Dried fruit is a fruit that has been dried out by removing almost all its water content, which shrinks it and turns it in to an energy dense dried form. Raisins, dates, figs, apricots, prunes etc. are the common type of dried fruit available. However, some other varieties of dried fruit that are coated in sugar are also available such as mango, cranberry, pineapple, apple, and banana, which are perceived to be no better than candy. Read on to know if dried fruits are a good or a bad inclusion in a healthy diet.
Dried fruits are highly nutritious and contain a similar quantity of nutrients as fresh fruit. In fact, each serving of dried fruit has a higher percentage of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; except for vitamin C that gets reduced on drying. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of eating dried fruits.
There are many studies which associate consuming of dry fruits with increased nutrient intake and a lower risk of obesity. Dried grapes or raisins are packed with fiber, potassium and have a low insulin index. Raisin consumption is associated with low blood pressure, improved blood sugar control, and a decrease in blood cholesterol and inflammation. Prunes or dried plums are rich in fiber, vitamin A and K, potassium, and act as a natural laxative. These are also a great source of antioxidants and prevent or inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol to prevent cancer and heart disease.
It is also high in boron, which fights osteoporosis. Dates are high in fiber, iron, potassium, antioxidants, and have a low glycemic index. Consuming dates during the later stages of pregnancy facilitates cervical dilation and induces natural labor. Dried fruits also contain a good quantity of natural sugars, which includes both glucose and fructose. High quantity of fructose is associated with increased weight gain, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
It is best to avoid dried fruits with added sugar or the candied fruits, which may seem appealing but are very high in sugar and can harm the body by increasing the risk of obesity, heart problems, and even cancer. Some dried fruits may contain sulfites to make them more appealing, preserve the fruit better, and prevent discoloration. But, some people may be sensitive to sulfites and consuming them can lead to skin rash, stomach cramp, and asthma.
So, dried fruits have both pros and cons but it is better to choose the healthiest of these and in the naturally available form.