I love apricots! I remember a time years ago in France when we stayed with some French friends and they had an apricot tree in their garden – divine! Many years later, I discovered that one of my trees in my own Edwardian garden was an apricot and one year I was blessed to have over 50 fruits off the tree. Sadly, it eventually succumbed to an incurable disease and so I am no longer blessed with fresh apricots each summer from my garden! The reason why apricots are included in this first volume, is that they feature in the Goodie Two-Shoes Extraordinaire Fruit and Christmas Cakes. Nowadays, when using fried apricots, I only use organic un-sulphurated apricots, which are dark brown in flavour and much more rich in flavour with all the benefits of the fresh fruit intact.
Here’s some more information about this delightful fruit:-
Apricots are part of the “sweet” category of foods and are thus great for bringing the spleen and stomach into balance.
Apricots are also a great source of potent and powerful antioxidants, including vitamins A and C. They are also a rich source of other types of antioxidants such as polyphenols including flavonoids. If you have a diet rich in these properties, it can help to reduce heart disease as well as other types of diseases and health conditions humans can suffer from.
Antioxidants are exceptionally important in reducing and eliminating damage to the body from free radicals, which can cause inflammatory conditions as well as premature death of cells, so thus, eating foods high in antioxidants can help reduce and maybe even reverse the ageing process. Free radical damage can also result in diseases such as diabetes and cancer as well as arthritis and rheumatism, so consuming foods high in antioxidants is a great idea generally! Apricots are full of several different kinds of antioxidants including:-
In addition to the above, apricots are also rich in carotenoids and xanthophylls, nutrients that researchers believe may help protect our eyesight from age-related damage. One of the nutrients found in apricots is called lutein. It appears that lutein may be able to protect the retina from damage caused by blue light.
Additional research has concluded that regularly eating fruit helps to reduce the risk of loss of vision as we age. This is particularly the case for people who eat three or more servings of fruit a day.
One of the antioxidants mentioned above is catechins. This is part of a broad family of flavonoid phytonutrients, which also includes green tea. Just eating one apricot will provide you with 4-5 grams from catechins. The benefits of this, is that these types of phytonutrients are renowned for being potent anti-inflammatory nutrients. It has been found that catechins can inhibit the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which is responsible for creating inflammation in the body.
Further research carried out on tea and cocoa, other foods rich in catechins, has found that high consumption of these foods has had significant beneficial changes in people’s health such as protecting our blood vessels from inflammation-related damage, which can lead to lower blood pressure levels as a result.
Also, apricots are a great source of dietary fibre. This is helpful to maintain good digestive health. About half of the dietary fibre provided by apricots is from soluble fibre. This type of fibre is the one which is good for helping to control blood cholesterol levels and ensure that the “bad” LDL cholesterol remains at healthy levels.