! We hope you found the article informative, stay healthy and informed.