Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy Rewind- #Apricots – no honeymoon should be without them! by Sally Cronin

There are certain foods that bring more than taste to your diet, rich in nutrients and energy they are worth including in your weekly shopping.

Food therapy is a broad term for the benefits to the body of a healthy, varied and nutritional diet of fresh foods.

Most of us walk through the fresh produce departments of our supermarkets without really paying much attention to the individual fruits and vegetables. This is a great pity because the vast majority of these foods have been cultivated for thousands of years, not only for their nutritional value but also for their medicinal properties. If you eat a healthy diet you are effectively practicing preventative medicine. A robust immune system, not only attacks external opportunistic pathogens, but also works to prevent rogue cells in the body from developing into serious disease.

NOTE If you are on any prescribed medication do not take yourself off it without consultation with your doctor. If you follow a healthy eating programme and lose weight and are exercising you may not need the same dose and with your doctor’s agreement you may be able to reduce or come off the medication all together.

Apricots – no honeymoon should be without them!

The apricot season opens at the beginning of May and goes through to the end of August or early September, which gives us five months to enjoy this highly nutritious and healing food.

Apricot, Fruit, Power, Apricot, Apricot

First though a little history about this luscious golden yellow fruit. In China over 4000 years ago a bride will have not only had something borrowed and something blue but would have also been nibbling on an apricot. It was prized for its ability to increase fertility, which is not surprising, as it is high in nutrients necessary for the production of sex hormones.

The Latin name for the apricot is “praecocia” which means precocious or early ripening. It is part of the rose family and is a cousin to the peach, plum, cherry and the almond. In China it first grew wild in the mountains before being introduced to Arab traders who took it with them along the trade routes to Babylon and Persia where they were called the “eggs of the sun”.

Over the following centuries the fruit continued its travels reaching Greece where the juice was known as “nectar of the Gods, then onto Spain, Mexico and North America. It is now cultivated in all warm climates around the world and used as a sweet and savoury addition to a healthy diet.

The health benefits of apricots

As with any fresh fruit the apricot is packed with fibre and nutrients including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, Vitamin E, Potassium and Iron. Of particular interest from a therapeutic viewpoint are its high levels of carotenoids.

Carotenoids are responsible for the wonderfully rich reds, oranges and yellow colouring of plant leaves, fruits, flowers and some birds, insects and fish such as salmon. There are around 600 carotenoids that occur naturally and the apricot has two in particular that benefit us, Beta-carotene and lycopene.

Beta-carotene is converted into Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy sight especially at night. As with any part of the body the sensitive components of the eye are as vulnerable to oxidative damage as any other and Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to degenerative eye disease in many research programmes. It has also shown that eating just three portions a day of yellow and orange fruit and vegetables such as apricots and carrots would lower the risk of poor eyesight as we age.

As an anti-oxidant, beta-carotene protects the LDL or harmful cholesterol from free radical damage that can cause plaque to form in the arteries. A build up of plaque can lead to both heart disease and a higher risk of stroke.

Lycopene is usually associated with bright red fruits such as tomatoes but it is also present in apricots. As well as helping protect the eyes from degenerative disease, lycopene is associated with a reduction in damage to LDL cholesterol and a much lower risk of developing a number of cancers including bladder, breast, cervix, prostate and skin.

There has been considerable interest in the medicinal properties of the apricot kernel for the last 40 years. There has been some controversial claims made about cancer curing abilities that has not been well received by the medical profession or pharmaceutical companies. Hopefully ongoing research will prove that this is a natural alternative to the highly invasive treatments currently available such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Modern scientists are not the first researchers in history to explore the possibilities of the apricot kernel.

The medicinal properties of apricots.

In ancient China over 4,000 years ago, healers used a medicine made from the kernels to prolong life. Additionally the oils from the kernels were used as a sedative, muscle relaxant, in wound healing and as an anti-parasitic.

The apricot’s fibre makes it a gentle laxative; aids weight loss and reduces cholesterol in the blood. Its alkaline properties aid digestion if eaten before a meal and due to the high content of iron it is excellent for anyone suffering from anaemia. Apricots also contain a small but essential amount of copper, which may increase the production of haemoglobin in the blood providing more oxygen and therefore energy for the body.

Over the centuries the juice of apricots mixed with honey has been used to treat fevers and the juice from the leaves appears to reduce the inflammation caused by eczema and sunburn.

So this small fruit has a large reputation and certainly in the fight against the most common modern diseases such as elevated cholesterol, heart disease and cancers it would definitely be worth including in your diet on a daily basis.

Buying apricots

Apricots are best eaten when still a little firm. If they are not fully ripe when you buy them keep them in a fruit bowl for two to three days and then store in paper or plastic bag in the fridge for up to three days.

Apart from eating them fresh you can use them in cooking by stewing, grilling, baking or roasting and they are delicious as an accompaniment to meat and poultry dishes or in desserts. As a pre dinner snack they are delicious halved and stuffed with a cream cheese and chopped nuts or as part of a fruit plate. For a main course serve in a fresh spinach and walnut salad with roast salmon.

N.B: If you want to use dried apricots out of season then do buy guaranteed sulphite free brands as there are many people who react to this preservative. Asthma sufferers in particular should avoid any food containing sulphites including inexpensive wine, baked goods, soup mixes, jams, snacks and most dried fruit.

©sally cronin Just Food for Health 1998 – 2022

A little bit about me nutritionally. .

About Sally Cronin

I am a qualified nutritional therapist with twenty-four years experience working with clients in Ireland and the UK as well as being a health consultant on radio in Spain.

Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago, based on my own weight loss of 154lbs. My first clinic was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Since then I have written a men’s health manual, and anti-aging programme, articles for magazines, radio programmes and posts here on Smorgasbord.

You can buy my books from: Amazon US – and:Amazon UK – Follow me :Goodreads – Twitter: @sgc58 – Facebook: Sally Cronin – LinkedIn: Sally Cronin

 

As always I look forward to your comments and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask them.. thanks Sally.

 

 

48 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy Rewind- #Apricots – no honeymoon should be without them! by Sally Cronin

  1. I love my apricots and can Apricot nectar here…I was recommended to eat them by my consultant years ago when I had my major operation and they certainly helped boost my blood plus they are a delicious fruit…P.S..Thank you for sharing the link to my post, Sally (but it doesn’t work) Hugs xx

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy Rewind- #Apricots – no honeymoon should be without them! by Sally Cronin | Retired? No one told me!

  3. Apricots are a fruit I’ve ignored, opting for peaches and nectarines instead. Armed with this advice, I shall certainly give them a go – if nothing else, the names they’ve been given sound delicious in themselves. Many thanks! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, those apricots really pack a bunch of nutrients. I love them, especially the dried version, which I’m sure aren’t as nutritious, but still must be of some good? And yes, I’ve heard about the apricot seed cancer curing properties, I did some research on it when a friend brought it to my attention when G was diagnosed. Seems the jury is not out on this completely yet. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up -April 18th – 24th 2022 – #Contributors, Hits 1993, Podcast, Stories, Poetry, Book Reviews, health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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