Dried Apricots Benefits And Side Effects
Apricots, often categorized with stone fruits like purple plums, have been savoured around the world both as fresh apricots and dried apricots. The conversion of fresh fruit to dried fruit intensifies not only the taste but also some of the health benefits. While most fruits offer a variety of health advantages, the dried apricot stands out due to its multifaceted benefits. However, like everything, consuming them in moderation is the key. Here’s a detailed dive into the dried apricots benefits and side effects.
- The Apricot Fruit: Fresh vs. Dried
- The Multitude of Health Benefits of Dried Apricots
- Potential Side Effects
- The Powerhouse of Nutrients
- A Guard Against Chronic Diseases
- Bone Health and More
- Weight Management and Dietary Fiber
- The Side Effects
- Wrapping Up
1The Apricot Fruit: Fresh vs. Dried
Apricots belong to the group of stone fruits, similar to purple plums and peaches. Fresh apricots are succulent, with a mellow sweetness, while dried apricots have a more intense, concentrated flavor. While most fruits lose some of their vitamin C when dried, apricots retain their essential vitamins and antioxidants, even in their dried form. This makes them a rich source of fresh fruits.
The process of drying the apricots increases the fruit’s calorie and sugar concentration. Thus, while a half cup of fresh apricots might be light in calories, a half cup of dried apricots will be denser in energy. That’s why it’s essential to know how many dried apricots fit into a balanced diet.
2The Multitude of Health Benefits of Dried Apricots
Rich in Essential Nutrients
Dried apricots are laden with essential nutrients. They are a rich source of vitamins A, C, K, and E. Vitamin A and beta-carotene, in particular, support eye health, while vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting.
Promotes Skin Health
Thanks to vitamins E and C, apricot nutrition is excellent for skin health, offering antioxidant properties that can help neutralize free radicals leading to skin aging.
Supports Digestive Health
The dietary fiber in dried apricots, especially soluble fiber, aids the digestive tract. Eating apricots can lead to a healthier gut microbiome, ensuring smoother digestion and reduced digestive issues.
Heart Health and Blood Pressure
Dried apricots are beneficial for maintaining healthy blood pressure, primarily due to their potassium content. Adequate intake of this natural mineral can help reduce high blood pressure, subsequently lowering the risk of heart disease.
Apricots contain minerals like calcium and potassium essential for bone metabolism. They support bone mineral density and overall bone health.
A deficiency in iron can lead to anaemia. Fortunately, dried apricots, being iron-rich foods, help in carrying oxygen throughout the body and can be used to treat anaemia.
Boosts Immune System
With a generous dose of vitamin C and other antioxidant compounds, like chlorogenic acids, dried apricots enhance the immune system, assisting in neutralizing free radicals and protecting against many chronic diseases.
3Potential Side Effects
Sugar and Caloric Intake
Remember, dried apricots contain more sugar and calories than fresh apricots. Overindulgence can impact weight loss efforts or even lead to weight gain.
Some dried fruits, including apricots, might be treated with sulphur dioxide to extend their shelf life and retain color. This can lead to stomach upset in some individuals, especially those sensitive to sulphites.
While they are beneficial for the digestive tract due to their fiber content, eating apricots in excess can lead to digestive issues, given the high fiber content.
As with most foods, there’s a chance of an allergic reaction. If you experience any symptoms, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional.
4The Powerhouse of Nutrients
Dried apricots are a rich source of vital nutrients. Packed with essential vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin E, they’re perfect for those looking to enhance their healthy diet. Notably, vitamin C, commonly associated with citrus fruits, plays a crucial role in skin health, immune system enhancement, and neutralizing free radicals, while vitamin E helps protect the skin from damage.
Moreover, dried apricots are known for their iron-rich properties, making them an excellent choice for treating anemia. Iron is essential for producing healthy red blood cells and carrying oxygen throughout the body. Coupled with their soluble fiber content, apricots are a boon for those with digestive issues, ensuring a healthier gut microbiome and smooth functioning of the digestive tract.
5A Guard Against Chronic Diseases
Many chronic diseases find their roots in oxidative stress caused by free radicals. The phenolic compounds in dried apricots, including chlorogenic acids, have powerful antioxidant properties. By neutralizing free radicals, these compounds reduce the risk of diseases like heart disease and macular degeneration. Consuming just one cup of dried apricots daily can boost your defence against these ailments.
Furthermore, these dried fruits have a significant effect on heart health. The potassium present helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, reducing high blood pressure risks. This natural mineral also maintains fluid balance and ensures proper hydration. Those looking to reduce blood pressure and promote heart health should surely incorporate a half cup or one cup of dried apricots into their diet.
6Bone Health and More
Bone health is often overlooked in a healthy lifestyle. Dried apricots, being a source of vital nutrients like calcium and potassium, promote bone mineral density. This aids in the prevention of age-related bone disorders and supports overall bone metabolism. Moreover, dried apricots contain chlorogenic acid, known to support bone health.
7Weight Management and Dietary Fiber
Looking to lose weight? Dried apricots could be a delicious solution. Their dietary fiber content gives a feeling of fullness, curbing overeating. Additionally, they promote a healthy digestive tract and foster a healthier gut microbiome, vital for weight loss. Remember, moderation is key: integrating dried apricots into your diet without overconsuming them ensures the benefits without the added calories.
8The Side Effects
While the benefits of dried apricots are numerous, overindulgence can have drawbacks. One primary concern is sulphur dioxide, often used in dried fruits, including dried apricots, as a preservative. Some individuals might be sensitive to this compound, leading to stomach upset or more severe reactions.
Furthermore, due to their high fiber content, consuming dried apricots excessively can lead to digestive issues like bloating or diarrhea. It’s always best to ask, “How many dried apricots?” before indulging. Stick to adequate intake to reap the benefits without the unwanted side effects.
Moreover, while dried apricots can aid in reducing blood pressure, overconsumption combined with other high-potassium foods can lead to excessively low blood pressure. Always strive for a balance in your healthy diet.
Incorporating dried apricots into your diet can bolster your health in various ways. From enhancing skin health with vitamin C to promoting bone health and aiding in weight loss, the benefits are diverse. However, moderation is the key to enjoying these benefits without the associated side effects.
Whether you’re integrating these dried fruits into your healthy lifestyle for their rich source of essential nutrients or just for their delightful taste, remember to maintain a balance. If you’re unsure about your consumption, especially considering health conditions like high blood pressure or digestive issues, always consult a healthcare professional before making any significant dietary changes. With the right approach, dried apricots can be a delicious and nutritious addition to any diet.
Neslihan Göncüoğlu Taş, Burçe Ataç Mogol, Vural Gökmen: Phytochemicals and Health Benefits of Dried Apricots. - Retrieved on January 3, 2013