When you shop for dried apricots, you may come across two different types: sulfured or organic, also called naturally dried. Sulfites are common preservatives used in dried fruits. They’re generally recognized as safe for most people, but if you are allergic to sulfites, you should stick with organic dried apricots. People with asthma should also avoid sulfured apricots because sulfites can trigger an asthma attack.
Naturally dried apricots tend to turn brown, so many producers treat them with sulfites. This process, called sulfuring, shortens the drying time, lengthens their shelf life and helps dried apricots maintain their normal color and flavor. Sulfuring is supposed to help preserve vitamins A and C, according to Utah State University. The process, however, destroys thiamin, and a 1-ounce serving of dried apricots does not contain a measurable amount of vitamin C.
High in Vitamin A
Dried apricots contain vitamin A in the form of the carotenoid beta-carotene. As a group, carotenoids are antioxidants, but your body can convert beta-carotene into vitamin A. In this role, it supports night vision and helps synthesize red blood cells. Vitamin A also helps keep your immune system strong and your skin healthy. A 1-ounce serving of dried apricots equals about eight dried apricot halves and contains 40 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin A.
Antioxidant Vitamin E
Vitamin E primarily works as an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals before they can damage fats. The fats protected by vitamin E perform a variety of essential jobs in your body. They form the structure of cell walls and help you absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A. Vitamin E also helps keep lipoproteins intact. Because lipoproteins carry cholesterol through your bloodstream, they need to stay in one piece to prevent the cholesterol from sticking to your arteries. A 1-ounce serving of dried apricots contains 8 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin E.
Barely any B Vitamins
Even though dried apricots do not contain thiamin and only have a small amount of folate and vitamin B-6, they retain a little more riboflavin and niacin. Your body uses riboflavin and niacin to form enzymes that metabolize food into energy. Niacin also helps keep nerves working normally, while riboflavin is used to make antioxidants. You’ll get 4 percent of your recommended daily allowance of both vitamins from a 1-ounce serving of dried apricots.
Healthy Macronutrient Profile
Dried apricots are fat-free, and a 1-ounce serving has just 70 calories. This portion also provides 3 grams of fiber, or 12 percent of women’s and 8 percent of men’s recommended daily intake. Getting an adequate amount of fiber -- 25 grams daily for women and 38 grams for men -- lowers your risk of developing some chronic diseases. For example, soluble fiber protects your heart by lowering cholesterol and insoluble fiber helps prevent gastrointestinal problems.
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Sulfites: Separating Fact From Fiction
- Utah State University Cooperative Extension: Apricots
- NutritionValue.org: Apricots, Uncooked, Sulfured, Dried
- Nutrient Facts: Apricots, Dried, Uncooked
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin A
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
- Linus Pauling Institute: Riboflavin
- PubMed Health: Niacin
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber
- MedlinePlus: Niacin