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Apricots

Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of pro-vitamin A carotenoids). Vitamin A has numerous therapeutic properties. It is particularly good for eye health and also promotes the health of our gut lining. The carotenoid lycopene has been shown to protect against prostate cancer.

Apricots are also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin E, copper, potassium and both soluble and insoluble fibre. The soluble fibre dissolves in water and includes pectin which is excellent for promoting the growth of our beneficial gut microflora and also improving blood-glucose control. Insoluble fibre is excellent at slowing gut transit time by increasing bulk and thus helps to keep the bowels regular.

Alongside the above nutrients, apricots have an abundance of potent antioxidants in the form of flavonoids.. Some of these, such as quercetin, proanthocyanidins, catechins, and epicatechins, you will notice crop up frequently in the top anticancer foods. That is because they neutralize damaging free radicals in the body, are anti-inflammatory and protect the liver. In a study of 2,375 people researchers looked at levels of inflammatory markers before and after a high flavonoid and anthocyanin intake and found a 42% to 73% lower inflammation score after intake. All these benefits make apricots a good food choice reducing the side effects of cancer treatment.

Remember that dried apricots are higher in sugar as it is concentrated and they may well have been treated with sulphur to prolong shelf life. Look for those without added sulphur and eat with protein foods such as nuts, seeds, muesli etc to avoid a blood-glucose spike.

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References

Coussens LM, Werb Z. Inflammation and cancer. Nature. 2002;420(6917):860-867. doi:10.1038/nature01322

Ozturk F, Gul M, Ates B, Ozturk IC, Cetin A, Vardi N, Otlu A, Yilmaz I. Protective effect of apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) on hepatic steatosis and damage induced by carbon tetrachloride in Wistar rats. Br J Nutr. 2009 Dec;102(12):1767-75. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509991322. PMID: 19822030.

Jian L, Lee AH, Binns CW. Tea and lycopene protect against prostate cancer. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2007;16 Suppl 1:453-7. 2007. PMID:17392149.