Historically referred to as “golden eggs of the sun” by the Greeks, apricot’s peak season matches that of the sun, May-Aug. Now is the time to relish in the delicious taste and nutritious benefits of fresh apricots. They are one of the few alkaline-yielding fruits so eat them to your heart’s desire and bless your taste buds and your body alike.
These slightly sweet velvety fleshed treats are rich in fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, silica, vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, and a multitude of other antioxidants.
A diet bountiful in a variety of organic fresh fruits and vegetables is always your best choice for preventing illness and supporting a healthy body and mind. Apricot’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antioxidant qualities offers merely a glimpse of the benefits you can reap by adding apricots, fresh or dried, to your nutritional regimen.
Support healthy bones, joints, and tissues such as tendons and ligaments
The silicon present in apricots, richest in its peel, supports the absorption of calcium and increases bone strength. Silicon foods are important for individuals focused on strengthening the skeletal systems, as well as rebuilding connective tissues such as tendons, cartilage, and blood vessels.
Silicon foods are also superb sources of calcium and magnesium which together support healthy bones, joints, and tissues along with apricot’s anti-inflammatory properties.
Support healthy heart rate, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels
Vitamins A and C, coupled with potassium, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin can protect against age-related illness such as heart disease and macular degeneration (below). These same nutrients are also shown to be successful in regulating heart rate and blood pressure by supporting healthy cholesterol levels. For example, Lycopene is noted to be protective against high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and heart disease.
Promote healthy eyes, skin, and mucous membranes
A good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and carotenes, apricots offer antioxidant properties essential for good vision. Apricots contain 64% (1926 IU) of the daily required levels of vitamin A which is well documented to support healthy eyes, skin, and mucosa.
Carotenoids present in apricots, such as lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, are reported by Pubmed to offer health benefits by “decreasing the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers and eye disease.” One example is how lutein and zeaxanthin act as a UV filter, protecting the eyes from damaging blue lights.
The lycopene found in apricots also helps eliminate skin-aging free radicals such as sun damage caused by ultraviolet rays. Apricot’s abundant carotenoids are also loaded with pigments that can add color and glow to your skin.
Numerous studies report that the consumption of fruits and vegetables is powerful in preventing and treating cancer.
Scientists particularly tout the benefits of lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin, found abundant in various fresh produce, including apricots, as being “promising chemopreventive agents”. As noted above, Pubmed credits these same nutrients with the ability to “decrease the risk of disease, particularly certain cancers.”
Worldwide research of over 25 years shows that individuals who consume foods high in betacarotene, also rich in apricots, have lower occurrence of cancer, particularly cancer of the bladder, colon, lungs, stomach, ovaries, uterus, and skin.
Pubmed research also evidences lycopene’s ability to prevent other types of cancers, such as prostate.
Apricot seeds and cancer prevention
Apricot seeds are soft almond-shaped seeds extracted from within the hard pit of apricots. They are reported by many to have cancer preventative and curative properties. Particularly the “bitter” apricot seed variety are revered for possessing the highest levels of B17 in nature—the named anti-carcinogenic agent. They are sometimes referred to as raw apricot kernels. They are also noted to contain substantial levels of phosphorus, potassium, and iron.
These seeds can be dried and consumed for their medicinal properties. Chinese medicine has used the seeds to treat arthritis, indigestion, high blood pressure, and respiratory conditions. They have been used for cancer treatments as early as 1845 in Russia and since the 1920’s in the U. S.
Cancer has been noted to be a metabolic illness caused by a deficiency in diet. Amygdalin, abundant in apricots, was named B17 by Dr. Krebb (a proponent of its curative properties) due to its B-complex structure. B17/amygdalin is also found in many other seeds such as plums, peach, apples, nectarines, prunes, cherries, and red and black berries. Millet, buckwheat, macadamia nuts, bamboo shoots, and various beans (mung, lima, and butter) also possess notable levels of this nutrient.
There has been quite a bit of controversy on the efficacy and safety of apricot seeds yet many doctors and patients alike attest to its curative properties. A bit of research and a healthy dose of common sense can reveal shocking and life changing data. The discovery of, use of, and potential cover-up of apricot seeds, B17, and Laetrile (an non-patentable concentrated form of B17) is well documented and evidences that there is definitely something magical about these pit-hidden treasures of a seed.
However you consume apricots is your business alone. Take the opportunity to grab a few fresh ones while they’re in season, and if you feel so inclined—cut open a pit and see what you find—this may inspire you to dig deeper.