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Apricots are also known as PrunusArmeniaca. These are small drupes and closely resemble peaches and Plums. They are soft and tangy in taste and are yellow or orange in color with a shade of red on one side. Apricots because of their taste and health benefits are used to prepare jams, squash, and jellies.
Apricots are also used for essential oils which have huge health benefits.
Cultivation of Apricots:
Apricots are deciduous trees. They require regular water initially when they are planted. Once they are fully grown, they don’t require much of water. These are usually grown in a Mediterranean climate which is sufficiently cold required for these plants and have lesser chances of frost.
Cultivation of the same require following steps:
- Splinter sprung graft: This involves a cutting a new branch of apricot. A horizontal cut is made in a way that the bud and the cambium are not damaged. Another piece of bark is also cut horizontally so that the cambium is visible. Both the surfaces with cambium are joined together using an adhesive tape. When it is confirmed that the graft has been joined together and has started to grow. The adhesive tape is removed from the place.
- Shield Graft: This also involves the similar steps as above and involves the exposure of the branch of apricot in a similar way. The other branch is cut in the form of T two expose the cambium. The two parts are joined using an adhesive tape and removed when it is confirmed that the graft has started to grow.
- Pruning of apricot tree: Apricot tree pruning is required for the adequate growth of apricots on the tree. The apricots grow more on the younger branches. Therefore, it is important to cut down the older branches and also cut down the branches that are closer to each other.
- Planting distance: Trees should have sufficient distance between each other to get an abundant supply of water, minerals, and sunlight. The alternative trees should be at a distance of 5-8 meters while the adjacent rows should be at a distance of 8 meters.
- Fruit thinning: It is important to have sufficient quantity of fruits and not have an overload so that the fruits are of good quality and size. Usually, 3 fruits are kept in one bunch.
- Pollination: Apricots are mostly self-pollinators and don’t require any human intervention. Mostly bees help in the process of insect pollination. In colder climates, however, sometime pollination is done artificially using a brush.
- Harvesting of apricots: apricots are usually collected a couple of days before they are fully ripe. The fruits have a short life and should be eaten in a short span after harvesting.
- Soil and fertilizers: They require deep soil with a good drainage system; the soil should be slightly alkaline in nature. They don’t grow properly in a sandy soil because of the lack of drainage and water storage in the sandy soil.
Nutritional value of Apricots:
The apricots are used widely by people around because of their nutrient contents. They have a wide variety of vitamins present in them which include Vitamin A, C, E, K and Niacin in abundant quantity as well as other vitamins in small amounts.
Apricots also contain a lot of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, Manganese, copper, and potassium. They also contain fiber which helps in the proper digestion.
It is believed that 100 gram of apricots contains 12% of vitamin C, 12% Vitamin C and 6% of potassium for the body’s daily requirements.
The vitamins and mineral content of the fruit is very high, however, it contains fewer calories just 48 Kilocalories. Apricot is a low-fat fruit while it contains a high amount of sugar. It’s seeds also contain Vitamin B17
Health benefits of Apricot:
Because of the high nutritional value, there is a huge number of health benefits of this fruit. Apricots can be helpful in curing and prevention of many diseases and ailments. Some of the health benefits of apricots include:
- Eye health: It is believed that the apricots help in maintaining good eye health. Two- three servings of apricots daily helps to improve the eye health and is also helps in improving in strengthening optic nerves, thus these help in preventing age-related macular degeneration (ARMD). Carotenoids and other vitamins present in the apricots help to improve the vision.
- Antioxidants: Apricots are anti-oxidants rich foods. Antioxidants help in the normal functioning of the body. Antioxidants help to remove toxins from the body which if stays in the body could result in disease or could also lead to organ damage. Antioxidants also help in removing the free radicals from the body which can lead to cellular damage. T
- Fibers: Apricots are also a rich source of daily fiber needs of the body. Apricots contain soluble fibers which help in the dissolving of the fatty acids and also help in removal of the body thus helping in the bowel movement. Apricots help in supporting digestion and also prevent constipation.
- Healthy heart: Fibers present in the apricots also help in improving the heart health. Consuming half a cup of apricots helps to decrease the bad cholesterol (HDL), while it helps to increase the good cholesterol (LDL) in the body. This it helps in overall functioning of the heart. It also helps in improving heart’s health and also preventing heart diseases and disorders.
- Blood pressure: Apricots are rich in potassium and help to keep in check the electrolyte levels of the body. Potassium along with sodium helps to maintain the fluid levels in the cells. The adequate levels of electrolytes and fluids help in proper neurotransmission.
Potassium is also required by the body to keep the blood pressure stable. Inadequate quantities of potassium in the body lead to hypertension which could also cause a heart attack or other heart-related diseases. Including a half cup of apricots is sufficient to provide 21% of the potassium requirements of the body.
- Anemia: Apricots are a good source of non-heme iron and vitamin C. Non-heme iron helps in providing iron to the body. Non-heme iron has the benefit that it is slowly absorbed in the body and stays available for the body requirements for a longer time. Iron helps in preventing blood-related disorder such as anemia. Anemia is characterized by dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nausea, and tiredness.
- Fight free radicals and Cancer: Apricots help in fighting free-radicles and cancer-causing elements. Free radicles disrupt the DNA structure within the cell and thus cause inhibition in cell growth and development. Antioxidants in the apricots help in the removal of free radicles. Removal of the free-radicles from the body helps to prevent and cure different types of cancer.
- Skin benefits: Apricots contains antioxidants like vitamin A, C, and poly-nutrients. Thus these help in skin growth and replenishment. The anti-oxidants in the apricots also help in delaying the skin aging and also help in preventing wrinkles.
It helps in removing the dead skin and providing a glowing skin. This also helps in removal of acne and wrinkles.
- Weight loss: Apricots have a high content of fibers and thus helpful in reducing weight. Apricots help in multiple things like improving the digestive and excretory system. The restoring of the electrolyte balances of the body and thus also helps in controlling the weight of the person.
- Strengthening bones and bone related diseases: Apricots are rich in calcium and potassium. Calcium helps in maintaining the bone health as calcium is the main constituent of the bone. Calcium in the body also helps in preventing many bone-related disorders like osteoporosis. This also helps in the cure of brittle bones.
Potassium helps in the absorption of the calcium and minerals in the body. Calcium without potassium would lead to excretion of all the calcium from the body which could also affect bladder and other excretory organs.
- Connection between brain and body: Cell functioning requires electrolyte balance. The electrolytes present in the apricots helps the transfer of ions from the cells and also help in neuro-transmission from the brain and the body parts. The electrolytes help in maintaining the adequate fluid level in the body. The sodium and potassium present in the apricots help to maintain the electrolytes in the body.
- Ear pain: Apricots are also found to be helpful in treating ear pain. If a person is having ear pain, it is observed that a few drops of apricots help in curing ear pain. Apricots contain anti-oxidants that help in treating ear pains.
- Asthma: Apricots have also been found beneficial in treating asthma. Apricots have expectorant and stimulant properties which are due to the essential oils present in the apricots. These help to reduce the load on the lungs and thus help in asthmatic allergies.
- Antipyretic: Apricot has an anti-inflammatory and soothing property which can help to bring down the temperature because of these conditions. One can have a mixture of apricot, honey, and water to bring down the fever because of either of these conditions.
So, it is great to have the apricots included in the daily diet as a juice or fruit directly. This would help in the prevention and treatment of various diseases.