9 Health and Nutrition Benefits of Apricots
By Katey Davidson, MScFN
Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are stone fruits also known as Armenian plums.
Round and yellow, they look like a smaller version of a peach but share the tartness of purple plums.
They're extremely nutritious and have many health benefits, such as improved digestion and eye health.
Here are 9 health and nutrition benefits of apricots.
1. Very Nutritious and Low in Calories
Apricots are very nutritious and contain many essential vitamins and minerals.
Just 2 fresh apricots (70 grams) provide (1):
- Calories: 34
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.27 grams
- Fiber: 1.5 grams
- Vitamin A: 8% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin C: 8% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 4% of the DV
- Potassium: 4% of the DV
Furthermore, this fruit is a decent source of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which are potent antioxidants that help fight free radicals in your body (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
It's best to enjoy apricots whole and unpeeled, as the skin boasts large amounts of fiber and nutrients. Be sure to discard the stone, as it's inedible.
Apricots are low in calories and fat while also an excellent source of vitamins A and C.
2. High in Antioxidants
Apricots are a great source of many antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamins A, C, and E.
What's more, they're high in a group of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease (5, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
The main flavonoids in apricots are chlorogenic acids, catechins, and quercetin (5).
These compounds work to neutralize free radicals, which are harmful compounds that damage your cells and cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is linked to obesity and many chronic diseases, such as heart disease (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
In one study in 2,375 people, researchers developed a scoring system to measure changes in levels of inflammatory markers.
They found that high flavonoid and anthocyanin intakes were associated with a 42% and 73% lower inflammation score, respectively. High flavonoid intake was also tied to a 56% lower oxidative stress score (11Trusted Source).
Apricots contain numerous antioxidants, most notably flavonoids. They help protect your body from oxidative stress, which is linked to many chronic diseases.
3. May Promote Eye Health
Vitamin A plays a vital role in preventing night blindness, a disorder caused by lack of light pigments in your eyes, while vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that enters your eyes directly to protect them from free radical damage (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Meanwhile, beta carotene — which gives apricots their yellow-orange color — serves as a precursor to vitamin A, meaning that your body can convert it into this vitamin (14Trusted Source).
Apricots are an excellent source of beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamins C and E. These nutrients protect your eyes against damage.
4. May Boost Skin Health
Eating apricots may benefit your skin.
Notably, you can fight some of this skin damage through a healthy diet full of antioxidants, which apricots provide.
Vitamins C and E, both found in this fruit, may aid your skin. In particular, vitamin C protects against UV damage and environmental pollutants by neutralizing free radicals (19Trusted Source).
Furthermore, this vitamin helps build collagen, which gives your skin strength and elasticity. Eating a diet high in vitamin C can help your skin heal from UV damage and prevent wrinkles (19Trusted Source).
Beta carotene, another apricot nutrient, may protect against sunburns. In a 10-week study, supplementing with beta carotene reduced sunburn risk by 20% (20Trusted Source).
While you should still use sunscreen, munching on apricots may offer additional protection.
Apricots are naturally high in antioxidants, which guard against environmental damage from sunlight, pollution, and cigarette smoke. These compounds may benefit your skin by lowering your risk of wrinkles and sunburn.
5. May Promote Gut Health
Apricots may promote gut health.
One cup (165 grams) of sliced apricots provides 3.3 grams of fiber, which is 8.6% and 13.2% of the DV for men and women, respectively (1).
Apricots contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. The soluble kind dissolves in water and includes pectin, gums, and long chains of sugar called polysaccharides, while the insoluble kind doesn't dissolve in water and includes cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin (21Trusted Source).
While a single apricot (35 grams) holds only 0.7 grams of fiber, it's easy to eat a few in one sitting (1).
Apricots are a good source of soluble fiber, which feeds your healthy gut bacteria and may boost digestive health.
6. High in Potassium
Apricots are high in potassium, a mineral that also serves as an electrolyte. In your body, it's responsible for sending nerve signals and regulating muscle contractions and fluid balance (24, 25Trusted Source).
Two apricots (70 grams) provide 181 mg of this mineral, which is 4% of the DV.
One analysis of 33 studies found that a diet rich in potassium significantly reduced blood pressure and resulted in a 24% lower risk of stroke (26Trusted Source).
Potassium aids nerve signaling, muscle contractions, and fluid balance. Eating potassium-rich foods, such as apricots, may help prevent high blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.
7. Very Hydrating
One cup (165 grams) of sliced, fresh apricots provides almost 2/3 cup (142 ml) of water (1).
As most people don't drink enough water, eating fresh fruit can help you reach your daily needs.
If you're dehydrated, your blood volume drops, forcing your heart to work harder to pump blood. Furthermore, staying hydrated allows your blood to circulate waste products and nutrients throughout your body (27, 30Trusted Source).
Apricots are naturally high in water, which is important for staying hydrated. Proper hydration is vital for several aspects of health, including blood pressure and heart rate.
8. May Protect Your Liver
This research suggests that apricots may help prevent liver damage because of their naturally high antioxidant content.
That said, it's hard to know whether this fruit provides the same benefit in humans. More research is necessary.
In two rat studies, apricots were found to protect the liver from oxidative stress caused by the ingestion of alcohol. Yet, human studies are needed.
9. Easy to Add to Your Diet
Both fresh and dried apricots make for a quick, delicious snack or an easy addition to your favorite meal. You can add them to your diet in a variety of ways, including:
- stirred into trail mix or granola
- eaten fresh as a snack
- sliced and added to yogurt or salad
- used in jams, preserves, and salsas
- stewed in a slow-cooker with meat, such as chicken or beef
- added to desserts like pies, cakes, and pastries
As they're sweet and tart, apricots can be used as a replacement for peaches or plums in most recipes.
Both fresh and dried apricots are widely available. You can eat them on their own or add them to your favorite dishes, sides, or desserts.
The Bottom Line
Apricots are a delicious fruit packed with vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. They have multiple benefits, including improved eye, skin, and gut health.
Fresh or dried, apricots are easy to add to yogurt, salads, and main meals.
If you're used to eating peaches and plums, apricots can be a great way to change up your routine.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.
How to Rock Your Walk<p>Walking isn't just fun and healthy. It's accessible.</p><p>"Walking is cheap," says Dr. John Paul H. Rue, a sports medicine doctor at <a href="https://mdmercy.com/" target="_blank">Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore</a>. "You can do it anywhere at any time; [it] requires little to no special equipment and has many of the same cardio benefits as running or other more intense workouts."</p><p>Want to up your walking game? Try the tips below.</p>
Use Hand Weights<p>Cardio and strength training can go hand-in-hand when you add weights to your walk.</p><p>A <a href="https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2019/03000/Associations_of_Resistance_Exercise_with.14.aspx" target="_blank">2019 study</a> found that weight training is good for your heart, and <a href="https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(17)30167-2/abstract" target="_blank">research</a> shows it reduces the risk of developing a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/nutrition-metabolism-disorders" target="_blank">metabolic disorder</a> by 17 percent. People with metabolic disorders have a higher chance of being diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.</p><p>Rue suggests not carrying weights for your entire walk.</p><p>"Hand weights can give you an added level of energy burning, but you have to be careful with these because carrying [them] over a long period of time or while walking could actually lead to some overuse injuries," he says.</p>
Make It a Circuit<p>As another option, consider doing a circuit. First, put a pair of dumbbells on your lawn or somewhere in your home. Walk around the block once, then stop and do some bicep curls and tricep lifts before walking around the block again.</p><p>Rue recommends <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/running-with-weights" target="_blank">avoiding ankle weights</a> during cardio workouts, as they force you to use your quadriceps rather than hamstrings. They can also cause muscle imbalance, according to the <a href="https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/wearable-weights-how-they-can-help-or-hurt" target="_blank">Harvard Health Letter</a>.</p>
Find a Fitness Trail<p>Strength training isn't limited to weights. You can get stronger by <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/bodyweight-workout" target="_blank">simply using your body</a>.</p><p>Often found at parks, fitness trails are obstacle courses with equipment for pullups, pushups, rowing, and stretches to build upper and lower body strength.</p><p>Try searching "fitness trails near me" online, checking out your local parks and recreation website, or calling the municipal office to <a href="https://calisthenics-parks.com/" target="_blank">find one</a>.</p>
Recruit a Friend<p>People who workout together stay healthy together.</p><p><a href="https://bmcgeriatr.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12877-017-0584-3" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that older adults who exercised with a group improved or maintained their functional health and enjoyed their lives more.</p><p>Enlist the help of a walking buddy with a regimen you aspire to have. If you don't know anyone in your area, apps like <a href="https://www.strava.com/" target="_blank">Strava</a> have social networking features so you can get support from fellow exercisers.</p>
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Do Fartlek Walks<p>Typically used in running, fartlek intervals alternate periods of increased and decreased speed. These are <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit" target="_blank">high-intensity interval training (HIIT)</a> workouts, which allow exercisers to accomplish more in less time.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0154075" target="_blank">One study</a> showed that 10-minute interval training improved <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/metabolic-syndrome" target="_blank">cardiometabolic</a> health, or lowered the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, just as well as working out at a continuous pace for 50 minutes.</p><p><a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0111489" target="_blank">Research</a> also shows that HIIT workouts increase muscle <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fast-twitch-muscles" target="_blank">oxidative</a> capacity, or the ability to use oxygen. To do a fartlek walk, try walking at an increased pace for 3 minutes, slow down for 2 minutes, and repeat.</p>
Gradually Increase Pace<p>A faster walking pace is associated with a lower risk of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/copd" target="_blank">chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)</a> and respiratory diseases, according to a <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30303933/" target="_blank">2019 study</a>.</p><p>Still, it's best not to go from a stroll to an Olympic-worthy power walk in a day. Instead, increase your pace gradually to prevent injury.</p><p>"Start by walking at a brisk pace for about 10 minutes per day, 3 to 5 days per week," Rue says. "Once you've done this for a few weeks, increase your time by 5 to 10 minutes per day until you get to 30 minutes."</p>
Add Stairs<p>You've likely heard that taking the stairs instead of an elevator is a way to add more movement into your daily routine. It's also a way to step up your walking. Stair climbing has been shown to <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335519301123?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">decrease the risk of mortality</a> and can easily add a bit more challenge to your walk.</p><p>If you don't have stairs in your home, you can often find them outside a local municipal building, train station, or at a high school stadium.</p>
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Takeaway<p>By shaking up your routine, you can add excitement to your workout and reap even more rewards than a basic walk provides. Increasing the pace and intensity of a workout will make it more effective.</p><p>Simply pick your favorite variation to add some spice to your next walk.</p>
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