It’s not exactly original to point out that fruit is a healthy eating choice but even so, not all fruits are equal in this regard. For some reason the apricot is less popular in the UK than domestic staples such as the apple and pear or imported favourites like oranges and bananas, but consumers overlooking the apricot are missing out. Apart from the warm, juicy, delicious flesh there are many health benefits of apricots over other fruits.
The specific health benefits of apricots
Apricots are particularly useful for dieters, packing a whacking great nutritional punch into a relatively small amount of calorie intake – you’re looking at about three apricots for only 50 calories. The main apricot health benefits in terms of nutrient supply are the vitamins A, C and E for an antioxidant feast, beta carotene and the minerals iron and potassium. You can receive almost 50% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A from only two or three apricots. This is with the added bonus of a zero fat content and a relatively low carbs load – of the 8g carbohydrate content found in two apricots, 2g are in the form of healthy dietary fibre.
That heavy antioxidant boost is great for eyesight and to stave off a number of illnesses such as heart disease. The lycopene content boosts the immune system while the fibre content of apricots contributes to a healthy digestion.
These benefits are even more concentrated in dried rather than fresh apricots, however it’s worth bearing in mind that dried fruits have a higher carbohydrate content, particularly sugar.
How to enjoy the health benefits of apricots
Apricots have a mildly tart flavour and are very versatile in their use. They exist in a number of varieties but the average supermarket will only supply one or two different kinds. On their own they can be eaten fresh or dried but also lend themselves to a huge amount of cooked recipes. Try preserving or making apricot jam or sauce. They can be enjoyed cooked in cakes or pies, with muesli and yoghurt and with sorbet or ice cream. The fruit or sauces made from it work beautifully as a topping over fruit salad, pancakes, cereal and various other foods. Furthermore, it’s not only sweet dishes than benefit from a bit of apricot – Middle Eastern dishes such as tagines are often given an added depth of flavour with apricots.