Apricots are the fruit of the plant Prunus armeniaca and are the classic fruit of early summer. However, in the dried form, they can also be eaten all year long. So let's see the properties and characteristics of dried apricots.
Dried apricots, properties and use
Dried apricots are a precious source of energy, and this makes them an excellent food for breakfast or for mid-morning or afternoon snacks for athletes or for those who have a very active life. Dried apricots can be eaten whole or can be added, chopped, to yogurt or smoothies. In the Healthy Eating section you can find a nice idea to prepare a smoothie with soy milk, dried apricots and cinnamon. And for what concerns the properties of this type of yummy fruit? Dried apricots contain fiber, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and potassium in quantities up to 5 times higher than the fresh fruit (Bennett et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2011). Dried apricots also bring antioxidant substances, such as beta carotene and phenols. Also important to report is the presence of vitamin A (Hernandez Alonso et al, Nutrients, 2017). Finally, apricots protect the liver and, according to scientific research (Yilmaz et al, Transplant Proc, 2013), dried apricots seem to be able to regenerate liver cells. It is an isolated study that needs further research but certainly it makes us understand the power of these fruits.
Dried apricots, blood sugar and body weight
The dried apricot fibers and antioxidants help keep blood sugar, and therefore diabetes risk, under control. Not only that, the main sugar is fructose, which has a low glycemic index, around 15 (Viguiliouk et al, Nutrition and diabetes, 2018). Then, in general, those who include dried fruit in their diet, including dried apricots, have a higher intake of nutrients and lower body weight and adiposity (Keast et al, Nutr Res, 2011).
Dried apricots, treated or organic?
When the dried apricots are of a bright orange color then they have been treated with sulfur dioxide, otherwise, if the fruit is completely organic, then it will appear with a darker color and a rougher surface. But is this just an aesthetic problem? Not really, at least based on scientific research. In fact, in predisposed people, sulfur dioxide can cause asthma (Freedman et al, Br J Dis Chest, 1980). Moreover, the quantity of polyphenols, that are antioxidants, in sun dried apricots not treated with sulfur dioxide is approximately equal to that found in fresh organic apricots. In turn, fresh organic apricots have higher amounts of antioxidants than the same fruit but treated with pesticides. Instead, as regards dried apricots treated with sulfur dioxide, the quantity of antioxidants is in any case lower than the fresh fruit, both bio and treated with pesticides (Erdgan et al, Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2011).