Dried apricots, as the name implies, are the dried form of fresh apricots. While both forms of apricots are quite healthy, in this article we are going to focus on the health benefits of dried apricots.
Fresh apricots are healthy fruits, but with one disadvantage. They can easily bruise after harvesting whereas dried apricots can preserve the quality for up to 6 months. This is, in fact, the main reason for drying fresh apricots.
You might think that apricots lose some nutrients that are important for the human body, during the drying process. Rest assured, dried apricots provide various vital nutrients as fresh ones do.
You might be wondering about the “vital nutrients” you can obtain through dried apricots. If so, let’s glance at the nutrients dried apricot provide your body with. After then, we will examine the evidence-based health benefits of dried apricots.
Bear in mind, these vital nutrients mentioned below explain why dried apricots offer various health benefits to your body.
Nutrition Facts of Dried Apricots
Dried apricots can provide various nutrients that are essential for your body.
These vivid orange dried fruits are particularly rich in Vitamin E, vitamin A, Potassium and dietary fibre. But, by no means the nutrients of dried apricots are limited to these nutrients.
According to Nutrition Data (1), 1 cup of (130) gr Dried Apricots contains the followings;
Health Benefits of Dried Apricots
In the previous section, we have examined the nutrients that are available in dried apricots. So, we must be ready to look at the evidence-based health benefits of dried apricots.
1- May Protect Skin
The main reason for supporting the idea that regular consumption of dried apricots can protect skin health is mostly related to dried apricots’ high beta-carotene content which is a powerful antioxidant.
Although beta-carotene’s role in the body is not limited to skin health, it plays a significant role in skin health.
In one review (2012) published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, beta-carotene and other carotenoids were said to potentially support skin protection against the harmful effects of the sun‘s UV rays (2).
Not only skin-protecting effect though, but beta-carotene also contributes to skin appearance, according to experts.
In another study; beta-carotene (an antioxidant) is indicated to neutralise free radicals that can cause cellular damage in the skin (3).
Summary: Like other antioxidants, beta-carotene as well is essential to protect the skin against harmful UV rays and free radicals. As dried apricots are rich in beta-carotene, they can support your skin health.
2- Improve Digestion
Essentially, aiding digestion is what dried apricots are most famous for. While these dried apricots improve digestion overall, they are specifically effective against constipation thanks to their high dietary fibre content (4).
Please note that dietary fibre is indispensable for a healthy digestive system, as doctors underline repeatedly.
To be more specific; 1 cup of (130 gr) dried apricots meet almost 40% of your daily fibre need. As such, needless to say: dried apricots will help digestive organs to work efficiently.
In addition to fibre, potassium as well facilitates digestion (5).
With one cup of dried apricots, you can meet roughly 45% of your daily potassium need.
Summary: The plethora of fibre and magnesium in dried apricots will contribute to your digestion. Consume in moderation to reap the benefits.
3- Support Bone Health
If you are above a certain age, here is another reason for you to eat fresh or dried apricots. Both dried and fresh forms of apricots can be beneficial for your bone health.
As getting older, as is the case in other parts/organs of the body, bones lose strength and may become susceptible to bone disorders. Osteoporosis, which is bones losing density, is one of these disorders.
Dried apricots can reduce the risk of developing bone diseases by providing a chemical element that you may not have heard of before. This element is boron and dried apricots are relatively rich in this element (6).
In a research study; Boron has been suggested as an important micronutrient that can potentially prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis both in humans and animals (7).
What’s more; dried apricots provide a decent amount of calcium that is vital for bone health, as we all know. Note that boron also helps the human body to use calcium (8).
Summary: Regular consumption of dried apricots may aid your bone health with its boron and calcium content.
4- Beneficial For Eyes
With a slightly humorous approach, your eyes would be very pleased if you eat dried apricots on a regular basis. Because dried apricots contain nutrients and micronutrients that are known to support eye health.
These are Vitamin A, E, lutein and zeaxanthin. Four of these nutrients can improve eye health in different ways.
Lutein and zeaxanthin ( antioxidants) protect the human eye against phototoxic damage (9). Besides, these antioxidants can also reduce the risk of cataracts.
As for Vitamin E; this vitamin is thought to protect eye cells against unstable molecules that set the stage for age-related macular degeneration (10).
Vitamin A, on the other hand, is arguably the most important nutrient for eye health. According to Healthline; vitamin A is a significant nutrient when it comes to maintaining a clear cornea (11).
Summary: Dried apricots contain nutrients essential to eye health, most notably, vitamin A. One cup of dried apricots can meet almost 100% of the daily vitamin A need.
5- May Decrease Blood Pressure
High Blood pressure can lead people to serious diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Thus, it is important to keep blood pressure at a safe level.
One of the health benefits of dried apricots is to help you better manage your high blood pressure.
Two nutrients in dried apricots make these fruits potentially ideal for lowering blood pressure. These are potassium and dietary fibre.
According to the American Heart Association: potassium is necessary for managing high blood pressure(12). And, the good news is; that 1 cup of dried apricots can provide nearly half of your daily potassium need.
As for dietary fibre; According to research published by Internal Medicine, a diet rich in fibre can remarkably decrease blood pressure levels (13).
Summary: Thanks to high potassium and fibre content, dried apricots may help regulate blood pressure.
6- Combat Iron-deficiency
Lack of iron in the body can cause certain problems. One of them is iron-deficiency anaemia. Iron deficiency can decrease the quality of life and may also cause cardiovascular disorders, therefore has to be treated.
Using iron tablets ( prescribed by a doctor) and eating iron-rich foods are the two best ways to treat iron deficiency anaemia (14).
Dried apricots are rather rich in iron. To be more precise, one cup of dried apricots can meet nearly 20% of your daily iron need. That indicates, that dried apricots can help you restore your iron stores.
Summary: If you lack iron, dried apricots can help you reverse the problem with their high iron content. Don’t forget to add other iron-rich foods to your diet to boost your iron level. Consume them in moderation to reap the benefits.
7- Pregnancy and Dried Apricots
Dried apricots contain various vital nutrients as we underlined many times throughout the article. While these nutrients are important for a casual person, they play a significant role in a pregnant woman’s body.
Essentially, the high iron level in dried apricots what makes these dried fruits ideal for pregnancy. It bears repeating; that a cup of dried apricots provides nearly 20% of the daily iron needed.
In addition to iron, dried apricots provide other vital nutrients necessary in the pregnancy process such as calcium, folic acid and potassium (15).
What’s more, dried apricots can help pregnant women to overcome constipation problems – which is a common problem during pregnancy – owing to their high fibre content.
Summary: Although dried apricots provide many vital nutrients necessary during pregnancy, we encourage pregnant women to discuss their diet (including dried apricots consumption) with their doctors.
8- Diabetes and Dried Apricots
As there is no certain cure for diabetes people with diabetes have to manage their blood sugar levels with certain treatment methods. Eating low glycemic index foods, and getting insulin injections are two major components of diabetes treatment.
Consuming foods that increase blood sugar level slowly and gradually help people to control their blood sugar levels.
Dried apricots have a low glycemic index (16). That means they increase blood sugar slowly. Therefore, they are potentially ideal for people with diabetes, if consumed in moderation.
In a study, carried out with a total of 142 people ( 67 of them with type-2 diabetes), researchers concluded that dried apricots can decrease glucose concentration and reduce the risk of diabetes complications (17).
Researchers, in another study, found that dried apricots may decrease glycemic response (18).
Summary: Dried apricots may help people better manage their blood sugar levels with moderate intake. However, we strictly recommend people discuss their diet (including dried apricots) with their physician or dietitian to avoid any possible diabetes complications.
When to Eat Dried Apricots?
As long as you don’t have any health condition that prevents you from eating apricots, you can eat dried apricots whenever you want. Having said that, it is thought; mornings are the best time of the day to eat dried fruits and nuts (19).
How many Dried Apricots are Safe to Eat?
As the old saying goes, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Therefore, although dried apricots are packed with vital nutrients, it is important to consume them in moderation.
There is no specific study or research as to the daily allowance of dried apricots. Thus, it is hard to say exactly how many dried apricots are ideal in a day. However, the common consensus appears that consuming more than 6 dried apricots can be too much and may bring health problems consequently.
Children shouldn’t consume more than 3-4 dried apricots a day.
Do Dried Apricots Cause Weight Gain?
Dried apricots can help you lose weight in some ways. However, it is vital to underline that weight loss requires patience, physical activity and a well-planned diet.
Now let’s explain how dried apricots may help you lose weight.
Firstly, they are healthy snacks. If you substitute dried fruits with an unhealthy fattening snack, there will be a difference in your weight after some time.
Secondly, dried apricots can keep you full for up to 5 hours by suppressing your appetite. Hence, you may eat less than you would normally do (20).
Thirdly and finally, dried apricots contain nutrients that are known to increase metabolism. These are iron and potassium. Dried apricots may help you lose weight by providing these two minerals, proven to speed up metabolism (21), (22).
Summary: Approximately three dried apricots a day may help you lose weight. Nonetheless, it is a necessity to note that there is no single food that alone magically burns body fat and makes a person slim.
Side effects of Dried Apricots?
Overall, there are many potential health benefits of dried apricots, as we discussed in this article. However, there are things to keep in mind before consuming them.
As mentioned above, dried apricots combat constipation thanks to their high fibre content. However, if they are consumed excessively, it can induce many health problems.
One of the problems that occur due to excess fibre intake is gastrointestinal problems. So, if you consume dried fruits excessively, they can cause gas, bloating, but most likely diarrhoea.
One of the ways to dry fruits is to use sulphur dioxide. This chemical prevents carotenoids from disappearing during the drying process. Almost all dried fruits contain this element in small quantities. Generally speaking, sulphur dioxide doesn’t cause harm to the human body.
Nonetheless, people with breathing disorders such as asthma are advised to avoid sulfur dioxide-containing foods because this chemical can cause breathing problems.
While purchasing check the package to see whether the product contains sulphur dioxide or if you have any breathing disorders.
Not specifically dried apricots, other dried fruits as well such as dried figs, raisins, and prunes contain fructose. The fruits, including dried apricots, are also sticky foods.
Taking these two factors into account, it is safe to say that dried fruit may increase the risk of tooth decay, if not cleaned properly after consumption.
There is no doubt opting for healthy foods over potentially unhealthy ones can lead us to a healthier, in turn, happier life.
In this article, we have profoundly talked about one of these rather healthy foods namely dried apricots.
Although dried apricots won’t improve your health instantly and magically, they can definitely contribute to your health in many ways with its nutrients content.
As we always say, whatever you drink or eat, make sure you consume in moderation. In this way, you can reap the benefits.
Tarkan is an experienced health writer ( currently more than 600 articles ) and also the founder of this website namely www.neededforhealth.com. His expertise in health stems from in-depth medical research and knowledge which he obtained over the course of many years.
Tarkan enjoys sharing factual knowledge on health, psychology and nutrition. He always aims to deliver evidence-based recommendations, provide links to related scientific studies.