The summer months are when fruit is at its best and we find ourselves more willing to snack on it. What you may not know is some of your favorite fruits can do more for you than you think. Blended in a smoothie, chopped up in a salad or eaten straight up, fruit's the way to go for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can make you look and feel better.
One such fruit you should stock up on in the summer is apricots for their vitamins, minerals and their ability to fight off diseases like cancer. Didn't know they could do that? Neither did we.
All About Apricots
Originally grown in China, apricots (Prunus armenaica) are typically ready for harvest from May to August in North America, but can be grown in warmer climates throughout the year. They grow on trees and look similar in size and coloring to a peach. With a naturally sweet but light taste, apricots are delicious on their own or when used in cooking. The skin of the fruit is also edible and apricots have a large, brown pit in the middle.
Why You Should Love Them
Apricots are also packed with important nutrients and are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Apricots contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene and potassium as well as fiber, which helps promote proper digestion. The magic component of apricots is quercetin, a bioflavonoid. Quercetin has long been used to inhibit the release of histamine in the body and has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You may have been told to take it during allergy season. What makes quercetin so great in relation to apricots is its role in cancer prevention.
On the July 19 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show," Dr. Mehmet Oz and cancer researcher Dr. William Li praised apricots as a natural way to prevent stomach cancer. The quercetin in the fruit inhibits the growth of these cells in the stomach, potentially reducing your risk for developing this cancer by up to 47 percent.
Eating apricots can also help relieve symptoms of indigestion like constipation as well as earache and fever. Apricot and apricot oil are common ingredients in skincare products to help with certain conditions like eczema and to promote wound healing.
Fruit for Thought
So, now that we know why this amazing fruit is so amazing, how do you add it to your diet to get the benefits? Dr. Li recommended seven apricots a day for the best results. Seven whole apricots? If this seems like a lot of fruit to eat to you (which it should), you can get the same nutritional benefits with dried apricots. Be sure to look for apricots that have been dried in the sun instead of with chemicals. The key is to look for dried apricots that are darker in color, according to Dr. Li. Also, try to buy organic if possible -- organic varieties have more quercetin in them.
Enjoy fresh fruits like apricots this summer and look for organic, dried versions to get their great benefits all year round. You'll be making a delicious choice for your health.
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