While you might be familiar with the fantastic flavor of apricots, did you know they belong to the same family of plants as the garden rose? Or that dreaming of apricots is said to be good luck?  They taste great, they’re in season, and they offer a variety of delicious health benefits. If you haven’t had an apricot lately, go on and get your hands on some.

If you like fresh apricots, summer is your season. Apricots grown in the U.S. are mostly available in the summer, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying them throughout the year – dried apricots make tasty and healthy snacks.

This golden fruit comes in a variety of colors, from pale yellows to dark oranges, and includes a fuzzy exterior with a hard pit inside (apricots are stone fruits). Apricots have a wonderful aroma, taste terrific and are the stuff still-life paintings are made of. If that isn’t enough to tempt you on the taste of apricots, there are many nutritional (as well as cosmetic) benefits associated with apricots.

Health benefits of apricots

Low in calories and a good source of fiber – One apricot has only 17 calories, and because they’re high in fiber, they help you feel full, longer. What a great snack! Fiber can help with digestive issues including preventing constipation, and can help reduce cholesterol levels.

Vitamin A – You’ve heard about carrots being good for your eyes, but how about apricots? Apricots are a good source of vitamin A – a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin A may promote healthy vision and reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

?Vitamin C – From boosting the immune system to potentially protecting against cardiovascular disease to wrinkles, experts note that vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Apricots are a great source of vitamin C.

Beta-carotene – Beta-carotene is known to have antioxidant properties, and, you guessed it: apricots are a good source of beta-carotene. According to WebMD, studies show that people who eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables rich in beta-carotene, have a lower risk of some cancers and heart disease.

Good for your skin – You may have lotions or creams made from apricot kernel oil, since it’s great for relieving the effects of dry skin. This oil is quickly absorbed by the skin and does not keep the skin oily when applied.

Buying and serving apricots

When you’re shopping for fresh apricots, consider buying organic. Conventional apricots carry high pesticide residues, as noted by the Organic Consumers Association. When you buy fresh apricots, it’s best to eat them as soon as possible. If you have to store them, keep them refrigerated, but only for a few days.

Most people think about eating apricots as a snack, as part of your daily intake of fruit. That’s a great option, but don’t overlook so many other possibilities of cooking with apricots. You might be thinking of desserts and jams, but there are other recipes that include this golden fruit as part of your meal’s main course. This fabulous Organic Authority recipe for gluten-free peach-apricot pesto pasta is one main course you won’t want to miss out on!

Sources:
Organic Facts
WebMD
The World’s Healthiest Foods

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