Thousands of years ago, Chinese emperors ordered apricot orchards to be planted across their kingdom. Merchants saw the mass appeal of the golden fruit and loaded them up in their caravans as they headed west, winning loyal customers everywhere they traveled. Apricots even ended up in Greek mythology. Many believe that the Golden Apples of Hesperides- the fruit Hercules had to pick on the eleventh of his twelve labors- was really an apricot.
The fruit continues to lend Herculean strength to hungry people today. HFR has identified the top 10 health benefits of apricots:
- Prevents Anemia: There are two types of iron: heme and non-heme. The former is found in meats, but the latter is common in plants, including apricots. They are rich in non-heme iron, which is absorbed slower by the body. It also remains in the body for longer, preventing the development of anemia.
- Good for Vision: It’s easy to see why you should eat apricots. They are full of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, which strengthen optic nerves by preventing the macular degeneration that comes with aging.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Apricots are rich in catechins, a group of flavonoids that inhibit key enzymes in the process of inflammation. Catechin’s bind to these enzymes and produce a strong anti-inflammatory reaction.
- Reduces the Risk of Fatty Liver Disease: Apricots ward off hepatic steatosis (also called fatty liver disease) and other types of liver damage. One animal study found that apricots reduced liver injury, reducing risk of fatty liver disease.
- Supports Digestive System: A small apricot has fiber, which aids in healthy digestion by helping people break down foods and absorb the nutrients inside. Fiber also regulates blood sugar levels.
- Heart Healthy: The antioxidants, and minerals such as potassium and fiber, in apricots optimize heart health and benefit the entire cardiovascular system. High levels of magnesium and fiber protect the arteries from blockage and stimulate smooth blood flow.
- Regulates Blood Pressure: Good cardiovascular health means balanced blood pressure. Apricots are rich in potassium, which keeps blood pressure at an optimal level and lowers the chances of a stroke.
- Eliminates Free Radicals: Apricots are packed full of antioxidants that bestow them with cancer-inhibiting properties and prevents the growth of malignant cells. In fact, apricot kernels and apricot juice are consumed by some of the people with the longest lifespans in the world.
- Promotes Healthy Skin: Ever wonder why there are so many apricot skin care products? It is because Vitamin A , Vitamin C and phytonutrients are necessary to maintain healthy skin, and all of ’em are found in apricots. They slow down the aging process, replacing dead cells with newer skin cells at a faster rate. Dead skin cells make wrinkles, while new cells look clear and taught. Vitamin A also chases away acne blemishes and helps old scars heal.
- Promotes Healthy Bones: The potassium found in apricots neutralizes bone-depleting metabolic acids that eat away at bone health. Keep your bones strong and safe from osteoporosis by eating apricots!