Dried fruit is practically a shriveled fruit that has gone through a moisture removal process, such as sun-drying. They offer nutritional values close to a normal fruit, but with a more acquired, distinct, and unique taste. Compared to the normal, fresh fruit, dried fruit has many advantages too.
As long as you keep an eye on the ingredients, consuming dried fruit consistently is considered healthy to your body. There are simply too many benefits for us to pass up. We will discuss the plethora of benefits a dried fruit has and its types within this article and the health benefits of dried fruits.
Healthy Snacking with Dried Fruits
There are so many varieties of fruit in the whole world, but not every fruit can be made into dried fruit. Here are some examples of what kind of fruit usually made into dried fruit and can be found easily worldwide.
Made from the sweet fruit of the date palm, dates provides a high amount of sugar and dietary potassium. As well as a wide range of other essential nutrients. Originated from lands around Iraq thousand years ago, dates were spread by traders to various parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, North Africa, Spain, and more. During Ramadhan, Muslims traditionally eat dates during sunset when their fast ends. Meanwhile, date fruit contains phosphorus, sodium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Thus, that’s beneficial to prevent anemia, intestinal disorder, promote health heart and the best energy booster.
Prunes are a common house remedies for constipation, due to the high amount of dietary fiber they contain. They are also a good source of vitamin K, providing 57% of your recommended daily intake. However, prunes also contain a mild laxative which might be bad for your digestive system if consumed excessively. So, be extra careful when consuming prunes to avoid its drawbacks and enjoy the benefits.
As a fresh fruit, apple has mediocre nutritional values. When apple was turned into a dried apple, those nutritional values dropped quite significantly. However, since it has low calorie, dried apple chips might be your answer for a tasty and healthy snack.
Probably the most popular dried fruit in the world, raisins are produced in many regions of the world and used in many culinary recipes. Raisins naturally taste sweet because they contain a high amount of fructose and glucose sugar. They have a low content of fat but are highly nutritious, containing rich dietary fibers, low glycemic carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. This makes raisins one of the best healthy snack in the world. As a result, a lot of bread and dairy products such as ice cream, yogurts, cakes, etc uses this tasty treat either as decoration or flavor enhancer due to their sweet taste.
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Many people couldn’t differentiate between raisins and currants. Since both of them are actually dried grapes it does not came as a surprise. The main and only difference is that currants refer to dried fruits that are made from Black Corinth grapes, while raisins refer to any dried grapes regardless of any grape cultivar. As both raisins and currants belonged to the same family they also share the same benefits and drawbacks.
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Almost the same as apples above, pears provide no significant amount of nutrients. However, pears are known to be a good source of dietary fiber and could be served as a low-calorie snack as well.
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Often found in some pizzas, salads, and pasta recipes, these sun-dried tomatoes are as nutritious as fresh tomatoes. Dried tomatoes contain a significant amount of salt, one single serving of 100g could provide much of the recommended daily salt intake. They are also rich in lycopene, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
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8. Goji Berries
Also known as wolfberries, these orange-red berries are portrayed as having a multitude of health benefits by their marketers. However, this claim is unsupported by any scientific study or evidence. Even without any scientific confirmation, dried goji berries are popular for culinary uses due to their unique taste almost similar to cherries or cranberries.
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This traditional Chinese dried fruit made from tangerine/mandarin peels has many uses, particularly in Chinese cuisine and medicine. Some researchers say that Chen-pi could relieve bloating and other digestion problems such as gastric ulcer, abdominal distension, etc.
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Figs belonged to the same plant family as mulberries. Cultivated by mankind since ancient times, dried figs are an excellent source of dietary fiber and essential minerals such as manganese. Figs are usually sold in dried or other processed forms because fresh figs turn bad quickly after picked.
Once an important commodity traded along the Silk Road, dried apricots possess a really long shelf life. Some study reveals that dried apricots contain a high number of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. They also have a good amount of fiber, which makes them an excellent relief for constipation. Apricots provide 47% of your daily vitamin A recommended intake in a single serving, making them a great remedy for your eye.
Be aware when buying dried apricots product. Many manufacturers added sulfur dioxide to their dried apricots product to keep their color bright orange. The organic ones not treated with sulfur has a much coarser texture and darker color closer to an orange brown rather than orange.
More Healthy Advantages of Dried Fruits
Dried fruits health benefits vary from fruit to fruit. However, most of the dried fruit commonly found around the world usually provide similar benefits. In the next part of the article, we will discuss what those benefits are.
12. Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Many dried fruits contain a high number of antioxidants such as polyphenols and ascorbic acid, which in turn would help prevent heart diseases and keeping a good cardiovascular health. Some study said consuming dried apple regularly could improve cardiovascular health.
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13. Prevents Anemia
Some dried fruit contains a high amount of iron, which is good to combat several diseases, mainly anemia. Dates are known to be the best derivation to increase hemoglobin levels and prunes contain more iron than beef of the same serving, making them essentially the best snacks to prevent anemia. Keep in mind that iron contained in fruit and vegetables are harder to absorb than iron found in meat products. That is why you better consume these dried fruits in conjunction with the other dried fruit that is rich in vitamin C, such as dried apricots.
14. Improves Immune System
Many of the dried fruit contain a moderate to high amount of vitamin C, just like their fresh counterpart. Some of them like apricots and raisins contain a good amount of vitamin A as well. These two vitamins are two vital components in making your immune system perform better to protect your body from incoming foreign contaminants which lead to a lot of diseases.
15. Strengthen Bones
Figs are rich in calcium as well as calorie, so it is kind of a double-edged sword for your health. On one side the calcium it provides is good for your bone growth and strength, but on the other side, the high calorie might give you some weight problems.
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16. Weight Control
Most of the dried fruits are tasty while having a low-calorie count. For a person who wished to reduce their weight via a healthy diet, consuming these delicious snacks is a good way to fulfill daily nutrient needs without taking too much calorie. Just make sure you buy the dried fruit products without any added sugar or other unhealthy preservatives. Otherwise, it might be more harmful than beneficial to your diet.
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17. Easy to Store
Since the ancient times, people have been drying fruits not because they know about their nutritional values nor their actual health benefits. Storing dried fruits for later use, such as winter stockpile or a long journey is the first practical use of food-drying methods. Dried fruits have such a long shelf life it could go for years without turning bad. As such, keeping a good amount of dried fruit as an emergency food supply is a good thing to do.
18. Treats Constipation
If you are taking dried prunes, then that’s the best solution for constipation problems. As prunes contain fiber to help you absorbs food well. Even when it’s dried, the fiber contents is still there. Even though, the percentage may decrease as the drying process.
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19. Digestive Problems Treatment
As it said, dried fruits such as dried chen-pi is good for digestive problem treatment. As chen-pi has been used as traditional medicine to cure digestive problems such as gastric ulcer, abdominal distension, and more. Thus, it may be so beneficial for you.
20. Alternative Fruits
Broadly sayings, most of people don’t like to eat fruits. They may say that fruit is boring, not delicious, or some classic reasons. Mostly, children don’t like fruit as well as they don’t like to eat veggie. Thus, dried fruits is the best alternative for them to eat fruits. However, we all need fruits by its nutrients.
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Although, there are several drawbacks as well. One of these drawbacks that you have to watch out for is it’s what additives that they have. More often than not, certain kind of dried fruits has added sugar to enhance their sweetness, preservatives to increase shelf life and prevent discoloration, and other chemical substances that might be dangerous to your health. In the end, there are many health benefits of dried fruits.