The Centenarian’s Secret: The Apricot

One of the staple foods of the famously long-lived centenarians in the Hunza valley of the Himalayas is the apricot. Here is some information about apricots and one great way to work them into your diet for your health and longevity.

Apricots: the Secret Anti-aging Weapon
Research shows that of any food, apricots possess the highest levels and widest variety of carotenoids. Carotenoids are antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, reduce “bad cholesterol” levels, and protect against cancer. In traditional Chinese medicine, apricots are considered helpful in regenerating body fluids, detoxifying, and quenching thirst.

The kernels also have several healthy properties, including toning the respiratory system and alleviating a cough. However, be cautioned that the tip of the apricot holds a concentrated amount of the chemical laetrile, which can be upsetting to the system. To safely reap the benefits of apricot kernels, remove the tips of the seeds and do not eat more than five a day.

Dr. Mao’s Honey-Glazed Masala Chicken with Apricots
Serves 4

Many of our everyday cooking seasonings are actually spices and herbs that possess powerful healing properties. Many spices such as cinnamon, coriander and ginger have been clinically shown to prevent blood clots and improve circulation. One of my favorites is the Indian spice blend masala. It is not “tongue-burning” but rather a gentle, tummy warming spice mix that improves digestion, absorption and helps reduce abdominal bloat.

Masala chicken is a popular Indian dish. People not used to the spiciness of masala may find it a little strong. Adding apricots gives it a mild sweet-and-sour taste, balancing the spiciness of the masala.


3 lbs boneless chicken pieces (thigh and breast)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp masala spice (ground cumin, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, peppercorn, coriander, cardamom)
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tbsp rice vinegar
10 dried apricots
2 tbsp honey
Parsley, for garnish

1. Cut chicken into 2-inch pieces. Heat oil over medium heat in a deep skillet. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened.

2. Stir in garlic, ginger and masala. Add chicken and stir-fry until cooked through, about 5 minutes.

3. Add tomato puree, salt and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

4. Add vinegar and apricots to skillet, cover and simmer 15 minutes more. Transfer to a serving platter, drizzle honey over top and garnish with parsley, if desired.

I hope you incorporate apricots into your diet as your own anti-aging secret weapon. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

—Dr. Mao

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This entry was posted in Blog.