Nancy's Nutrition Corner

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food," Hippocrates.

Alluring Apricots

Historically, many recipes and love potions included the essence of apricot for its aphrodisiac qualities. Today, most people enjoy apricots for their incredibly pleasing taste and bountiful amount of carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene.

Nutrient Rich
The rich orange color of the apricot is due in part to its high beta-carotene content. This carotenoid also lends the fruit its health benefits. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is recognized as being essential for vision, bone development and immune system function. Vitamin A also plays a large role in the health of the skin and healing of wounds.

Lycopene is thought to be among the most potent antioxidants in the carotenoid family. Large epidemiologic studies have tied lycopene-rich food intake to a reduced incidence of prostate cancer, and in fact, several studies have confirmed that lycopene rich fruit reduces the risk of prostate cancer in men.

Apricots are also a good source of both soluble and non-soluble fiber. High fiber intake naturally combats high cholesterol and constipation.

Fruit and Health
The consumption of fruits and vegetables has been strongly associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, cataracts, and age related functional decline. A National Academy of Sciences report on diet and health recommended consuming 5 to 7 servings of fruit and vegetables daily as a strategy for reducing the risk of these diseases. There are many ways to promote the increase of fruits and veggies in your diet. Try the American Cancer Society's suggestion: "snack your way to 5 a day" by keeping dried fruits in your car or desk and a bowl of fruits on your kitchen counter.

 Featured Product
Dried Apricots

Nancy Silva, ND is a licensed naturopath with a penchant for good food. Her monthly column discusses the nutritional aspects of some of the foods available through LocalHarvest. You can contact Nancy from her listing on our website.

Back to the September 2007 Newsletter