As you may already know, fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet. Provides plenty of fiber and other nutrients to support optimal nutrition. Overall, it has long been thought that fresh fruit is somewhat better than dried fruit. But is there really any evidence to support this?
Let’s take a look at the nutritional value of snacking on dried fruit rather than fresh, well-hydrated fruit.
What are dried fruits?
People have been eating dried fruits for thousands of years. Dating back to around 1700 BC, people in what is now Iraq and other surrounding countries ate dried fruit as a staple food. Fruits such as dates, figs and apricots were commonly dried in the sun. Even today, these fruits can be dried in the sun or in a dryer. Most of the moisture is removed as a result of the drying process. This process eventually causes the fruit to shrink, making it look wrinkled and smaller. This process improves the shelf life of the fruit, resulting in a longer shelf life. This makes these fruits easier to transport as they do not need to be refrigerated.
So, are dried fruits good for your health?
yes. Dried fruit, like fresh fruit, contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. In fact, dried fruit has more gut-friendly fiber and antioxidants per ounce than fresh fruit. However, since vitamin C is water soluble (a characteristic nutrient found in many fruits), it is significantly reduced in dried fruits due to the removal of water.
The main reason dried fruits are criticized is their sugar content. Because most of the water is removed, the dried fruit becomes more concentrated in sugar. That’s why just two Medjool dates have 110 calories and about 36 grams of carbs, while eating about 30 grapes has the same amount of calories and less carbs. This does not mean that dates and such dried fruits are bad for you, just that if you have diabetes, insulin resistance, or other conditions where excess sugar is contraindicated, watch your intake. is.
Like many foods, eating in moderation does not stress the body, but eating too much stresses the body. The concentrated sugar content in these fruits does not negate their health benefits. More importantly, watch out for dried fruit with added sugar, such as candied varieties. Because dried fruit is in a concentrated form of sugar, it’s often inherently sweet, so there’s no need to add sugar that isn’t naturally present.
How can I incorporate more dried fruit into my diet?
Dried fruit often doesn’t need refrigeration and lasts much longer than fresh fruit, making it easy to include them in your diet with the following tips.
- Pack it as a snack for work, school, travel or road trips.
- Make your own trail mix and add it as a sweet ingredient (making this at home is a super easy way to cut down on excess sodium and sugar).
- Let’s make syrup! Date syrup is super easy to make and doesn’t use any refined sugar, so it goes well with pancakes. Soaking the dates in hot water for an hour or so before blending is all you need.
- Add it to your salad. It’s not uncommon to include fresh fruit in your salad, but adding dried mango, figs, dates, and more can add wonderful new flavors.
Dried fruit has a higher sugar content than fresh fruit, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad for your health. These fruits are a wonderful complement to an already balanced diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, especially when consumed in moderation like the others.