What Is Apricot Good For?

Apricot attributes
Botanical name: Prunus armeniaca

Apricot Nutrition Facts

Apricots are a ripe, golden fruit with a luscious flavor and velvety surface, and are closely related to peaches, plums and nectarines.1 This fruit is a drupe, grown on deciduous trees2 with the seed central to the surrounding fruit and each having a fairly uniform size. Apricots are sometimes overlooked, perhaps because there are so many fruits to choose from in today's markets.

Already well-known in Greece in 60 B.C., apricots were transported to Europe by Greeks who called them “golden eggs of the sun.”3 Today, apricots' primary commercial operations are in the Mediterranean and the U.S, where the first apricot tree was shipped to Virginia in 1720.4  Additionally, this delicious fruit is produced commercially in China, New Zealand, South America, Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iran.5

Apricots can be consumed fresh, and are a delicious addition to any kind of salad. Dried apricots are often mixed with nuts and other dried fruits for a tasty and nutritious homemade trail mix. The pits have their own corner of the market, principally for their bitter oil.6

Health Benefits of Apricots

Fresh apricots are very high in vitamin A — about 33.6  micrograms per fruit.7 This includes several beneficial carotenes,8 which are powerful antioxidants essential for maintaining optimal vision, healthy skin9 and for protection against certain cancers.10

Apricots are a good source of vitamin C,11 which is known to ward off vision problems,12 promote healthy skin,13 protect against cancer14 and provide even more free radical-scavenging activity in your body.15

Flavonoids in apricots such as lutein and beta cryptoxanthin have such a high degree of benefits that they may actually slow down age-related debilities and disease.16,17 Zeaxanthin, a carotenoid that absorbs into the retina, provides protective UV-filtering functions that may ultimately guard you against macular degeneration.18

Apricots are enriched with phenolics that may help reduce the risk of heart disease,19 while the dietary fiber in these fruits keeps your system running smoothly.20 What's more, the potassium provides compounds in cell and body fluids that help regulate your heart rate and blood pressure.21

Despite these benefits, be sure to remember that apricots (like many other fruits) contain fructose, which could be damaging to your well-being if ingested in excessive amounts. Make sure to moderate your intake, especially if you’re struggling with insulin resistance. Check out the table below for more nutrition facts about apricots.22

Apricot Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 cup slices (165 grams), raw
  Amt. Per
Calories 79.2  
Calories from Fat 5  
Total Fat 0.64 g  
Saturated Fat 0.045 g  
Trans Fat    
Cholesterol 0 mg  
Sodium 1.65 mg  
Total Carbohydrates 18.3 g  
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g  
Sugar 15.2 g  
Protein 2.31 g  
Vitamin A 158 ug Vitamin C 16.5 mg
Calcium 21.4 mg Iron 0.64 mg

Studies Done on Apricots

A study was initiated to investigate the effects of an extract from the Japanese apricot (Prunus mume) against three colon cancer cell lines. Scientists concluded that the extract checked the growth and proliferation of malignant cells, causing them to self-destruct.23

Numerous studies have demonstrated the power of fruits and vegetables in reducing the risk of several cancers, especially those containing carotenes, due to their antioxidant capability. Scientists praised lutein, lycopene and zeaxanthin, specifically, as being "promising chemopreventive agents."24

Apricot Healthy Recipes:
Arugula Salad with Quinoa, Apricot and Avocado

Apricot Healthy Recipes


1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup chickpeas, drained, rinsed

A few big handfuls of arugula

1/4 cup dried apricots

1 small avocado, cubed

1/4 cup chopped, toasted macadamia nuts

1/4 cup chopped chives

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

Juice of 1 medium lemon

1/2 teaspoon raw honey

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon chopped chives

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lemon, honey, cumin, chives, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, chickpeas, arugula, dried apricots and a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Drizzle in 3/4 of the dressing and toss again. Top with the avocado, chopped macadamias and chives. Drizzle the remaining dressing. Season to taste and serve.

This recipe makes four servings.

(Adapted from Love and Lemons25)

Apricot Fun Facts

There is a controversy regarding the use of apricot pits as a cancer cure, because the active ingredient, vitamin B17 (laetrile), is toxic to the human body.26 Dr. Ernst T. Krebs, Jr., the biochemist who first isolated this substance in apricot seeds,27 was confident enough in its therapeutic value to test it on himself. However, in addition to vitamin b17, apricot seeds also contain amygdalin, which can release cyanide after consumption. While the human body can eliminate small amounts of cyanide, larger amounts can result in cyanide poisoning, which can be fatal.28


Apricots are about as versatile as you can get in the kitchen. They’re mildly sweet when fresh, and chewy and delicious when dried, all while providing a unique flavor profile to the realm of fruits and vegetables.

What apricots offer nutritionally is beneficial as well. Studies have shown that their antioxidant capabilities are linked to healthy skin and mucous membranes,29 reducing the risk of cancers30 and fighting infections.31

Vitamins A and C are abundant in apricots, along with potassium, carotenoids and flavonoids like lutein, beta cryptoxanthins and zeaxanthin, which may help prevent age-related debilities such as heart disease and macular degeneration, and regulate your heart rate and blood pressure by helping keep your cholesterol levels within the normal range.32,33,34

If apricots are unfamiliar to you, start simply with a few fresh ones. However, remember to consume them in moderation, because they contain fructose, which may be harmful to your health in excessive amounts.