The apricot is a very healthy and tasty fruit, that has known uses since ancient times for its valuable qualities. The apricot is rich in phosphorus, calcium, potassium, sodium, provitamin A, iron and many other important nutrients.
Through the consumption of apricots, one procures vitamins and improves their health. But let's pay a bit more attention to another product related to apricots - apricot kernels. Ever wonder whether they are as beneficial as the fruit, or hide some unexpected harmful properties? Let us find out in the following text.
Composition of apricot kernels
Apricot kernels are rich in omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B15 and W17, A and E, niacin, dietary fiber, phytosterols and others. The energy value of 2/5 cup (100 g) of apricot kernels is between 500-700 calories. Besides nutrients, apricot kernels contain the dangerous glycoside amygdalin.
Selection and storage of apricot kernels
The apricot kernels you buy should have a nice appearance, with no traces of moisture or unpleasant odor. Keep the apricot nuts in a dry, dark and cool place away from water and direct sunlight. Apricot nuts are not very cheap, prices vary. Always check the label for the expiry date and manufacturer information.
Apricot kernels in cooking
Apricot kernels have a strong bitter taste and are therefore known in culinary circles as apricot almonds or bitter almonds. They are used in recipes for marzipan, apricot jam and certain types of Italian biscuits. You can sprinkle your salad with fresh apricot nuts or eat them by themselves. Substitute almonds with apricot nuts in recipes. Of course, do not go overboard with the amount consumed.
Benefits of apricot kernels
Apricot nuts contain high amounts of potassium, making them useful for people with cardiovascular problems, but should not be eaten too salted. The fact that they are rich in vegetable oils makes them very valuable in the fight against early stages of atherosclerosis.
There are many claims that apricot kernels are a very valuable tool in the fight against cancer, because they contain vitamin B17. It is believed that it is enough to eat two or three bitter apricot nuts, in order to minimize the possibility of getting this insidious disease.
Dangers of apricot kernels
Unfortunately, it appears that delicious apricot kernels have serious health risks. The contained therein glycoside amygdalin is very dangerous. When it enters the stomach it releases cyanide. When a large amount of nuts is consumed, the toxicity of the cyanide is increased several times and you may become poisoned with serious consequences.
The amount of amygdalin in 50 apricot kernels can cause death. 1 gram of amygdalin is enough to be deadly and is contained in approximately 2/5 cup (100 g) of kernels.
At the heart of the dangerous toxic mechanism of cyanide is its ability to block crucial enzyme systems involved in supplying cells with vital oxygen.
The outcome is a violation of cellular metabolism and development of tissue hypoxia - the decrease or complete absence of oxygen in essential human tissues and organs. Therefore, in some cases the result is fatal. Be very careful with children because there is a greater opportunity for the expression of toxic symptoms.
As we have seen, the dangerous effects of apricot kernels are evident when eating large quantities. Eat the kernels moderately and no risk will threaten you. However, keep in mind that if you get nausea, vomiting, decreased blood pressure, headache, dizziness and weakness, you should immediately consult a medical person.
Cosmetics with apricot kernels
Apricot nuts are widely used in cosmetics in the form of oil. It is derived from cold-pressed apricot kernels, and is then refined. Naturally, they contain large amounts of vitamin F, which moisturizes and stimulates the skin.
Oil from apricot nuts is very useful for dry and aging skin, because it nourishes, softens, moisturizes and tones. It accelerates cell metabolism and helps in the formation of collagen, slowing skin aging.
Oil from apricot kernels nourishes and strengthens hair structure. It prevents fragmentation of hair follicle tips and hair loss. It gives a velvety softness and smoothness of both hair and skin.