Yes, Apricot is Paleo!
Apricots are small, golden orange fruits from the family of plums and peaches. Its skin and flesh are velvety with a sweet, tangy and juicy taste. Most people think of its taste as musky and is somewhere in between peaches and plums. The inside of the apricot is a large, yellow or orange inedible pit.
As with most fruits, apricots are naturally sweet and can be consumed fresh, canned or dried. Apricots are also used in making juices, jams and jellies. They are available all year round but are prominent during the summer season.
Nutritional Value of Apricots
Apricot is a nutrient-dense fruit and is a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is rich in calcium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A, C & E and dietary fiber. Apricot also contains phytochemicals in the form of carotenoids that give apricot its golden yellow-orange color.
Lycopene is just one of the powerful antioxidants present in apricot .
Health Benefits of Apricots
Apricot is a powerhouse of nutrients and antioxidants that are difficult to obtain from other food sources. These compounds are associated with a number of health benefits.
Apricots contain non-heme iron which are absorbed slowly thus protecting against iron deficiency or anemia.
Ripe apricots are rich in antioxidants that aid in the body’s functioning and eliminate the and free radicals that cause damage to the body on a cellular level. Vitamin A and C are abundant in apricots that are helpful in improving immune system health and prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases and even cancer.
Some important antioxidants found in apricots are quercetin, catechins, proanthocynanidins and caffeic acid.
Apricots may protect against inflammation with the help of flavanoid catechins. Catechin-rich foods are known to protect the blood vessels from inflammation.
The significant amounts of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and copper found in apricots play an important role in bone development and ensuring healthy growth of bones. Lack of calcium can lead to osteoporosis.
Fiber aids in healthy digestive system by helping absorb essential nutrients and break down food easier for processing. Fiber also activates the peristaltic motion of the digestive tract. It gives bulk to stool therefore easier transport through the bowels, preventing constipation and other gastrointestinal disorders. Apricot is one of the best sources of dietary fiber.
As mentioned above, apricots are rich in carotenoids, specifically lutein. It can protect the retina from aging-related damage. Vitamin A together with carotenoid strengthens the optic nerves and protects the eyes from macular degeneration.
Apricots contain vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber which all contribute to healthy heart. Vitamin C as a natural antioxidant protects the heart from free radicals. Potassium regulates blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and arteries. Dietary fiber eliminates bad cholesterol in the arteries therefore reducing the tension in the heart.
The antioxidants, vitamins A and C in apricots also protect the skin from the aging-related effects of free radicals. They help slow down the aging process and facilitate cell production.
Caution on Apricot Consumption
Apparently, the only concern in eating apricots is that it may contain sulphites, a form of preservative to prevent oxidation in fruits. Sulphites are known to impact asthma. Though this might not affect everyone, it would be better to consume fresh apricots rather than the dried form.
Click here to know more about other fruits on the Paleo diet.
What Experts Say About Apricot
“Higher fructose-containing fruits include apples and pears, mangos and papaya, while relatively lower fructose fruits include cherries, figs, plums, kiwi, fresh and dried apricots, dried prunes and bananas”. – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Apricot and Paleo
The Paleo Diet. Fruits and Sugars
Paleo Porn. Are Apricots Paleo?
Original Eating. Apricot
World’s Healthiest Foods. Apricots
Organic Facts. Health Benefits of Apricot
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photo credit: wuestenigel Apricots in a bowl / Aprikosen