An apricot is a fruit, or the tree that bears the fruit, of several species in the genus Prunus (stone fruits). Usually, an apricot tree is from the species P. armeniaca, but the species P. brigantina, P. mandshurica, P. mume, and P. sibirica are closely related, have similar fruit, and are also called apricots.
Fresh fruits are low in calories, composing just 50 calories per 100 g weight. Nonetheless, they are an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The fruits enriched with numerous health promoting phytochemicals that help prevent heart disease, reduce LDL, ("bad cholesterol") levels and offer protection against cancers.
Apricots are excellent sources of vitamin-A and carotenes. 100 grams of fresh fruits carry 1926 IU or 64% of daily required levels of vitamin-A. These compounds known to have antioxidant properties and are essential for vision. Vitamin-A also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in carotenes helps protect the body from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Fresh fruits contain vitamin-C, another natural antioxidant. Vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
They are an also good source of minerals such as potassium, iron, zinc, calcium and manganese. Potassium is a heart-healthy mineral; an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
The total antioxidant or ORAC value of fresh apricots is 1115 μmol TE/100 g. Most of this value attributed to some important health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin. Altogether, these compounds act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging, cancers and various disease process.
Further, zeaxanthin, a carotenoid selectively concentrated in the retinal "macula lutea" in the human eyes where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions. Thus, consumption of fruits rich in zeaxanthin helps eyes protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the older adults.