Apricots/Jardalu is one of the healthiest fruits in the world, overpowered with a dense nutrient profile offering a ton of health benefits. It is also called Prunus armeniaca, Armenian plums – Apricots belonging to the Rosacea family are bright yellow-orange round fruit with velvety skin that look similar to peaches in appearance but possess the tartness of plums. Also Read: Aadu Fruit: Excellent Health Benefits Of Peaches That Guarantee Enhanced Well-Being
Apricot was originally cultivated in China and the fruit became popular only when it found its way to the Mediterranean regions. Turkey, Italy, Russia, Spain, Greece, the USA are the leading cultivators of apricots. In India, it is cultivated in North-Western states and popularly known as Jardalu, Khubani and Khumani. The fresh fruit is very fragile, it does not survive for long-duration once it is harvested and this is why apricots are dried. The goodness and wealth of this dried apricots can be relished all through the year.
Apricot is a small tree that grows to a height of 8-12 m and a dense spreading canopy. The leaves are ovate and alternate shaped with finely serrated margins and bear flowers with five white to pinkish petals. It is a stone fruit (drupe) quite similar to a small peach. A single seed is enclosed in a hard, stony shell and often termed as stone or kernel. It may be consumed as fresh or pitted, dried, frozen or canned form and used widely to make delicious desserts, juices and flavouring.
Nutritional Facts Of Apricots/Jardalu:
Apricots are one of the healthiest fruits that comes with a treasure trove of nutrients. A serving of fresh apricots (100 grams) offers 12 % of a daily dose of vitamin C, A and 6 % of potassium and with less than 50 calories. It is a storehouse of potent antioxidants such as beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin which scavenges free radical in the cells and combats oxidative stress thereby lowers the risk of chronic diseases. Consume apricots as a whole with the skin, as the skin abounds huge amounts of fibre and other essential nutrients but remember to discard the stone as it’s not edible. Besides these, it also contains notable amounts of minerals such as magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and calcium which augments overall health.
Wellness Benefits Of Apricots/Jardalu:
Improves Eye Health
Jardalu bestowed with essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C are well-known to improve vision and eye function. Vitamin A plays a key role in averting night blindness, while vitamin E functions as a potent antioxidant and safeguards the eyes from free radical damage. Regular addition of apricots is beneficial in enhancing vision and eye functions. Furthermore, packed with retinol and beta-carotene apricots lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration and other eye disorders.
Enhances Skin Health
Vast reserves of vitamins C, A, E and phytonutrients in apricots assure healthy and naturally glowing skin. The powerful vitamins safeguard the skin against UV rays damage and harmful environmental pollutants by scavenging free radicals. Apart from this, vitamins in apricots stimulate the synthesis of collagen and improve skin elasticity and strength. Munching on a few apricots regularly fade away fine lines, wrinkles and shield from sunburns, for radiant and gorgeous skin.
Augments Heart Health
The goodness of soluble fibre pectin in jardalu helps in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol level and increases the HDL (good) cholesterol thereby reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Apart from this, loaded with potassium it stabilises the blood pressure levels, maintain the electrolyte balances and improves heart muscles functions and averts the risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, the presence of flavonoids quercetin, beta-carotene and lycopene in apricots are shown to exhibit cardioprotective properties.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Apricots (Jardalu) is a nutrient-dense fruit packed with essential nutrients such as dietary fibre, potassium and magnesium which are beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Potassium functions as a potent electrolyte and also responsible for nerve signalling, muscle contractions and fluid balance. Both potassium and magnesium dilate the inner walls of the blood vessels to relax and enhance the blood circulation to all vital organs. A diet abundant in potassium is proven to prevent high blood pressure and lower risk of stroke and heart disease. Also Read: Magnesium: Functions, Food Sources, Deficiency And Toxicity
The wealth of antioxidants, polyphenol compounds and phytonutrients in apricots exhibits strong anti-inflammatory action. Presence of catechins, a type of flavonoids hinders the functioning of enzymes required in the process of inflammation. Moreover, rich in beta-cryptoxanthin a phytonutrient prevents osteoarthritis and other inflammatory arthritis. While being also rich in magnesium adding this nutrient-dense fruit in the diet eases inflammatory pain.
Packed with a generous proportion of fibre apricots curb constipation by providing smooth and proper bowel movements. They also stimulate the gastric and digestive juices that assist in breaking down food particles, absorption of nutrients and assimilation of food. The intake of apricots initiates the peristaltic movement of the food in the digestive tract. Additionally, the presence of high amounts of pectin and cellulose in apricots act as a mild laxative, thus helping in the treatment and management of constipation.
Promotes Weight Loss
Being abundant in fibre makes apricots an ideal healthy fruit for a weight loss regime. It helps keep one full for long periods and prevents overeating and munching at intervals. Moreover, the nutrients in apricots boost tanycytes, special brain cells that make one feel satiated and control the appetite. Additionally, apricots also speed up body metabolism and aid in weight loss.
Strengthens Bone Health
Loaded with calcium, the mineral that is crucial for bone development and health, apricots assist in strengthening bones. Additionally, an abundance of potassium in apricots also helps in the proper absorption and even distribution of calcium in the bone cells. A balanced intake of apricots can extensively help in reversing bone loss and managing symptoms like osteoporosis, osteopenia etc.
Jardalu is a delicious fruit imbued with profuse amounts of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They offer a multitude of health incentives including improved eye and skin health, controls blood pressure, lowers the risk of inflammation and heart disease. Fresh or dried, jardalu are easy to add to smoothies, yoghurt, desserts, jams and salads. This nutrient-dense fruit can be ideally incorporated in daily diet to reap its wellness incentives.