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Apricot Nutrition Facts

The apricot (Prunus armeniaca), a relative of the peach, originated thousands of years ago in China, where they still grow wild in the mountains. Greek mythology experts believe apricots are the "golden apples" of Hesperides the fruit Hercules was ordered to pick in the eleventh of his twelve labors.

This fragile, delicately flavored, velvet-skinned fruit gradually worked its way westward on camel caravans to the Mediterranean, where it flourished. Spanish explorers introduced apricots to California in the 18th century.

Fresh, dried or canned, apricots are one of the best sources of beta-carotene, with just one fresh apricot providing about the daily recommendation of vitamin A. Canned apricots provide three times more because heat processing breaks down cell walls, releasing additional beta-carotene.

The beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in the body. This nutrient helps protect the eyes and keep the skin, hair, gums and various glands healthy. It also helps build bones and teeth. Plus, research shows that Vitamin A helps to fight infection by maintaining strong immunity. For this reason, researchers are looking to apricots as a valuable source of beta-carotene's healing power.

Apricots are also a good source of fiber (about 2.5 grams for three apricots) and are bursting with potassium (about 300 milligrams in three fresh or eight dried halves). Apricots also provide Vitamin C.

Laetrile also called amygdalin or vitamin B17, though not an official vitamin is a natural substance extracted from apricot pits that's been a popular underground treatment for cancer for decades. Its anticancer effect purportedly comes from the cyanide it contains.

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