Apricots are a good source of dietary fiber
with insoluble cellulose and lignin in the skin and soluble pectins in
the flesh. The apricot's creamy golden color comes from deep yellow
carotenes (including beta-carotene) that make the fruit a good source of
vitamin A. Apricots also have vitamin C and iron.
The bark, leaves and inner stony pit of the
apricot all contain amygdalin, a naturally occurring compound that
degrades to release hydrogen cyanide (prussic acid) in your stomach.
Apricot oil, treated during processing to remove the cyanide, is marked
FFPA to show that it is "free from prussic acid".
Extract of apricot pits, known medically as
Laetrile, has been used by some alternative practitioners to treat
cancer on the theory that the cyanide in amygdalin is released only when
it comes in contact with beta-glucuronidase, an enzyme common to tumor
cells. Scientifically designed tests of amygdalin have not shown this to
be true. Laetrile is illegal in the United States.
The most nutritious way to serve apricot is
when it is dried. Ounce for ounce, dried apricots are richer in
nutrients and fiber than those fresh apricots.