Apricot kernels are similar in appearance to a small almond. Fresh apricot kernels are white. The skin becomes light brown when dried out.
Some manufacturers use apricot kernels in the production of cosmetics, medicine, and oil.
The kernels contain protein, fiber, and a high percentage of oil, which people can extract from the kernel.
People use oil pressed from the sweet kernel can be used for cooking in the same way as they might use sweet almond oil. Processed foods, such as amaretto biscuits, almond finger biscuits, and apricot jams, contain apricot kernels.
Some people who live in the North-West Himalayas think wild apricots and their kernels have both nutritional and medicinal uses. Possible uses include biodiesel production, skin, and hair-care products.
Oil and kernels from the bitter variety of apricot kernel are often ingredients in cosmetics, such as body oil, face cream, lip balm, and essential oil.
One study reports that, depending on the type of apricot, the kernels are composed of:
Oils: From 27.7 to 66.7 percent
Proteins: Between 14.1 and 45.3 percent, of which 32 to 34 percent are essential amino acids
Carbohydrates: From 18.1 to 27.9 percent
Around ۵ percent of the kernel is fiber.
Apricot kernel oil is high in essential fatty acids. These are necessary for human health, but the human body cannot produce them, so people must take them in through diet.
There are two main types of essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).
Linolenic acid plays a vital role in brain function and healthy growth and development. Fatty acids also stimulate skin and hair growth, regulate metabolism, maintain bone health, and support the reproductive system. Many people think that fatty acids have antioxidant properties.
In a rodent study published in 2011, rats with liver fibrosis received a dose of 1.5 milligrams (mg) three times a week for 4 weeks of ground apricot kernels. Researchers found there was an improvement in symptoms.
They suggested this may be due to antioxidant activity, as the kernels contain oleic acid and other polyphenols.
Vitamins and minerals
Apricot kernels do not contain a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, but the oil is rich in vitamin E. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin E has antioxidant properties.
Apricot kernels and cancer:
Apricot kernels may have some health benefits, and some people have suggested that they may help fight cancer.
Scientists have proposed that a compound called amygdalin, present in apricot kernels, may be a way to eradicate tumors and prevent cancer by stopping cells from reproducing.
A laboratory study published in 2005 suggested that amygdalin might inhibit genes that lead to cell proliferation.
In 2012, a laboratory study found that enhancing amygdalin with β-D-glucosidase may make it useful in treating liver cancer.