Apricots

 Posted by at 4:42 pm  Nutrition & Health  Add comments
May 072013
 

apricotsFrom a nutrition standpoint apricots are powerhouse of nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Plus, these golden sun-ripened spring delicacies are sweet, delicious and make a very handy snack.

The nutrition in apricots has been proven to be effective against numerous health conditions, many of them associated with aging.  I don’t know about you, but that’s something that gets my attention.

What is the nutrition in Apricots?

Apricots are very low in calories.  One cup of apricot halves contains only 75, calories, 17 grams of carbohydrate (14 grams from sugar), 2.2 grams protein and over 3 grams of fiber.  They are virtually fat, sodium, and cholesterol free.

Raw apricots contain many vitamins, minerals and nutrients which are beneficial for the body, such as; potassium, phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin, iron, vitamin A, magnesium, zinc, beta carotene and vitamin C. Other trace nutrients found in the fruit include selenium, manganese, thiamin, copper, folate, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid and choline.

What are the health benefits of Apricots?

One of the most important components of apricots, from a nutritional standpoint, is their fiber content. Apricots are very rich in this nutrient, which is important in managing body weight, lowering high blood pressure, controlling diabetes and even aiding in the prevention of stroke and health attack.  Other conditions that apricots may help in preventing are:

  • Cancer–Apricots also contain lycopene which can help prevent certain types of cancer and provides cardiovascular protection.
  • Cataracts. Vitamin A, the most prominent of all apricot nutrients, is essential for healthy eyes.
  • Senility. Vitamin B is abundant in dried apricots and protects against memory loss.

Dried apricots contain a high concentration of iron, beta-carotene and niacin, which is why they’re one of the few dried fruits highly recommended by nutritionists.  One serving size is about ¼ cup, or about 8 apricots.

How to buy and store Apricots

Apricot season is from May until September. Look for fresh, already ripened fruits that feature uniform golden-orange color and a sweet aroma.

Avoid those with pale yellow color as they were picked too soon. Ripened apricots are delicate and should be handled with care.

Store them in the refrigerator in an egg tray, and use them as quickly as possible.

apricot canapesInteresting ways to use apricots

  • Add sliced dried apricots to a spinach salad with walnuts and feta cheese
  • Fold fresh apricots in to muffin, scone, or pancake batter
  • Apricots pair well with grains.  Add to your next wild or brown rice salad, couscous, or quinoa.
  • You can easily make your own glaze by pureeing fresh apricots, honey, olive oil, onion, vinegar and seasonings.
  • Apricot canapés–Sprinkle dried apricots with blue cheese crumbles and top with chopped pistachios.  I love this one, and it looks pretty too.

I hope you will enjoy these delicious spring delights, and that they will become a regular part of your healthy menu.

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