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Apricots
Apricots

Apricots are those beautifully orange colored fruits full of beta-carotene and fiber that are one of the first signs of summer. Although dried and canned apricots are available year-round, fresh apricots with a plentiful supply of vitamin C and are in season in North America from May through August. Any fresh fruit you see during the winter months have been imported from either South America or New Zealand.

Relatives to peaches, apricots are small, golden orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh, not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Some describe their flavor as almost musky, with a faint tartness that lies somewhere between a peach and a plum.

Apricot, fresh
1.00 whole
(35.00 grams)
Calories: 17
GI: medium

NutrientDRI/DV




 copper3%

 fiber3%


This chart graphically details the %DV that a serving of Apricots provides for each of the nutrients of which it is a good, very good, or excellent source according to our Food Rating System. Additional information about the amount of these nutrients provided by Apricots can be found in the Food Rating System Chart. A link that takes you to the In-Depth Nutritional Profile for Apricots, featuring information over 80 nutrients, can be found under the Food Rating System Chart.

Health Benefits

Apricots are rich in many plant antioxidants. Some of these are the vitamin antioxidants so familiar to regular users of this site. Others are more difficult to obtain from other foods, and may be responsible for specific health benefits. Overall, consider the apricot to be a great food that provides you with the protective effects of antioxidants while adding very few calories to your daily total.

Apricots' Protection Against Free Radical Damage

Apricots contain a number of potent antioxidants. We rank the apricot as a good source of both vitamin A (from beta-carotene) and vitamin C. The health benefits associated with each are multiple and well-documented.

Apricots are rich in other antioxidants, too, including polyphenolic antioxidants like flavonoids. Diets rich in flavonoids and the other types of polyphenols found in apricots have been linked to reductions in heart disease in humans, as well as other potential health benefits.

Antioxidants are responsible for some of the specific effects listed below, but those only scratch the surface of the potential health benefits of diets rich in these important nutrients. Here are a few of the important antioxidant nutrients or nutrient groups found in apricots:

  • Quercetin
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • Catechins
  • Epicatechins
  • Hydroxycinnamics
  • Gallic acid
  • Caffeic acid
  • Coumaric acid
  • Ferulic acid

Apricots May Protect Your Eyesight

Apricots are rich in the carotenoids and xanthophylls, nutrients that researchers believe may help protect eyesight from aging-related damage To give an example of how this works, one of these nutrients (lutein) appears to be able to protect the retina—the part of the eye that picks up the visual image from the environment—from damage caused by blue light.

Additionally, researchers have linked regular intake of fruit with less risk of vision loss with aging. This benefit is found in people who eat three or more servings of fruit each day.

Three servings of fruit may sound like a lot to eat each day, but by simply snacking on an apricot, tossing a banana into your morning smoothie, and topping off a cup of yogurt or green salad with one-half cup of berries, you've reached this goal.

Apricots May Protect Against Inflammation

Apricots are a strong dietary source of catechins, a broad family of flavonoid phytonutrients (you may be familiar with these phytonutrients since they are often cited for the benefits provided by green tea). A single apricot will provide you with 4-5 grams from catechins. These phytonutrients are potent anti-inflammatory nutrients and researchers have looked extensively at their health effects. Researchers have discovered that catechins can inhibit the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), one of the critical steps in the process of inflammation.

Much of this research on catechin benefits involves animal rather than human studies. But we have seen human research where diets rich in catechins—not specifically from apricots but from other catechin-rich foods like tea or cocoa—have led to significant beneficial changes. For instance, multiple studies have shown that catechin-rich foods can protect blood vessels from inflammation-related damage, leading to better blood pressure control.

Other Health Benefits of Apricots

Apricots are a good source of dietary fiber. This overall fiber content should be helpful for most people in supporting digestive health. Within the total dietary fiber provided by apricots, about half consists of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is one type of fiber that can help to control blood cholesterol levels.

Description

Apricots are small, golden orange fruits, with velvety skin and flesh: not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet. Their flavor is almost musky, with a faint tartness that is more pronounced when the fruit is dried. Some people think of the flavor as being somewhere between a peach and a plum, fruits to which they're closely related.

History

Apricots are originally from China but arrived in Europe via Armenia, which is why the scientific name is Prunus armenaica. The apricot tree came to Virginia in 1720 but its appearance in the Spanish missions of California around 1792 marked the fruit's real arrival. The climate there is perfectly suited to apricot culture, and apricots in the United States are grown primarily in the sunny orchards of California.

Apricots are enjoyed as a fresh fruit but also dried, cooked into pastry, and eaten as jam. The fruits are also distilled into brandy and liqueur. Essential oil from the pits is sold commercially as bitter almond oil. Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, U.S.A. and France are the leading producers of apricots.

How to Select and Store

Apricot season in the U.S. runs from May through August. In the winter, apricots are imported from South America. Look for fruits with a rich orange color while avoiding those that are pale and yellow. Fruits should be slightly soft. If they are too firm they have not been tree-ripened, and tree-ripened fruits always taste best. For the most antioxidants, choose fully ripened fruit.

At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified organically grown foods, and apricots are no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including apricots. In many cases, you may be able to find a local organic grower who sells watermelon but has not applied for formal organic certification either through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or through a state agency. (Examples of states offering state-certified organic foods include California, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.) However, if you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown apricots is very likely to be apricots that display the USDA organic logo.

How to Enjoy

A few quick serving ideas:
  • Add sliced apricots to hot or cold cereal.
  • The next time you make whole grain pancakes add some chopped apricots to the batter.
  • Give a Middle Eastern flavor to chicken or vegetable stews with the addition of dried, diced apricots.
  • Serve fresh apricots in your green salad when they are in season.

If you'd like even more recipes and ways to prepare apricots the Nutrient-Rich Way, you may want to explore The World's Healthiest Foods book.

Individual Concerns

Dried Apricots and Sulfites
Commercially grown dried apricots may be treated with sulfur-containing compounds during processing to extend their shelf life. For details about possible adverse reactions to sulfites, please see our article An Overview of Adverse Food Reactions

Nutritional Profile

Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of pro-vitamin A carotenoids), and a good source of vitamin C, copper, dietary fiber and potassium.

Apricots contain phytochemicals called carotenoids, compounds that give red, orange and yellow colors to fruits and vegetables. The powerful antioxidant Lycopene is one of the carotenoids found in apricots.

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

In order to better help you identify foods that feature a high concentration of nutrients for the calories they contain, we created a Food Rating System. This system allows us to highlight the foods that are especially rich in particular nutrients. The following chart shows the nutrients for which this food is either an excellent, very good, or good source (below the chart you will find a table that explains these qualifications). If a nutrient is not listed in the chart, it does not necessarily mean that the food doesn't contain it. It simply means that the nutrient is not provided in a sufficient amount or concentration to meet our rating criteria. (To view this food's in-depth nutritional profile that includes values for dozens of nutrients - not just the ones rated as excellent, very good, or good - please use the link below the chart.) To read this chart accurately, you'll need to glance up in the top left corner where you will find the name of the food and the serving size we used to calculate the food's nutrient composition. This serving size will tell you how much of the food you need to eat to obtain the amount of nutrients found in the chart. Now, returning to the chart itself, you can look next to the nutrient name in order to find the nutrient amount it offers, the percent Daily Value (DV%) that this amount represents, the nutrient density that we calculated for this food and nutrient, and the rating we established in our rating system. For most of our nutrient ratings, we adopted the government standards for food labeling that are found in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's "Reference Values for Nutrition Labeling." Read more background information and details of our rating system.

Apricot, fresh
1.00 whole
35.00 grams
Calories: 17
GI: medium
NutrientAmountDRI/DV
(%)
Nutrient
Density
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin C3.50 mg55.0good
vitamin A33.70 mcg RAE44.0good
copper0.03 mg33.6good
fiber0.69 g33.0good
potassium90.65 mg32.8good
World's Healthiest
Foods Rating
Rule
excellent DRI/DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
very good DRI/DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
good DRI/DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%

In-Depth Nutritional Profile

In addition to the nutrients highlighted in our ratings chart, here is an in-depth nutritional profile for Apricots. This profile includes information on a full array of nutrients, including carbohydrates, sugar, soluble and insoluble fiber, sodium, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and more.

Apricot, fresh
(Note: "--" indicates data unavailable)
1.00 whole
(35.00 g)
GI: medium
BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Protein0.49 g1
Carbohydrates3.89 g2
Fat - total0.14 g--
Dietary Fiber0.69 g3
Calories16.801
MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Carbohydrate:
Starch0.00 g
Total Sugars3.20 g
Monosaccharides1.15 g
Fructose0.33 g
Glucose0.82 g
Galactose0.00 g
Disaccharides2.05 g
Lactose0.00 g
Maltose0.02 g
Sucrose2.03 g
Soluble Fiber0.35 g
Insoluble Fiber0.34 g
Other Carbohydrates0.00 g
Fat:
Monounsaturated Fat0.06 g
Polyunsaturated Fat0.03 g
Saturated Fat0.01 g
Trans Fat0.00 g
Calories from Fat1.23
Calories from Saturated Fat0.09
Calories from Trans Fat0.00
Cholesterol0.00 mg
Water30.22 g
MICRONUTRIENTS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Vitamins
Water-Soluble Vitamins
B-Complex Vitamins
Vitamin B10.01 mg1
Vitamin B20.01 mg1
Vitamin B30.21 mg1
Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)0.30 mg
Vitamin B60.02 mg1
Vitamin B120.00 mcg0
Biotin-- mcg--
Choline0.98 mg0
Folate3.15 mcg1
Folate (DFE)3.15 mcg
Folate (food)3.15 mcg
Pantothenic Acid0.08 mg2
Vitamin C3.50 mg5
Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)
Vitamin A International Units (IU)674.10 IU
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)33.70 mcg (RAE)4
Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)67.41 mcg (RE)
Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)0.00 mcg (RE)
Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)67.41 mcg (RE)
Alpha-Carotene6.65 mcg
Beta-Carotene382.90 mcg
Beta-Carotene Equivalents404.42 mcg
Cryptoxanthin36.40 mcg
Lutein and Zeaxanthin31.15 mcg
Lycopene0.00 mcg
Vitamin D
Vitamin D International Units (IU)0.00 IU0
Vitamin D mcg0.00 mcg
Vitamin E
Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)0.31 mg (ATE)2
Vitamin E International Units (IU)0.46 IU
Vitamin E mg0.31 mg
Vitamin K1.16 mcg1
Minerals
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Boron-- mcg
Calcium4.55 mg0
Chloride1.05 mg
Chromium-- mcg--
Copper0.03 mg3
Fluoride-- mg--
Iodine-- mcg--
Iron0.14 mg1
Magnesium3.50 mg1
Manganese0.03 mg2
Molybdenum-- mcg--
Phosphorus8.05 mg1
Potassium90.65 mg3
Selenium0.03 mcg0
Sodium0.35 mg0
Zinc0.07 mg1
INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids0.00 g0
Omega-6 Fatty Acids0.03 g
Monounsaturated Fats
14:1 Myristoleic0.00 g
15:1 Pentadecenoic0.00 g
16:1 Palmitol0.00 g
17:1 Heptadecenoic0.00 g
18:1 Oleic0.06 g
20:1 Eicosenoic0.00 g
22:1 Erucic0.00 g
24:1 Nervonic0.00 g
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
18:2 Linoleic0.03 g
18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)-- g
18:3 Linolenic0.00 g
18:4 Stearidonic0.00 g
20:3 Eicosatrienoic0.00 g
20:4 Arachidonic0.00 g
20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)0.00 g
22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)0.00 g
22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)0.00 g
Saturated Fatty Acids
4:0 Butyric0.00 g
6:0 Caproic0.00 g
8:0 Caprylic0.00 g
10:0 Capric0.00 g
12:0 Lauric0.00 g
14:0 Myristic0.00 g
15:0 Pentadecanoic0.00 g
16:0 Palmitic0.01 g
17:0 Margaric0.00 g
18:0 Stearic0.00 g
20:0 Arachidic0.00 g
22:0 Behenate0.00 g
24:0 Lignoceric0.00 g
INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Alanine0.02 g
Arginine0.02 g
Aspartic Acid0.11 g
Cysteine0.00 g
Glutamic Acid0.05 g
Glycine0.01 g
Histidine0.01 g
Isoleucine0.01 g
Leucine0.03 g
Lysine0.03 g
Methionine0.00 g
Phenylalanine0.02 g
Proline0.04 g
Serine0.03 g
Threonine0.02 g
Tryptophan0.01 g
Tyrosine0.01 g
Valine0.02 g
OTHER COMPONENTS
nutrientamountDRI/DV
(%)
Ash0.26 g
Organic Acids (Total)0.00 g
Acetic Acid0.00 g
Citric Acid0.00 g
Lactic Acid0.00 g
Malic Acid0.00 g
Taurine-- g
Sugar Alcohols (Total)0.00 g
Glycerol0.00 g
Inositol0.00 g
Mannitol0.00 g
Sorbitol0.00 g
Xylitol0.00 g
Artificial Sweeteners (Total)0.00 mg
Aspartame0.00 mg
Saccharin0.00 mg
Alcohol0.00 g
Caffeine0.00 mg

Note:

The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation "--" to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.

References

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  • Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits, vegetables, vitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92. 2004. PMID:15197064.
  • Craig W. Phytochemicals: guardians of our health. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997;97(Suppl 2) S199-S204. 1997.
  • Doganay S, Duz C, Firat PG, et al. The effect of apricots on the experimental cataract model formed by sodium selenite. Food Chem Toxicol 2013;55:371-7.
  • Dorai T, Cao YC, Dorai B, et al. Therapeutic potential of curcumin in human prostate cancer. III. Curcumin inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis, and inhibits angiogenesis of LNCaP prostate cancer cells in vivo. Prostate 2001 Jun 1;47(4):293-303. 2001. PMID:16280.
  • Dragovic-Uzelac V, Pospisil J, Levaj B, et al. The study of phenolic profiles of raw apricots and apples and their purees by HPLC for the evaluation of apricot nectars and jams authenticity. Food Chem 2005;91:373-83.
  • Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986. 1986. PMID:15210.
  • Erdogan-Orhan I, Kartal M. Insights into research on phytochemistry and biological activities of Prunus armeniaca L. (apricot). Food Res Int 2011;44:1238-43.
  • Hankinson SE, Stampfer MJ, Seddon JM, et al. Nutrient intake and cataract extraction in women: a prospective study. BMJ 1992;305(6849):335-9. 1992.
  • Jacques PF, Chylack LT. Epidemiologic evidence of a role for the antioxidant vitamins and carotenoids in cataract prevention. Am J Clin Nutr 1991;53:352S-5S. 1991.
  • Jian L, Lee AH, Binns CW. Tea and lycopene protect against prostate cancer. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 1:453-7. 2007. PMID:17392149.
  • Kohlmeyer L, Kark JD, Gomez-Gracia E, et al. Lycopene and myocardial infarction risk in the EUROMIC study. Am J Epidemiol 1997;146:618-26. 1997.
  • Koushan K, Rusovici R, Li W, et al. The role of lutein in eye-related disease. Nutrients 2013;22:1823-39.
  • Na JR, Oh KN, Park SU, et al. The laxative effects of Maesil (Prunus mume Siebold & Zucc.) on constipation induced by a low-fibre diet in a rat model. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2013;64:333-45.
  • Nadtochiy SM, Redman EK. Mediterranean diet and cardioprotection: the role of nitrite, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and polyphenols. Nutrition 2011;27:733-44.
  • Olszewska M, Glowacki R, Wolbis M, Bald E. Quantitative determination of flavonoids in the flowers and leaves of Prunus spinosa L. Acta Pol Pharm 2001 May-2001 Jun 30;58(3):199-203. 2001. PMID:16270.
  • Papazian R. Sulfites: Safe for most, dangerous for some. US Food and Drug Administration. FDA Consumer. Dec 1996. 1996.
  • Parlakpinar H, Olmez E, Acet A, et al. Beneficial effects of apricot-feeding on myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2009;47:802-8.
  • Risasanen, T, Voutilainen S, Nyyssonen K et al. Low plasma lycopene concentration is associated with increased intima-media thickness of the carotid artery wall. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2000 Dec;20(12):2677-81. 2000.
  • Shen CL, Smith BJ, Lo DF, et al. Dietary polyphenols and mechanisms of osteoarthritis. J Nutr Biochem 2012;23:1367-77.
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  • Yilmaz I, Karaman A, Vardi N, et al. Effects of organic apricot on liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in rats. Transplant P 2013;45:2455-60.

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