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It is believed that apricots originated in China where they were considered good for detoxifying the body and regenerating body fluids. Research has shown that this little drupe fruit is packed with nutrition and has amazing anti aging properties; even its kernel, if eaten in moderation, has benefits. The fruit’s sweet, subtle taste makes it a popular dessert, preserve and chutney ingredient; dried apricots make great snacks and have been found to be more nutritious than the fresh fruit.

Fresh and dried apricots are an excellent source of:

  • Vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C and E, potassium, iron and beta-carotene.
  • Antioxidants, including lycopene, which promote wellness and strengthen the immune system.
  • Fibre, which aids healthy digestion.

Apricots can help cure or prevent the following conditions:

  • Weak eyesight. Beta-carotene in apricots is a beneficial nutrient that is good for eyesight and can help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss among adults.
  • Indigestion and constipation. Loaded with dietary fibre, apricots regularise bowel movement, ease constipation and keep the GI tract functioning optimally. If eaten before a meal, apricots aid digestion. People suffering from chronic constipation should eat six to eight apricots daily.
  • Anaemia. High iron content make apricots an excellent remedy for people suffering from anaemia (blood deficiency). Apricots effectively manage anaemia symptoms, for example breathlessness, dizziness, headaches and fatigue.
  • Fever. Fresh apricot juice, mixed with glucose or honey, makes a soothing drink with cooling effects and is ideal for patients with fever. Its many benefits include quenching thirst and eliminating toxins from the body.
  • Heart disease. Apricots contain lycopene, which prevents LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) from oxidation, which may in turn help prevent heart disease. Apricots also protect the body against diabetes and obesity.
  • Cancer. Lycopene is believed to help prevent cancer.
  • Skin ailments. Vitamin A in apricots helps maintain healthy, firm skin and in removing blemishes.

— Dr Rana Afzal
The writer works at the Health Awareness Society.