The antioxidant properties of apricots were outlined in the study that took place in the community of Hunza. It is an indigenous community located in a remote Himalayan region. The diet of this community is exclusively vegetarian and focuses especially on apricots.
Studies conducted by Drs Paul D. White and Dr. Edward G. Toomey showed that those people get far fewer illnesses and their life expectancies are much longer. They saw those people could easily live in good health and reach 90-110 years, an even at that age they had no diseases of the circulatory system and their sight was perfect. They were able to make great efforts at a very old age, although they consumed only a very limited number of calories (around 1900 per day)
Possibly, some other factors besides the consumption of the fruit influence their quality of life (strict diet, lack of stress, lack of pollution, etc) but certainly the fact that the apricots are their main food must also influence their health. The truth is that the Hunza measure the economic level of a person by the number of apricot trees they own. They eat the fresh fruit in abundance at the time of production, dry the excess in the sun for eating them throughout the year. They even prepare ice cream out of apricots and snow. The seeds are crushed and pressed to extract oil used for food, for their lamps or as a cosmetic.
The ability of keeping people younger and stronger for longer is related to the antioxidant properties of this fruit. Apricots have a very high amount of vitamin A as beta carotene. The carotenoids are the ones that give the yellow characteristic coloration of this fruit, as they do with other plants with plenty of this component, such as pumpkin, papaya or carrots. Three pieces of the fruit are the half of what an adult needs daily. These components act as purifying the body by neutralizing the negative influence of free radicals responsible for cell aging.
Is it the adequate prevention against cancer?
The regular use of such foods is a natural antidote to prevent many degenerative diseases, including cancer. It was found that beta carotene can protect people against certain types of cancers, including lung cancer. Eating apricots can be a good prevention for smokers.
From the heart of apricot seeds and other Rosaceae, especially bitter almonds, peaches, or cherries, you get the laetrile, a very controversial drug for the treatment of cancer. This component, in contact with water, produces hydrogen cyanide acid (HCN), which is commonly known as cyanide, which is toxic to the body. This type of acid is allowed to be used in some countries. Others, however, have banned it because they say it is not sufficiently tested and that is responsible for many poisonings due to its content in cyanide.
Until the issue is not well defined it is perhaps more prudent to eat plenty of fresh apricots as a preventive and safer method. Although there are apricots with a fresh and edible seed (varieties of sweet apricot seed, such as apricot from Toledo), in general you should not eat apricot seeds because their content in amygdalin can cause severe poisoning or even death. This seed should be kept away from young children. In this sense, it is like the seed of bitter almond tree, and like it, it is poisonous.
A good remedy to maintain eye health
What is beyond doubt the ability of beta-carotene in preventing the degeneration of retinal cells and keeping away the risk of a series of eye diseases. Eating apricots regularely, or carrots and pumpkin, for example, is the best way to avoid diseases such as night blindness, or vision loss.
A suitable fruit for the treatment of anemia
Apricots, like plums or peaches, have a very high iron content. This fact has been known known since very ancient times in China, because this food was given by doctors to people who were weak and with pale skin, characteristic symptoms of iron deficiency, typical of what later became known as iron deficiency anemia. 100 gr. of fresh apricots have half of the iron in 100 gr. of pork meat, but without fat and cholesterol. But the dried apricots or dried apricots are the ones with a really high content of this mineral. 100 gr. of dried apricots have more than twice of iron than the same amount of steak.
Eating plenty of apricots can be very useful for people who have problems with low iron levels, either by anemia or other causes, such as women who have heavy bleeding during menstruation, or in other periods of time (Metrorrhagia), persons who have a tendency to a bleeding nose, etc.
A fruit with many minerals and vitamins.
In addition to iron, apricots, specially dried apricots, are very rich in potassium. Potassium may help control fluid retention in the body so it is well suited for people who suffer from this ailment as those who want to control weight. Some fresh apricots between meals can suppress hunger without providing a lot of calories and offering carbohydrates in the form of very healthy sugars which are turned into body in a gradual manner to keep us satisfied. Its high fiber content can help in the same direction and at the same time act as mild laxative, helping in cases of constipation.
Potassium is very convenient to control hypertension. It has been shown that those with low levels of this mineral usually have high levels of blood pressure. Eating this fruit will prove equally useful for people who have a tendency to suffer from cramps in their legs.
In addition to its extremely high level in vitamin A, apricots are very rich in vitamin B3 or niacin, a vitamin ideal for maintaining the nervous system in good condition and helping in cholesterol reduction, or in the treatment of arthritis.
The best apricots
Apricots are a good fruit in late spring or summer. They can be used in cleansing cures, on their own or in mixed with other fruits and vegetables. They are very sweet, very attractive because of their color and shape, especially for children and very digestible as long as we eat ripe apricots. Unripe apricots are very indigestible. They can cause diarrhea in people with very sensitive intestines. They should make a very moderate use of this fruit.
It is best to choose organic apricots for consumption, because the ones sold in the market are often impregnated with plant protection products. If we're not sure about this, it is better to wash or peel apricots. To remove the skin, scalding hot water can be used, although this process will eliminate much of their vitamin content.