Have Some Apricots Tonight
By Barbara Koltuska-Haskin, Ph.D.

Apricots are packed with nutrients and have some natural calming compounds.

Key points

  • Apricots are a rare fruit that has nutritional and medicinal properties.
  • Apricots have some natural calming compounds.
  • Apricots are in season now and are delicious in summer salads.

Barbara Koltuska-Haskin

Source: Barbara Koltuska-Haskin

Proper nutrition is essential for our body, brain, and well-being. The healthier our body, the better our brain will function.

Apricots are a rare fruit that has nutritional and medicinal properties. They are a rich source of nutrients and biologically active compounds.

Nutritional Properties of Apricots

Apricots are rich in dietary fiber, which helps you feel full longer. They contain protein and fatty acids, and have a great concentration of vitamins and minerals. They are a very good source of vitamins A, C, and E, but they also contain vitamin K, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9 (Folic Acid). They are also a good source of beta-carotene which is a precursor to vitamin A. Regarding minerals, apricots contain potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, selenium, manganese, and copper in small amounts. Apricots have very little sugar; they even have less sugar than berries.

Medicinal Properties of Apricots

Apricots have been used in folk medicine for generations mainly as a detoxifying agent and to help improve the respiratory system. They may help with asthma and cough. Much research points to apricots' crucial role in disease prevention and health maintenance. Apricots are a good source of fiber, which prevents constipation, lowers blood cholesterol, maintains blood sugar levels, and helps reduce body weight. Eating apricots may help you lose weight.

Apricots contain xanthophyll (plant pigment) that, according to some research, may improve night vision and help prevent age-related eyesight problems. Apricots also contain catechins (flavonoids), which are potent anti-inflammatory agents. They help regulate blood pressure, may prevent degenerative disorders, and may protect the brain from diseases. Some studies suggest that apricots may have anticarcinogenic potential. Apricots also have a good amount of biologically active phytochemicals, which have antioxidant abilities. They protect the body from carcinogens. Apricots also contain vitamin B6 which helps the brain produce serotonin, which alleviates depression.

How to eat apricots

Apricots can be eaten as fresh, dried, or frozen, or in jams, jellies marmalades, preserves, or pulps. They are delicious in summer salads. You can also use them in meat dishes; for example, chicken baked with apricots is delicious. You can also make a beef and apricots stew. For dessert, you can add them to your ice cream.

Dried apricots are quite popular and should be eaten more during cold seasons. They contain more vitamin A, E, potassium, and iron; therefore, they make a great winter snack when fresh fruits are not available.

I rinse my apricots well and freeze them whole for my winter feast on a tray and later transfer them to a freezer bag and put them back into the freezer. I defrost them during cold months and add them to my breakfast and smoothies to help me survive winter in good health and a good spirit.

Apricots have a relaxing combination of vitamin A, C, potassium, magnesium, and fiber. They also have melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. Therefore, apricots can be a good source for a bedtime snack.


Barbara Koltuska-Haskin, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist in private practice in Albuquerque, New Mexico with over 30 years of clinical experience, and the author of How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy. Her book has won 2 International Book Awards and 5 National Book Awards.


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