Apricot – Prunus armeniaca

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Precautions: The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison – it should thus be treated with caution. Since there is no particular side effects of consuming apricot moderately, but few people might have allergies. People with kidney stones must limit the consumption of apricot because of presence of oxalates. Because of Amygdalin, excess consumption of apricot is not recommended as it might result in nervous system depression. Consumption of Unripe or Raw Apricot may result in gastric disorders. Respiratory failure is noticed in some people who have consumed excessive amount of Apricot.

Apricot Quick Facts
Name: Apricot
Scientific Name: Prunus armeniaca
Origin China and possibly also Korea and Japan
Colors succulent, white, yellow or orange
Shapes drupe similar to a small peach
Size 1.5 cm to 2.5 cm and 4-5 cm in diameter
Flesh colors Orange
Taste Range from sweet to tart
Calories 79 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin A (22.57%),
Vitamin C (18.33%),
Copper (14.33%),
Carbohydrate (14.12%)
Vitamin E (9.80%),
Health benefits Healthy Eye, Alzheimer's disease, Healthy Metabolism, Muscle Spasms and Pain
More facts about Apricot
Apricot scientifically known as ‘Prunus armeniaca’ are juicy and delicious fruits which belongs to the genus: prunus of Rosaceae family that include Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, and Cherries. Apricot also called Chinese Almond, Common Apricot, Siberian Apricot. Apricots exist in different colors and sizes over 1000 varities, some popular varieties are Chinese, gold cot, tilton, wentchee etc. The Apricot is a drupe, meaning its fleshy fruit surrounds a single hard seed. Fruits are usually of medium size, between 4- 5 cm in diameter, globose to oval larger in some modern varieties. The flesh is firm and juicy. The fruit’s peel is smooth, with a natural short hair. Fruits colors pale green while young turning fleshy, succulent, white, yellow or orange colored often tinged red on the side due to exposed to the sun while mature. Apricots are the believed to have originated in China and possible also Korea and Japan, since then have been grown all over the world. The orange colored fresh and juicy taste of the Apricot makes it refreshing to eat on a hot summer day

Apricots tree is a small to medium sized tree 4–8 m tall with a dense, spreading, round shade with grayish brown bark. It is slightly more cold hardy compared to peach. It can tolerate winter temperature nearly about -30oc. Apricot tree prefers well drained soil with pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Leaves are usually oval about 5-9 cm long and 4-8 cm wide with round base and pointed tips. Different cultivars are grown throughout the world with different size, color, and growth characteristics. Normally flowers has white to pinkish petals, are bisexual single or paired about 2-4.5 cm in diameter.

History

Although history of Apricot is fairly unclear because of the widespread prehistoric cultivation, yet has been considered to be the northern, north-eastern and north-western provinces of China and maybe Japan and Korea. Before 3,000 years ago, domestic cultivation was done in China. Then after it spread towards Asia and also was introduced to Europe from Greece and Italy by Romans. Similarly English travellers introduced Apricot towards North America and Spanish missionaries into California. It is extensively grown in Eurasia and America. Today Apricot is cultivated throughout the world with climates that support it.

Nutritional Value

Fresh Apricots are a good source of several vitamins. A cup of sliced Apricots 165 grams supplies 22.57% of Vitamin A, 18.33% of Vitamin C, 9.80% of Vitamin E and 7.92% of Vitamin  B5, the recommended daily intake according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Vitamin C is essential to the formation, growth, maintenance and repair of all bodily tissues, including skin, blood vessels, bones and teeth. Apricots also  contain significant amounts of Nutrients and minerals including Dietary Fieber 8.68%, Copper 14.33%, Potassium 9.08%, Iron 8%, Manganese 5.52% and small amounts of several other nutrients, including calcium, iron and potassium, zinc, Tryptophan etc.

Quick Nutritional Value of Apricot
Serving Size: 1 cup ( 165 g)
Calories 79 Kcal.           Calories from Fat 5.76 Kcal.
Nutrients Amount % DV
Protein 2.31 g. 4.62%
Total lipid (fat) 0.64 g. 1.83%
Ash 1.24 g. N/D
Carbohydrate, by difference 18.35 g. 14.12%
Fiber, total dietary 3.3 g. 8.68%
Sugars, total 15.25 g. N/D
Vitamins Amount % DV
Vitamin A, IU 3178 IU. 63.56%
Vitamin A, RAE 158 µg. 22.57%
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) 16.5 mg. 18.33%
Vitamin E (Alpha-tocopherol) 1.47 mg. 9.80%
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) 0.396 mg. 7.92%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) 0.089 mg. 6.85%
Amino Acids Amount % DV
Tryptophan 0.025 g. 5.68%
Lysine 0.16 g. 4.78%
Phenylalanine and Tyrosine 0.134 g. 4.61%
Threonine 0.078 g. 4.43%
Isoleucine 0.068 g. 4.07%
Valine 0.078 g. 3.69%
Minerals Amount % DV
Copper, Cu 0.129 mg. 14.33%
Potassium, K 427 mg. 9.09%
Iron, Fe 0.64 mg. 8.00%
Manganese, Mn 0.127 mg. 5.52%
Phosphorus, P 38 mg. 5.43%
Magnesium, Mg 16 mg. 3.81%

*Percent Daily values (%DVs) are based on 2,000 calorie diet intake. Daily values (DVs) may be difference depending upon the daily calorie needs.
Source: USDA

 

Apricots-Benifits

Apricots health benefits

1. Beneficial for healthy Eye

Research shows that Vitamin A is needed to form rod cells (rhodopsin) of the eyes, Rhodopsin is made up of vitamin A as 11-cis retinal and the protein opsin these Rod Cells vital role in human vision health. Since Apricots are rich in vitamin A, it is good for improving eyesight. Deficiency of Vitamin A can result in thickening of the cornea and ultimately blindness. Glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataract have been shown to decrease with the normal consumption of Apricots and other similar fruits.

2. Prevent Alzheimer’s disease

Apricot is loaded with many essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals so it is regarded as a powerhouse of healing properties and richest source of Vitamin C. A single service of sliced Apricot 165 g has more than 22% of the vitamin C requirement of the body. Many Scientific researchers have concluded that problems like cognitive decline, forgetfulness, lack of orientation are the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Research discovered that the serum-concentration of the antioxidants vitamin C in addition  beta-carotene are noticeably lower in patients along with mild dementia than in control persons.(1)

3. Prevent colitis

The indigestible portion of all plant-based foods which is also called dietary fiber thrusts its way from most of the digestive tract untouched, performing as a type of interior broom. As soon as it arrives in the colon, bacteria convert it into energy as well as compound known as ‘short chain fatty acids’. It is known to alleviate the sign of Colitis, an inflammation in Gut. A single cup serving of Apricot has nearly 8.68% of the daily required intake. It is said that due to their high fiber to volume ratio, dried apricots are occasionally utilized to relieve constipation or encourage diarrhea.(2)

4. Cure colon inflammation and ulcers

Apricot kernel has numerous dietary supplements like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, pharmacologic properties which is beneficial for colitis. The research concluded that apricot kernel extracts heal the colon inflammation and ulcers. Apricot kernel has been traditionally used to treat inflammations and dermatitis, and also used as carminative agent. Apricots kernel seed oil has been used as laxative to increase bowel movements and also used as ear drop to cure ear inflammation otitis and tinnitus.(3)

5. Antioxidant benefits

Apricot contains very high in vitamin A, which acts as a moderate antioxidant. Beyond that, it purifies the body simply by increasing the function of the kidneys. Vitamin A has long been associated to eye health, and including enough vitamin A to your daily diet can also boost your ability to see at night, as well as macular degeneration. A single cup serving of Apricot (165 g) has 22.57% of the daily required intake.

6. Supports a Healthy Metabolism

Copper contained in Apricot plays a vital part in up to 50 different metabolic enzyme reactions that take place within the body every day. Copper is essential  for the smooth functioning of  nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, and almost every other part of the body too due to its effect on metabolic processes. Sluggish metabolisms, low energy level, other signs of poor metabolic health are the result of Copper deficiency. A single cup serving of Apricot (165 g) has 14.33% of the daily required intake.

7. Prevents Muscle Spasms and Pain

Potassium is essential for the muscle relaxation. Low Potassium may result in cramps, pain, muscle spasms, fatigue trouble exercising and also result in weight gain. Therefore Apricot must be included in our daily diet plan so we can remain active healthy without pain. A single cup serving of Apricot (165 g) has 9.09% of the daily required intake. It is said that a root decoction is also used to soothe in flamed and irritated skin conditions and also used cure asthma, acute or chronic bronchitis, coughs, .

8. Thickens Hair

Apricot is loaded with Vitamin E a powerful antioxidant; it helps to decrease environmental damage to your hair.  Vitamin E oil can preserve the natural moisture in your skin, which will help your scalp from becoming dry and flakey. Similarly oil will also make hair look healthier and fresher. Therefore apply few drops of Vitamin E oil in your hair if your hair looks dry and dull.

9. Bone health

Apricots contains noticeable amount of bone strengthen minerals such as copper (14.33%), Potassiu (9.09%), Phosphorous(5.43%), Iron (8%), Manganese (5.52%), Magnesium (3.81%) and Calcium (2.10 %) which helps to make the bone healthy and strong. The apricots help in the healthy development of bones by restricting the various age related conditions.

10. Apricot scrub

The fine lines and wrinkles can be discarded by the exfoliating action in apricot scrub. It also helps to remove the dead skin cells. The new and lighter skin cells are revealed. It also helps to get rid of skin blemishes.

11. Acne

The skin conditions such as acne and redness can also be treated by the apricot oil. The acne and pimples can be cured by applying the paste of apricot. Eczema, sunburn and scabies can be treated by the apricot leaf juice. The blackhead are reduced and prevents the occurrence of acne by using apricot scrub as it cleanses the skin and unclogs the pores.

Other Traditional uses and benefits of Apricots

  • Apricot is used medicinally in Vietnam in the treatment of respiratory and digestive diseases.
  • In India, apricot is used in Unani medicine as an anti-diarrhoeic, anti-pyretic, emetic, anthelmintic, in liver diseases, piles.
  • In Korea, apricot seed is used for cough, phlegm and common cold.
  • In Europe, apricots were long considered an aphrodisiac.
  • The seed oil is analgesic, anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, sedative and vulnerary.
  • Apricot has been spuriously claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there is refuted by scientific evidence to have no such benefits. Further research is needed to conclude.
  • It is said that the flowers are tonic, promoting fecundity in women.
  • The inner bark and/or the root are used for treating poisoning.
  • Necessary minerals, vitamins, water and calories are provided by an apricot to those suffering from fever. It helps to detoxify organs and systems. It has an anti-inflammatory and soothing effect. It also reduces the inflammation caused by gout or arthritis.
  • The massage with apricot oil helps to balance the nervous system and keeps the skin healthy. Those who have sensitive skin should consult the doctor before using.
  • One can make the hair soft and shiny by applying the apricot oil regularly. The apricot oil if massaged to the scalp helps to nourish the roots as well as condition it. It helps to encourage the hair growth and follicles.
  • The scalp conditions such as eczema, dandruff, psoriasis and itchy scalp are treated by the apricot kernel oil.

How to Eat

  • Both fresh or dried Apricots fruits can be used in wide array of desserts – pancakes, ice-cream, cakes, bread, muffins, croissant, milk-shakes, apricot fruit bars, pies, apricot coconut candy balls , crumble, custard tart, strudel, flan, smoothies and apricot cream.
  • Apricot nectar or juice that is available in cans or bottles is an excellent and nutritious drink.
  • Ripe apricots are wonderful when consumed fresh or somewhat chilled on their own or in fruit salads.
  • Whole or even halved apricots covered lightly along with honey on skewers and grilled are magnificent.
  • Outstanding jams, juice, sauces puree, nectar, drinks and jellies can be made from Apricots. Apricot jams are wonderful with toast.
  • Puree can be made into sauces which are excellent with cold cut or in meat sandwiches.
  • Dried apricots are nourishing and wonderful and therefore are outstanding snacks.
  • Apricots are excellent with low fat cottage cheese.

Other Facts

  • Apricot is also used as an ornamental plant.
  • Its flowers are good for bees to produce good honey.
  • Cosmetics, oils, aroma perfumes, active carbon and benzaldehyde are manufactured from Apricots kernels.
  • Edible, semi-drying oil are made from Apricot seed that has been used for lighting.
  • Green and dark grey green dyes can be achieved from the leaves and fruit respectively.
  • Agricultural implements are manufactured from the hard, durable wood of Apricot Tree.

Precautions:

  • The pure substance of Apricot is almost harmless to human, but on hydrolysis it produce hydrocyanic acid, known very rapidly acting poison therefore it must be use with caution.
  • Since there is no particular side effects of consuming apricot moderately, but few people might have allergies.
  • People with kidney stones must limit the consumption of apricot because of presence of oxalates.
  • Because of Amygdalin, excess consumption of apricot is not recommended as it might result in nervous system depression.
  • Consumption of Unripe or Raw Apricot may result in gastric disorders.
  • Respiratory failure is noticed in some people who have consumed excessive amount of Apricot.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apricot

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/apricot.html

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