Demystifying the Truth About the Nutrition in Dried Apricots
Every now and then, a trendy superfood emerges. Avocados, chia seeds, acai berries, and kale are just a few examples. But let’s take a break from these favorite superfoods for a minute to put the spotlight back on the humble apricot: a beautiful fruit that many associate with summertime.
The apricot belongs to the rose family: the same family as plums, almonds, peaches and nectarines, among others. Being a part of the rose family makes apricots an excellent source of fiber and carotenoids, such as beta carotene. Also present in carrots, beta carotene is an antioxidant that gives both carrots and apricots their orange color, while promoting great skin and eyesight.
However, apricots are fragile and bruise easily. Luckily, you can still enjoy the benefits of apricots even when they’re preserved, as the dried fruit manages to retain several nutrients that are present in the fresh version of the fruit. The drying process may degrade several of its water-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin C), but that only adds more concentration to other present nutrients.
Just remember to take it slow when it comes to your consumption of dried apricots, as they may be treated with sulfur-containing compounds to extend their shelf-life. Watch out for any adverse reactions!
Health Benefits from Dried Apricots
You’ll also want to watch out for calories adding up if you’re consuming dried apricots to positively impact your diet — sugar is often used as a preservative in dried fruits. For measure, remember that half a cup of dried fruit can equal to a cup of fresh fruit.
More specifically, one cup of dried apricots is about 130 grams, and supplies 341 calories. Additionally, a serving size is roughly equal to a ½ cup or 8 halves of the dried fruit. Remember to measure out your dried apricots ahead of consumption to avoid overeating.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to know about nutrition in dried apricots:
- Dietary fiber. Each serving of dried apricots provides about 4 grams of dietary fiber or 16% of the recommended daily amount. Dried apricots are especially rich in soluble fiber, which dissolves into a gel-like substance that binds with fatty acids to be excreted in waste. This type of fiber can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
- Potassium. Each serving of dried apricots contains about 705 mg of potassium or 21% of the recommended daily amount. Potassium is one of the seven essential macronutrients. A high potassium intake decreases the risk of stroke, lowers blood pressure, and is said to decrease risk for overall mortality by 20%.
- Iron. Iron plays an important role in the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. People get a majority of their daily recommended amount from animal meat (called heme iron). Apricots provide a type of iron, called non-heme iron, which isn’t as easily absorbed as heme iron but contributes to the daily requirement. Dried apricots are more significant sources of iron than their fresh counterparts, with each serving providing 1.75mg of iron or 10% of the recommended daily amount.
- Magnesium. Magnesium is involved in over 600 reactions in the body including energy creation, muscle movements, and nervous system regulation. Each serving contributes 20.8mg of magnesium or 5% of the recommended daily amount.
- Vitamin A. Since Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, the drying process does not degrade this micronutrient in apricots. Vitamin A is essential for several important body processes, including maintaining healthy vision and ensuring proper function of the immune system. Each serving provides 2343 IU or 47% of the recommended daily amount.
Dried Apricot Seeds Nutrition
Aside from being able to consume the fruit, you can also consume dried apricot seeds. In Egypt, people consume ground apricot kernels with coriander seeds and salt to make a traditional snack called dokka. The seeds are white and appear similar to a small almond. They turn brown when dried.
Apricot seeds contain protein, fiber, and high amounts of oil, which are extracted for use in cosmetics, cooking, and medicine. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, apricots are composed of anywhere between 27.7 to 66.7% of oil, 14.1 and 45.3% of protein, and 18.1 to 27.9% of carbohydrates. The main benefit of the apricot seed is the oil you can obtain from it.
Apricot seed oil contains essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3), which the human body cannot produce on its own. Linoleic acids can help brain, skin, bone, immune, and reproductive health, while alpha-linolenic acid has been said to be good for heart health: preventing heart attacks, as well as lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Apricots are also a rich source of potent antioxidants, including flavonoids, which have been linked to reductions in heart disease. Other groups of antioxidants present in apricots include quercetin, proanthocyanidins, catechins, and hydroxycinnamics, among many others.
Final Thoughts: Demystifying the Truth About the Nutrition in Dried Apricots
You can obtain several nutrients from the consumption of both apricot fruit and seed. However, fresh apricots go bad easily, which creates an argument for preservation. The good news? Dried apricots and their seeds retain many of the same nutrients as the fresh fruit. However, people have to watch their overall consumption of dried apricot products, as they can contain sulfur compounds or sugar as a preservative.
Interested in taking advantage of the nutrition in dried apricots? Benefit from apricots even when they’re not in season by shopping available apricot extract products.
Any information contained herein is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Articles and websites linked herein are not endorsed by and do not necessarily represent the views held by Apricot Power Inc.