The flesh of apricots is soft and somewhat juicy when ripe, and they have a velvety skin with soft fuzz.
Prunus armeniaca originated in China, where it was first cultivated about 4,000 years ago. This delicious stone fruit held high favor with locals, traders, and travelers, so it’s no surprise that it began its journey west along the Silk Road. Over time, apricots began growing across Central Asia and the Middle East.
Apricots reached the Mediterranean about 2,000 years ago, where they flourished in the warm, sunny climate. Today, Turkey and Iran are the world’s largest producer of apricots.
There are many different apricot varieties to enjoy, the most popular being Blenheim, Tilton, and Moorpark.
Thanks to their high amount of vitamins, flavonoids, and potassium, apricots have significant health benefits.
Flavonoids work to protect and strengthen your blood vessels while reducing signs of inflammation. Potassium, an important mineral for nerve and muscle function, is also crucial for helping nutrients move around the body. Plus, it supports healthy blood pressure and heart health.
Antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C are known for their skin-boosting properties. They can help to protect skin cells from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, reduce signs of early wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity. Beta-carotene is another antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from sunburns and additional UV damage. Since apricots have high water content, they’re also a good way to hydrate your skin. One cup of apricots offers about 2/3 of a cup of water.
Rich in vitamin A, beta-carotene, and other carotenoids, apricots are excellent for promoting eye health. Lutein helps to support retina and lens health, while carotenoids and vitamin E support overall vision. Apricot nutrients also help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Apricots offer plenty of good dietary fiber to help your digestive tract. Their total fiber content is about half soluble fiber and half insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps your digestive tract retain enough water and encourages good bacteria to thrive. Insoluble fiber is also good for healthy gut bacteria levels.
Nutrients per Serving
One whole, fresh apricot contains:
- Calories: 17
- Protein: Less than 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 3 grams
- Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
- Sodium: 0 milligrams
Apricots are low in fat but rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene. These nutrients act as antioxidants to protect your cells from damage.
Apricots are also a good source of flavonoids, an antioxidant that helps to protect against inflammation and inflammatory illnesses, along with reducing your risk for obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. The main flavonoids in apricots are catechin, quercetin, and chlorogenic acids.