Apricot season is here! These miniature stone fruits are such a rare treat, and it turns out they’re more than just delicious. They’re fantastic for you! Check out the health benefits of apricots, plus some unusual ways to eat them.
Apricot season runs from May through August, and there’s nothing quite like a ripe, fresh apricot. They’re tender, sweet and velvety, and you can pull a perfect apricot in half with your fingers. Last week, I spied the first apricots of the season at our local grocery store and literally squealed. They’re among my favorite summer fruits, and they’re so good for you!
A good apricot is peachy-orange in color and on the soft side, but not so soft that it’s crossed over to squishy. Like peaches, I always subject apricots to a smell test. If they give off a sweet, floral, apricotty scent, then they’re good to go.
Since apricots are tiny, each one only has 17 calories. A serving of fresh apricot is one cup, and even that only has 74 calories. One cup of apricot halves contains:
- 3g fiber
- 2g protein
- 60% of your vitamin A
- 26% of your vitamin C
- 2% of your calcium
- 3% of your iron
- 7% of your vitamin E
- 6% of your vitamin K
- 11% of your potassium
The list above are just a few nutrients that stand out in a one-cup serving of apricots. You can check out all of the vitamins and minerals they provide here.
3 Health Benefits of Apricots
- Improved eyesight: You probably already know that vitamin A is associated with improved vision, but there are other essential vitamins and minerals that support good eyesight. Vitamins C and E also support better vision, and apricots are good sources of both of these. Apricots provide 6 percent of your copper and 2 percent of your zinc. A Harvard Health Letter listed apricots as one of the top foods for healthy vision.
- Reduced inflammation: Eating anti-inflammatory foods like apricots protects your overall health. In fact, inflammation is linked to many chronic illnesses like arthritis and heart disease. Apricots are rich in nutrients called catechins, which prevent inflammation. Catechins, the same anti-inflammatory compounds found in green tea, reduce inflammation and support healthy muscles by helping your muscles recover faster after exertion.
- Better digestion: Apricots are small-but-mighty sources of soluble and insoluble fiber. Most Americans do not get enough fiber each day, and that’s bad news for our bellies. Fiber fights constipation and helps improve your gut flora by feeding the good bacteria we need to properly digest our food. A single apricot provides one gram of fiber, and you get three grams from a one-cup serving. Three grams may not sound like much, but that’s 12 percent of your daily fiber needs. Not too shabby!
Fresh apricots are great as-is or chopped into a fruit salad, but there are some fun, less conventional ways to enjoy them!
- Endive-and-Apricot Tartines – These sweet and savory toasts would be lovely at a summer cookout! To make these vegan, skip the cheese or replace the cheese with sliced avocado.
- Fresh Apricot Bars – These are such a lovely summer dessert option! To make these vegan, use your favorite non-hydrogenated margarine in place of butter.
- Grilled Apricots – If you’ve never tried grilling stone fruits before, you are in for such a treat! Grilled apricots are delicious on their own, tossed into a salad, or served for dessert with a dollop of cinnamon whip.
- Raw Apricot Jam – Apricot jam is nothing new, but this no-cook version is refined sugar-free. No cooking means you can make this jam without standing over a hot stove in the middle of summer!
- Apricot Quinoa – You can serve this simple, summery dish as a side or as your main event.
Do you have a favorite recipe for fresh apricots? I’d love to hear how you’re enjoying the health benefits of apricots this spring and summer!
Images via Thinkstock.