Benefits of Certified Organic Apricots

Posted on November 23, 2006 by Sarmaad

It's that time of year again, the summer fruits are starting to arrive. At the Organic Grocer we've got lovely apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, cherries and mangoes, all with their own nutritional value. In this issue of our newsletter we are going to focus on apricots.

Apricots originated from China and were brought to the west by Alexander the Great. One of our most important fruits, apricots have numerous health benefits and curative properties and are enjoyed world-wide. Let's take a look at the benefits of certified organic apricots:

  • Apricots are a fantastic source of vitamin A, and a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fibre, iron and potassium.
  • Apricots promote good vision due to beta carotene which is converted to vitamin A. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant which reduces free radical damage to cells and tissue. The degenerative effect of free radicals, or oxidative stress, may lead to cataracts or damage the blood supply to the eyes.
  • Apricots are know as a healthy heart food as they have a high beta carotene and lycopene activity, which helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may then help in the prevention of heart disease. Also apricots can increase your levels of iron, potassium, magnesium and copper, which are important in controlling your blood pressure.
  • To maximize the benefits of apricots, they should be eaten with foods that are rich in vitamin C, so that the iron absorption can be increased.
  • Apricots are known to relieve constipation, as they are a good source of fibre and are generally favoured as a gentle laxative. This is due to their cellulose and pectin content. So if you suffer from chronic constipation, it is recommended that you eat six to eight apricots per day, to help relieve the problem.
  • As apricots have a high content of iron, they are an excellent fruit for those suffering from anemia. Essential amounts of copper in the fruit make iron available to the body. Liberal intake of apricots could increase hemoglobin production in the body.
  • Apricots contain lycopene, an amazing carotenoid that can help prevent prostate and breast cancer.
  • Beta carotene could also help to reduce the risk of stomach and intestinal cancers.
  • The B vitamins in dried apricots may help protect you from Alzheimer's and age related mental problems, such as memory loss.
  • A handful of dried apricots supplies one-fifth of an adult's daily potassium requirements and between 10 to 20% of their iron needs.
  • Apricots may aid in the digestion process, as they contain an alkaline reaction in the digestion system.
  • Apricots helps tone up the stomach, liver, heart and nerves by supplying them with minerals and vitamins.
  • Apricots are known to be an excellent diet food providing a large amount of healthful nutrition to the body as well as keeping down caloric intake. They contain no fat and a small amount of carbs.
  • Juice from the apricot leaves can be applied with beneficial results in the treatment of scabies, eczema, sunburn and itching of the skin due to cold exposure.
  • Although eating apricots cannot guarantee you will live a longer life, recent research shows that apricots may help you live a better, healthier life.
  • Be aware that commercially grown dried apricots may be treated with sulfur dioxide gas during processing. They may also be treated with sulfites to extend their shelf life. They are addn adverse reaction in sulfite sensitive people. They may also bring on a life threatening allergic reaction in asthma suffers. This is another great reason to choose certified organic produce as this industry prohibits the use of sulfites.
How to select and store apricots -
  • Apricots are those beautifully orange coloured fruits with velvety skin and flesh, not too juicy but definitely smooth and sweet.
  • Look for an orange coloured fruit. Avoid pale, yellow or greenish.
  • Greenish apricots are low in carotenes and will never ripen satisfactorily at home.
  • Always look for fairly firm, plump, well-formed fruit that gives slightly when pressure is applied.
  • Avoid buying very soft fruits.
  • Store ripe apricots in the fridge, unripe apricots will ripen at room temperature out of direct sunlight.
  • Fully ripe fruit is soft to touch, juicy and should be eaten as soon as possible.
  • Place hard apricots in a paper bag and let them ripen for a day or two.
  • Refrigerated apricots may last up to two weeks.
  • Remember apricots are very delicate when ripe, bruise easily and deteriorate quickly if not refrigerated.
Apricots can be made into excellent jam, jelly, marmalades and preserves. You can eat it straight from the tree or dried, however you like, it is one of the most nutritious fruits around!

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Benefits of Certified Organic Mangos

Posted on October 12, 2006 by Sarmaad

Mangos are a very delicious and desirable tropical fruit. More fresh mangos are eaten worldwide than any other fruit. Let's take a look at the benefits of eating mangos:

  • Mangos are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B6. They also contain iron, nicotinic acid, and potassium.
  • The high doses of vitamin C in mangos are a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which may decrease the incidence of asthma symptoms.
  • Woman, get 100 percent of their daily requirement of vitamin A (beta carotene), 95 percent of their vitamin C, and almost a third of their vitamin E from eating just one mango.
  • Mangos help in reducing the risk of getting Alzheimer's. Scientists have found that the antioxidant, vitamins E, C, and beta carotene may help save your memory and mangoes are a great source of all three.
  • Mangos are the perfect fruit to help regulate your thyroid, as glands needs vitamin A, which the body makes from beta carotene.
  • Mangos are good for the immune system and help protect against colon and cervical cancers.
  • The National Cancer Society recommends five fruits and vegetables a day, and just half a mango counts as one serving.
  • Mangos are classified as a comfort food that really can make you feel better, as they contain an enzyme which has stomach smoothing properties. These enzymes act as a digestive aid.
  • Mangos contain up to 40% of your dietary fibre, and this will help in lowering blood pressure and have a protective effect against degenerative diseases.
  • Eating a mango a day will improve your irregularity, and help prevent coronary heart disease.
  • Mangos are low in calories, fat and sodium.
  • Mangos are rich in antioxidants such as beta carotene and beta cryptoxanthin which lowers cholesterol and converts it to vitamin A.
  • Beta cryptoxanthin is absorbed best by the body when it is eaten with fat, so it is better to eat a mango with a meal rather than by itself.
  • Eating a raw mango with salt quenches thirst and prevents the excessive loss of sodium chloride and iron, due to sweating.
  • Mangos are a great way to replenish potassium, so if you are on the go, eat up.
  • By eating small tender mangos with salt and honey when the seed is not fully developed is found to be effective in relieving diarrhea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, chronic dyspepsia, indigestion and constipation.
  • Green or unripe mangos contain a large amount of starch which gradually turns into glucose, sucrose and maltose as the mango starts to ripen. Green mangos are a great source of pectin, which gradually diminishes after the formation of the stone. Unripe mangos taste sour due to the presence of oxalic, citric, malic and succinic acids.
Tips on choosing and storing mangos.
  • When selecting a mango, the ripeness of mangos can be determined by either smelling or squeezing. When a mango is ripe it will have a full, fruity aroma emitting from the stem end.
  • Choose a mango that has uniformly smooth skin. A few black spots are acceptable as these indicate a very ripe mango (the riper ones are sweeter).
  • Mangos are ready to eat when they are slightly soft to touch and yield to gentle pressure.
  • Mangos which have a yellow tinge when ripe, will also have the best flavour.
  • Ideal storage temperature for a mango is about 13ºC.
  • The best way to ripen a mango is to leave it at room temperature, and if you want to accelerate the process place it in a paper bag.
  • If the mango is ripened quickly, use it within a couple of days, as it will not have the optimal shelf life of a slowly ripened mango.
  • When stored properly a mango should have a 1 to 2 weeks shelf life.
Peeling and eating a fresh mango may be a challenging experience because the juicy fruit can be quite messy, but once you bite into the sweet flesh, it's all worth it. So, not only are mangos scrumptious, they are good for you too!

Mango is the perfect fruit!

As the weather is warming up quite fast try this refreshing mangoade.


65 g (80 ml) sugar
750 ml water
Rind of a quarter orange
375 ml mango pulp (about 3 mangoes)
250 ml orange juice
125 ml lime juice

Place sugar, water and orange rind in a saucepan, heat slowly, stirring until sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil. Cool and strain. Add remaining ingredients, mix well. Chill before serving with ice.

Go easy on the sugar!

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