Apricots are a great source of vitamin A, which you’ve probably heard about before — good for eyesight, right?
But what is vitamin A exactly and how much do you need? A fat-soluble vitamin that’s naturally present in many foods, vitamin A is important for normal vision, proper immune system function, reproduction, and maintaining healthy skin, teeth, and skeletal and soft tissue.
There are two different types of vitamin A. The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.
While research is ongoing, studies examine how vitamin A may play a role in the prevention of cancer and age-related eye disorders. Women are recommended to consume 700 micrograms of vitamin A each day; men should aim for 900 micrograms. A 1-cup serving of apricot slices contains 158 micrograms.
Apricots provide a significant source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral and electrolyte that helps you maintain proper fluid balance, aids in muscle function, and helps regulate heartbeat. Potassium also promotes healthy digestion and strong bones. Getting sufficient amounts of potassium each day can help you maintain normal blood pressure and might reduce your risk of having a stroke.
The average adult should get 4.7 grams (4,700 mg) of potassium per day. A 1-cup serving of sliced apricots supplies 427 milligrams of potassium toward your daily requirement.
Apricots contain significant amounts of both
, but are especially high in soluble fiber, which promotes and helps maintain healthy blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
A 1-cup serving of sliced apricots (approximately four-and-a-half fruits) provides about 79 calories and 3.3 grams of fiber. The Mayo Clinic recommends that women age 50 or younger consume 25 grams of fiber a day; men, aged 50 or younger, should consume 38 grams per day.
Tips for Picking Apricots
- Buy fresh. Opt for in-season apricots — late spring through the summer — which are grown in the U.S. Out-of-season (winter) apricots have to get shipped from other countries and, to make the long journey, these apricots have to be picked when they’re under-ripe, which means they’re more likely to contain less flavor.
- Choose carefully. Examine each apricot for plumpness and a golden, or orange-red, color. Avoid apricots that are green or pale yellow, or that are bruised or shriveled.
- Give them a sniff. An apricot that has flavor also has a sweet and ready fragrance.
Discover some ways to get creative with apricots.
Source: Vinson J, Zubik L, Bose P, Samman N, Proch J. Dried Fruits: Excellent in Vitro and in Vivo Antioxidants. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2003.