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Nutritional composition and benefits of apricots (Prunus armeniaca)



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Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are stone fruits, also known as Armenian plums. Round in shape and yellow in color, they look like a smaller version of the peach (Prunus persica), but share the taste of plums (Prunus). They are extremely nutritious and have many health benefits, such as supporting digestion and vision, poor in calories but rich in certain nutrients. It is also remarkable that there is evidence of the anticancer properties of apricot seeds. We will review in detail each of these advantages of apricots.

Basic information and nutritional composition of apricots

Close relative of the peach (Prunus persica), nektarina (Prunus persica var. nucipersica), plum (Prunus Domestica) ( [ref. 1] ) and cherries (Prunus avium) ( [ref. 2] ), apricots are fragrant fruits with soft, velvety skin from the Prunus botanical family. 

Apricots (Prunus armeniaca) are distinguished by different varieties and their color can vary from yellow to saturated orange, often with red or pink notes. Their taste is sweet to slightly tingling, with a soft, juicy fleshy part that surrounds a hard pit in the center.

One serving of 100 grams of fresh apricots (about 2 to 3 apricots, depending on size) provides 48 calories, 11 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, about 1 gram of protein and less than 1 gram of fat. ( [ref. 3] ) In addition to these nutrients, apricots provide useful substances, containing in 70 grams apricots:

  • Vitamin A: 8% of daily value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 8% of DV
  • Vitamin E: 4% of DV
  • Potassium: 4% of DV

Moreover, this fruit is an excellent source of beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which are powerful antioxidants opposing free  radicals in the body. ( [ref. 4] ) Their role in improving vision and protecting the eyes from damage is particularly important and well documented. ( [ref. 5] )

Although dried fruits are a more concentrated source of calories and sugar, they are also higher in vitamins and minerals. Dried apricots, for example, provide the same nutrients as fresh ones, even in larger quantities. 

Apricot Health Benefits (Prunus armeniaca)

Promote heart health

Whether fresh or dried, apricots provide soluble fibers that support peristalsis and normal bowel movements. Eating 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day can reduce LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) by up to 11 points, if not more. ( [ref. 6] )

In addition, potassium in apricots helps to reduce blood pressure. These two factors – together with numerous anti-inflammatory polyphenols in apricots – contribute to their pronounced cardioprotective action. 

High in antioxidants

Apricots are a great source of many antioxidants, including beta carotene and vitamins A, C and E. In addition, they are high in a group of polyphenol antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against diseases including diabetes and heart disease. ( [ref. 8] )

May support eye vision and health

Apricots have numerous compounds that are essential for eye health, including vitamins A and E. Like other orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin and mango, apricots owe their rich tint to beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is a form of vitamin A that is associated with the prevention of age-related macular degeneration. ( [9] )

May reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases

Flavonoid ivercetin is found in many fruits, including delicious apricots. Rutin, a component of versetine, is a potentially workable means of preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's and prion diseases. ( [ref. 10] )

Anticancer action of apricot kernels

Before looking at the apricot kernels themselves, we will only add that apricots contain several phytonutrients that act as antioxidants and can protect cells from oxidative stress. It can be one of the causes of the development of cancer over time. 

Apricot kernels are small but potent seeds that are seen as a potential remedy for cancer. They are located in the center of the apricot pit. 

The first known use of apricot seeds as a means of treating cancer in the Us dates back to the 1920s. Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Sr., claims to have used oils derived from apricot kernels to achieve "substantial results" for people with cancer. However, the treatment turns out to be too toxic for general use. His son later discovered a safer and non-totoxic formula in the 1950s. This formula is also derived from apricot kernels. 

Why is the potential anticancer effect of nuts being commented on? ( [ref. 11] )

Krebs' son called laethril vitamin B17. He claims that the cancer is caused by vitamin B17 deficiency and that supplementation can stop cancer cells from developing. Amygdalin is said to have various cancer-fighting benefits, even today, although there is no conclusive evidence and credible scientific research to support the claims. There are some data on Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) that point to possible anticancer action in animals and humans, albeit in small studies. ( [ref. 12] )

Another theory suggests that because amygdalin is converted into cyanide in the body, cyanide works to destroy cancer cells. It is claimed that this prevents the growth of tumors. Here, however, it should be mentioned that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) poison plant database notes the link between apricot kernels and cyanide poisoning. Numerous cases have shown that ingestion of large amounts of apricot kernels causes people to experience symptoms such as "severe vomiting, sweating, dizziness and fainting." Therefore, laethril  has not been approved by the FDA as a form of cancer treatment[ref. 13] )
  1. Basic information and nutritional composition of apricots

    • Apricot Health Benefits (Prunus armeniaca)
      • Promote heart health
      • High in antioxidants
      • May support eye vision and health
      • May reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases

    • Anticancer action of apricot kernels


    Although they have great nutritional benefits that improve heart, brain, digestion and eye health, the use of apricots and their seeds as a means of treating cancer is still largely unjustified. The presence of amygdalin (also known as laetrin or vitamin B17), contained in apricot kernels, can have adverse health effects. Instead of large and potentially health-threatening amounts of apricot kernels, enjoy fresh or dried apricots to yogurt, salads and main dishes.


    1. Prunus domestica
    2. Prunus avium
    3. FoodData Central
    4. Lutein and Zeaxanthin Isomers in Eye Health and Disease
    5. Redirecting
    6. The Importance of Potassium in Managing Hypertension - Current Hypertension Reports
    7. Please Wait... | Cloudflare
    8. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) | National Eye Institute
    9. Rutin as a Potent Antioxidant: Implications for Neurodegenerative Disorders
    10. Laetrile/Amygdalin (PDQ®)–Health Professional Version
    11. Anticancer properties of Prunus mume extracts (Chinese plum, Japanese apricot). | Билкови и природни лекарства
    12. Import Alert 62-01

    The author

    Bettina Tsvetkova is a Bachelor of Marketing and Master of Entrepreneurship, a fan of healthy eating, power sports and cycling. Author of over 1500 scientifically based articles, product texts and promotional materials on a healthy topic for Bulgarian and foreign websites.


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