Celebrate the apricot, on National Apricot Day.
Did you know that apricots are an excellent source of beta-carotene (Vitamin A) Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and fiber among other nutrients. Beta-carotene, a member of the anti-oxidant family, is believed to play a critical role in fighting disease.
The beta-carotene in apricots is converted to Vitamin A in the body. This nutrient helps protect the eyes and keep the skin, hair, gums and various glands healthy. It also helps build bones and teeth. Plus, research shows that Vitamin A helps to fight infection by maintaining strong immunity. For this reason, researchers are looking to apricots as a valuable source of beta-carotene’s healing power.
The unique mix of compounds found in apricots also makes this fruit a good choice for helping to fight heart disease. Along with beta-carotene, apricots contain the other powerful anti-oxidants, Vitamin C and lycopene. Combined, these compounds help protect against cancer, heart disease and stroke. Just three fresh apricots provide an impressive 30 percent of the recommended daily amount for beta-carotene.
Remember, healthy living includes eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day. The compounds found in food work together to provide the best benefit for your body. Not able to get fresh produce? Well don't worry. Canned apricots are nutritionally comparable to their fresh and frozen counterparts. Sweet canned apricots are a convenient way to add important vitamins and extra flavor to a healthy diet. They’re readily available year-round, store easily and add a boost of flavor, color and nutrients to meals or snacks.
Studies confirm that canned foods can play an important role in achieving the requirement of eating five fruit and vegetable servings a day. Results of the University of Illinois study confirm that canned fruits and vegetables (including apricots) are nutritionally comparable to their fresh and frozen counterparts. In a follow-up study, the University of Massachusetts found that recipes using canned ingredients are comparable in nutritional value and taste appeal to those made with fresh or frozen items.
In the next article, I'll give you and easy and delicious apricot recipe you can make.