Along with the many apricot health benefits, this fantastic fruit is amongst the most traveled known. Its origin is in north China, where it still grows wild. The apricot was taken to Greece by Alexander the Great on his return from his conquests in India. From Greece, it went to Rome, where its cultivation spread throughout the Mediterranean. It was taken to North America in the eighteenth century, where it acclimated to California and states along the Mississippi River.
The apricot went to the moon with American astronauts on one of their space journeys. The fruit’s attractive orange color, pleasant aroma, and delicious sweetness made it one of the favorite fruits of the summer season. Dried apricots and marmalade allow this pleasure to last through the winter also.
Apricot Scientific Facts
- Scientific name: Prunus armeniaca L.
- Other names: Apricock.
- French: Abricot.
- Spanish: Albaricoque, damasco.
- German: Aprikose.
- Description: Fruit of the apricot tree from the botanical family Rosaceae. The tree may reach a height of ten meters.
- Environment: Originally from central Asia. The apricot has acclimated to temperate climates in Europe and America.
Apricot Health Benefits
The fact that the apricot has a low-calorie content makes it an excellent part of weight-loss diets. It has an alkalizing effect because of its richness in alkaline mineral salts. It is particularly noted for its low sodium content and its high levels of potassium. It contains various trace elements of great physiological importance, such as manganese, fluorine, cobalt, and boron. It is rich in sugars (fructose and glucose).
Dried apricots are an essential source of protein. They also are an important source of iron, one of their principal minerals. However, the most crucial component of fresh or dried apricots is beta-carotene or provitamin A. This component provides most of the apricot health benefits, which are the following:
- Diseases of the eye: Consumption of apricots maintains vision in good condition and gives sparkle and beauty to the eyes typical of good health. This is not due entirely to the action of provitamin A but also the combined effort of other vitamins and minerals accompanying it. Apricots are suggested in chronic irritation, conjunctival dryness, loss of visual acuity due to retinal atrophy, itching of the conjunctiva, and night blindness.
- Anemia (due to lack of iron): The iron content of fresh apricots is insignificant, unlike in dried fruit. For reasons not well understood, the results achieved through their use in the treatment of anemia are far superior to those expected, given their low proportion of iron. This may be because of other substances in apricots that facilitate iron absorption.
- Skin and mucosa disorders, thanks to their content in provitamin A. Apricots increase infection resistance. They are recommended for chronic pharyngitis, sinusitis, and eczema.
- Nervous disorders: Dr. Valnet points out the apricot’s properties of maintaining equilibrium within the nervous system and recommends it in cases of asthenia, depression, nervousness, and lack of appetite. These effects are attributed to the apricot’s richness in trace elements.
- Digestive disorders: Fresh, ripe apricots are slightly astringent, while dried apricots are laxatives. The best results are obtained by following an apricot treatment regime.
Jean Valnet, an outstanding French physician who dedicated his life to the study of phytotherapy and diet therapy, quotes previous experiences of Leclerc, stating that it has been experimentally proven that apricot treatment provides results similar to those of beef liver in cases of anemia due to loss of blood.
The amounts of provitamin A and iron found in apricots are small compared to the large doses that pharmaceutical preparations may contain. Despite this, the results obtained from regular consumption of this fruit are superior to those expected from their content of iron and provitamin A.
This is one of the most noteworthy facts in nutrition science. It has been scientifically explained only in the last few years. The happy combination of vitamins, minerals, and other chemical substances in natural foods enhances their action. The results obtained using whole natural foods are superior to those obtained by their isolated and purified components in pharmaceutical preparations.
Apricots must be eaten ripe since they are pretty indigestible when green. The industrial drying process used for apricots frequently includes sulfites as preservatives. This additive can provoke asthma attacks in allergic individuals.
How to use Apricots
- Fresh and ripe.
- Preserves: Components and marmalade.
- Apricot treatment: This is carried out over 15 days by eating ½ kilo (one pound) of ripe apricots daily, preferably as the only dish at supper. They may be consumed with toasted bread.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 26, 27. Print.