Apricots are very rich in antioxidants and offer good protection against free radical damage. They rank as a good source of vitamin A and C. Apricots contain quercetin, proanthocyanidin, catechin, epicatechin, hydroxycinnamic, gallic acid, caffeic acid, coumaric acid, and ferulic acid.
Vitamin A (from beta-carotene), carotenoids, and xanthrophylls help protect eyesight from damage and lutein protects the retina from blue light.
Vitamin C benefits are multiple and well documented.
Apricots are high in dietary fiber of which 50% consists of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps control cholesterol levels.
As an anti-inflammitory agent, the catechins in apricots inhibit the activity of enzyme (COX-2) in the process of inflammation. In general catechin rich foods protect blood vessels from inflammation and help control blood pressure.
Apricots are delicious fresh or dried. Be aware of commercial drying practices of using sulfur dioxide and sulfites to extend shelf life. Sulfur containing compounds may cause reactions and sensitivity to a small percentage of people. Untreated apricots will be a darker brownish color as compared to the bright orange treated ones.
Apricot seeds or kernels have been the heart of medical debate for decades. The kernels contain a glycoside called amygdalin, aka: laetrile, aka: B17.
Proponents claim amygdalin is very beneficial in the treatment of cancer, arthritis, hypertension and other ailments.
Treatment with amygdalin is banned in the US because of a toxic agent: cyanide. The toxin occurs when an enzyme (beta-glucuronidase) converts amygdalin to hydrogen cyanide in the small intestines. This is exacerbated by taking high doses of vitamin C and eating beta-glucosidase rich foods such as celery, carrots, bean sprouts, and peaches.
Apricot kernel extract is used to flavor the Italian liquor Amaretto and to enhance flavor of almond biscotti cookies. The oil is also used for cooking. The oil contains vitamin E, essential fatty acids and plant sterols.
Studies will continue and so will the debates. Apricots: delicious, nutritious food; effective medicine; toxic poison....do your own research on how to use this fruit.
Tom Fetch 12-19-2014
The information I am sharing is from a multitude of sources, and cultures over a wide time span. Neither L. E. Cooke Co. nor I as a representative assume any liability concerning the efficacy of the information shared. We do not suggest that any dietary protocols discussed are to replace conventional medical treatment or guarantee any results by their practice. We are nurserymen, not MDs, and proud of the trees we grow and the enhancements to life they provide.