Apricots are an ideal treat for snacks and deserts. They are very tasty, easy to digest and are very high in fiber, low in calories, virtually fat free and are very nutritious. Just 3 fresh apricots or 10 dried halves provide more than 25% of your recommended nutrient intake of vitamin A in it's plant beta carotene form. When consumed from foods beta carotene is an antioxidant, a substance that protects against cell damage when the body uses oxygen. This damage is thought to be instrumental in aging and the development of heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases.
Fresh apricots are high in vitamin C, another antioxidant that also helps your body absorb iron. A lot of this is lost when apricots are canned or dried. But no matter what form of apricots you choose they are still high in iron as well as potassium, essential for proper nerve and muscle function that helps maintain normal blood pressure and balance your body fluids.
All apricots contain a natural salicylate, a compound similar to the active ingredient in aspirin. People with allergies to aspirin may experience allergic reactions to eating apricots.
Ounce for ounce even dried apricots are more nutritious than most fresh or canned fruits. Dried apricots are only 32% water, while other fruits are 85% water. Apricots are a much more concentrated source of calories, 50 calories in 4 ounces of fresh apricots versus 260 calories in 4 ounces about 30 halves of the dried apricots. When eaten in moderation the dried apricots are a convenient, compact form of nutrition and a great snack.
Apricots are very often treated with sulfur dioxide before they are dried to preserve their color and certain nutrients. This sulfite treatment may trigger an asthma attack or an allergic reaction in certain people. Unless the dried apricots are labeled as sulfite-free if you have asthma avoid them.
Now; on to the laetrile issue when it comes to apricot pits. Laetrile or amygdalin is a very controversial substance derives from apricot pits. Legally it can not be sold as a medical treatment, but it is available as a nutritional supplement sometimes called vitamin B17 in health food stores. It is promoted in other literature or by word of mouth as an alternative treatment for cancer, heart disease, allergies, liver disorders and other diseases. Now numerous scientific studies have failed to find any benefit from laetrile. Laetrile from apricot pits and other sources can liberate cyanide. Consuming large amounts of laetrile has the risk of cyanide poisoning and doctors warn that apricot pits in any form should not be consumed.
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