From Natural Wonderfoods

Apricots are thought to have originated in ancient Armenia, although they have a long history throughout Asia and the near East. Now grown throughout the world, these flavoursome fruits have high levels of beta-carotene, which the body turns into antiviral and anti-carcinogenic vitamin A. It is the most abundant antioxidant found in apricots, helping to protect the skin and lungs from oxidation damage and supporting the immune system. It also prevents free radicals from damaging the eyes. Eating fresh apricots can be helpful to those suffering from infections, particularly those of the respiratory tract. Dried apricots supply iron and produce haemoglobin, which is beneficial to those suffering from anaemia. They also have a balancing effect on the nervous system, treating mental fatigue, mild anxiety and insomnia, and yield an oil that is highly nourishing for the skin.

Apricots are an excellent source of vitamin B5, which is crucial for the production of anti-bodies. They are also high in vitamin C, which is essential for all immune functions. In addition, apricots contain lycopene, which is one of the most powerful antioxidants. Lycopene is known for its ability to prevent the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and it also has strong anti-carcinogenic properties.

Apricots are rich in the amino acid tryptophan, which the body converts to the feel-good chemical serotonin. This brain chemical lifts your mood, making you feel more optimistic, improving self-esteem and even helping to control impulsive behaviour. And it helps you sleep well too. Some of the tryptophan is also converted to niacin, or vitamin B3, if necessary. A shortage of this nutrient can cause lethargy, so eating apricots can keep energy levels high.

Apricots are an under-appreciated superfood!

Apricot Crumble

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes
950g/2lb 2oz apricots, peeled, halved, pitted and roughly chopped
70g/2½oz/⅓ cup sugar
100g/3½oz/⅔ cup wholemeal flour
25g/1oz/¼ cup oats
2 tbsp demerara sugar
55g/2oz unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for greasing
crème fraîche, to serve (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C/ 375˚F/gas mark 5 and grease a large baking dish with butter.

2. Put the apricots in the dish and sprinkle over 55g/2oz/¼ cup of the sugar. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Cover the apricots with the crumble mixture.

3. Bake the crumble for about 40 minutes, until browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve with crème fraîche, if you like.
Did you know strawberries are also a wonderfood? Just take a look at their amazing health benefits!


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