Are Dried Fruits Healthy?
There is always an argument whether fresh fruits are much healthier than dried fruits and which is best to consume. Today’s blog post would be shedding some light on the dried fruits and if they can be considered an healthy option.
But first let’s talk a bit about fruits generally.
Whether it’s fresh or dried, fruit is nutritious. Both are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre.
So what do we know about dried fruits and fresh fruits?
Dried fruits are full of nutrients, easy to pack, and count toward your daily fruit recommendation.
The main difference between dried and fresh fruits is the calorie and sugar content. Since dried fruits lose water (and therefore volume) during the drying process, their nutrient, calorie, and sugar content becomes concentrated once they’ve dried. When you eat a handful of dried fruit, you are consuming more calories than you would if you ate that same amount of fresh fruit. So, the biggest concern with dried fruits (as with any food) is portion size.
Due to the higher concentration of sugar in dried fruit, many believe that they have a higher glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure used to determine a food’s effect on blood sugar levels. The higher the index, the more effect it will have on spiking blood sugar levels. Foods such as cakes, candies, soda, and other simple sugars are known to have a high glycemic index. Foods with high glycemic indexes have been linked to the development of insulin resistance and diabetes. Traditional dried fruits have a low to moderate glycemic index and a glycemic response that’s comparable to fresh fruits.
Dried fruits with low calorie content offer numerous health rewards such;
There are some dried fruits which are a rich source of antioxidants, the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed. For instance, Phenol, an antioxidant-type, is found more in dried fruits such as figs and dates than in fresh fruits.
2. High Fibre
Dried fruits are usually higher in fibre content than the equal-sized serving of the fresh fruits. Fibre helps in running our digestive system smoothly and prevents obesity as well as cancer and heart disease.
3. Increases nutrient intake
Eating more dried fruit than fresh fruits can give more nutrients to the body. The drying process condenses nutrients in the fruit. It can provide more potassium, folate, and magnesium to name a few.
4. Boosts the immune system
For a quick immune system boost, dried goji berries may help. They’re considered as superfoods that contain iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Also, they have lower calorie and carb content.
The vitamin C in dried fruit not only enhances the immune system. It also improves skin quality and fights off infections. However, raisins, prunes and dried apricots are not a better of a source of vitamin C than their fresh versions. That’s because vitamin C degrades during heat processing and over time.
5. Improves colon and digestive health
Dried fruit can help improve color health. It has prebiotic fibre. This helps the healthy bacteria to keep the digestive tract going.
Prunes or dried plums are high in potassium, vitamin A, vitamin K, and fibre. It’s a well-known natural laxative. They can improve constipation symptoms. They could also improve the consistency and frequency of stool.
6. Promotes weight loss
Certain dried fruit such as apricots, dates, prunes, and raisins can help increase metabolism. Boosted metabolism can improve energy and promote weight loss.
Dried fruit can keep cravings at bay. They can fill a stomach for a couple of hours. Instead of snacking on unhealthy, sugar-filled foods, dried fruit is the better option. Also, an improved digestive tract because of dried fruit can prevent bloating.
7. Improves heart health
Dried fruit can also improve heart health. An ounce of dried fruit contains more antioxidants and fiber than one ounce of fresh fruit. These components are essential parts in keeping your heart healthy.
Dried cranberries can help prevent blood clots. This may aid in keeping consistent blood flow from the heart throughout the body.
8. Keeps skin healthy
Incorporating more dried fruit in diets can also keep skin looking fresh and healthy. Dried mangoes provide omega 3 and other fatty nutrients that help improve skin quality. Raisins have resveratrol, which is a natural skin-aging inhibitor.
9. Boosts energy
There’s a reason why many energy bars have dried fruit in them. It’s because it can give an energy boost. Have a quick snack of dried grapes (raisins), cherries, and apricots in between meals. They can give enough energy to last a busy day.
However, if you are keeping a close watch on your weight, then dried fruits should not be eaten much as they contain considerably more calories in each serving than the fresh fruits. In addition to being a little more careful with portion sizes so you don’t overdo it on calories, you may also want to take a look at the ingredients list of your dried fruit. Unlike fresh fruit, the dried versions may contain more than the fruit listed on the front of the package.
Some dried fruits like pineapple and papaya may also contain added sugar. Or there may be additives, such as sulfur, which is used to retain colour in apricots.
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