What is dried fruit, actually? As the name suggests, it is the dried version of various fruits from which almost all the water content has been removed. The most common are raisins, but also dates, plums, figs and apricots. The fruits shrink during this process and become smaller, but remain high in energy. We look at whether dried fruits are healthy and which varieties you should include in your diet.
Table of Contents
- How healthy are dried fruits actually?
- The main health benefits of dried fruit
How healthy are dried fruits actually?
We have already mentioned the most common types of dried fruit, but there are others, sometimes in candied form (coated with sugar). These include mangoes, pineapples, cranberries, bananas and apples. Dried fruit has a much longer shelf life than fresh fruit and can be a convenient snack, especially on long trips. Since dried fruit is smaller, you can take it anywhere and eat it to get a boost of energy and satisfy your hunger.
The information about dried fruit is very contradictory. Some say it’s a nutritious, healthy snack, while others claim it’s no better than candy. Food contains calories, and eating too many calories, even from healthy foods, will lead to weight gain. But there are healthy calories and unhealthy calories, and fruit is a healthy source of calories. This is as true for dried fruit as it is for fresh fruit. However, there are some caveats. Because dried fruit is so much smaller than the fresh it comes from, it is easier to consume a lot of calories by eating dried fruit. Another concern is that some manufacturers add sugar to dried fruit. So, you should definitely keep eating dried fruits because they are full of healthy nutrients. However, avoid the added sugar and watch the calories.
The main health benefits of dried fruits.
Dried fruits are rich in nutrients and have a variety of medicinal properties. If you like to have yogurt, smoothies, oatmeal or other healthy breakfast options, you can add dried fruits to them to give them a tastier and healthier twist. Dried fruits are small, but they contain many minerals and proteins. Every medical professional recommends including a handful of dried fruits in your diet to stay healthy and fit.
Source of protective antioxidants and fiber
Dried fruits are rich in phytochemicals with protective antioxidant properties, including anthocyanins, catechins and phenols. People who eat a diet rich in plant antioxidants are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, various cancers and possibly degenerative brain diseases.
Dried fruits also contain more fiber, which fights obesity and some cancers, than fresh fruits. Most people do not consume enough fiber, although it is important to support digestive function. A higher intake of fiber is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
For example, studies show that eating raisins lowers blood pressure, contributes to a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and leads to a better feeling of fullness.
Dried fruit healthy thanks to micronutrients.
Because dried fruit contains less water, it is a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals. By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times more fiber, vitamins and minerals than the fresh. Therefore, one serving can provide a large percentage of the recommended daily requirement of many vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid.
Dried fruit supports bone health
Studies suggest that dried plums may benefit bone health, slow bone loss in midlife, and also prevent osteoporosis. The high content of bone-healthy nutrients such as vitamin K and boron in dried fruit varieties such as prunes could be one explanation for these benefits. In addition, this type of dried fruit is a natural laxative.
Dried fruits and pregnancy
Dates can have a positive effect on pregnancy and help prevent various diseases. Of all the dried fruits, they are one of the richest sources of antioxidants, which help reduce oxidative damage in the body. They are a good source of fiber , potassium, iron and various phytochemicals. The consumption of dates has been studied in relation to pregnant women and labor. If women eat dates during the last weeks of pregnancy, it may help dilate the cervix and reduce the need for induced labor.
Healthy skin and hair
Dry figs and dates are rich in iron and can promote hair growth when eaten regularly. In addition, figs are good for our skin. They are rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, vitamins B6 and K, which are necessary for healthy, glowing skin, and also help prevent epidermis water loss and sebum overproduction.
Dried fruit healthy for weight loss
If you want to accelerate your weight loss, you can consume dates, raisins, apricots and prunes daily in moderate amounts.
This is what you need to keep in mind
Fruit usually contains large amounts of natural sugar. Because dried fruit has had the water removed, all of the sugar and calorie content is concentrated in a much smaller package. Because of this, dried fruits have a very high calorie and sugar content, which includes glucose as well as fructose. Eating a lot of fructose can have negative health effects. Because dried fruits are sweet and high in energy, it is easy to eat large amounts at one time, which can lead to excessive sugar and calorie intake.