Apricots are fruits with rich sweet taste, enticing aroma and eye catching golden orange color. It is a prized fruit today due to its low calorie count, nutritional value as well as its various health benefits. The fruit belongs to Rosaceae family and is scientifically known as Prunus Armeniaca, which loosely translates to Armenian plum.
The fruit contains single seed known as stone, which is covered by edible flesh, which has sweet mixed tart taste, is not very juicy though is it is soft and fleshy. The seed is edible too, and tastes similar to almonds. The seeds are also used in production of cooking oils.
Initially believed to have originated in Armenia, but is disputable now since botanical research shows its origin to be either China or India. At present Turkey is the lead producer of apricot. The summer fruit is often dried and canned, or used in preparation of concentrated juice, jam, squash or jelly to make it available throughout the year. Dried apricots lose vitamin C, though they retain all other nutrients in concentrated forms.
Health Benefits of Apricots
The anti-tumor property of apricot was used in treatment of tumors even in 500 A.D. Research is being conducted to prove the efficiency of Laetrile found in apricot seed in fighting cancer and its safety for human consumption as it has traces of well known poison cyanide in it.
Apricots have highest levels of carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that increase immunity of the body, as well as prevent damage to DNA from free radical activity. The nutrient content especially that of the beta-carotene is known to improve functioning of heart. Vitamin A in apricots protects eyes and vision, preventing cataract and macular degeneration.
The high fiber content of the food prevents constipation. They are low in carbohydrates and do not contain fat with makes it an ideal food for overweight people. Lycopene present in apricot boosts the immune system, promoting general wellness.
Regular consumption of apricots can help in fighting health problems related to:
- Heart disease
- Eye disorders
- Skin ailments
- Tumor growth and cancers
- LDL or bad cholesterol
- Stomach disorders
Face Scrub and Exfoliation
Remove the seed and finely blend one apricot to smooth paste. Add one teaspoon of oatmeal to the puree. Apply on face and neck, massaging in round motion with finger tips. Leave it on for 20-25 minutes before rinsing it off with water. This works as an excellent exfoliation face scrub which leaves behind, fresh and clear skin.
Apricot oil, derived from the dried seeds of the fruit is edible and is used for cooking in some regions. It is excellent remedy for eczema, itching and scabies, while at the same time it soothes the skin without giving it an oily appearance.
The anti-inflammatory property of the oil heals aching and sore muscles. Rich in Vitamin E, the oil is essential part of aromatherapy.
Using the apricot oil as ear-drops is a quick remedy for earache. The oil is also used in treatment of wheezing cough, fever, improving vision and fighting respiratory diseases.
Apricot has anti-pyretic properties. Drinking juice made from fresh apricots is a great antidote that can bring down fever, in addition to providing the body with much required vitamins, nutrients, minerals and water.