Cake has a notorious reputation for not being considered as part of a healthy diet. But does this apply to all cakes? Perhaps you may reconsider this opinion on fruitcakes, as they might have unexpected health properties that you may find while indulging in its good taste.
Fruitcakes are thought to date back to the 18th century, where it was indulged in special occasions by the ancient Romans. Back then, the ingredients were a mix of barley, pomegranate seeds, nuts, and raisins that were stuck together using honey. It was considered a rare delicacy due to the expensive value of these ingedients and their rarity in the old markets. Today, fruitcakes are considered as a traditional treat, especially in Christmas occasions.
Nutritional Content of Fruitcake
A portion of one-ounce of fruitcake contains more than 90 calories. Much of 72% of the calories source from the carbohydrates contained in sweetened dried fruits and sugar. Around 4% of the calories give off less than one gram of protein. Lastly, the rest of the calories in the one-ounce portion comes from fats.
Is it possible that this classical treat provides health benefits? Apparently, we discovered health benefits of fruitcake .
- Reduces anxiety and helps getting good sleep
Fruitcake contains a fair amount of rum, which is an alcoholic substance that is extracted from sugarcane juice or molasses, and undergoes fermentation. An amount as little as 1.5 ounces of rum is enough to induce calmness and a good night sleep. The component of nutmeg, which is often mixed in the fruitcake, also plays a role in inducing a sound sleep.
- Supply enough fiber, vitamins and minerals
Fruitcake is not exactly a fruitcake without fruits. Regardless of the nutritional debate on the dried fruits used in the making of a fruitcake, it is believed that the dried fruits contain the same quantity of nutrients as the fresh ones, however, they are more condensed. Therefore, dried fruit carries up to 3.5 times the additional supplements found in fresh fruits, which are fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Good source of antioxidants
The mix of dried fruits in a fruitcake generally contains antioxidants, particularly polyphenols. The health benefits derived from polyphenols is claimed to reduce the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, obesity, diabetes mellitus and other non-communicable diseases by lowering the incident of damage that may lead to these diseases at cellular level.
- Keep blood sugar at bay
One of the commonly used dried fruits included in the ingredients of a fruitcake is dried raisins. This fruit has been indicated to possess low to medium glycemic index value and a low insulin index. Meaning that blood sugar level should not significantly rise following ingestion of a piece of fruitcake.
That way, you would not have to feel guilty towards your blood sugar level and at the same time you gain the privilege of consuming a piece of cake. However, this fact should consider the amount of sugar included in the ingredient.
Some people add around one teaspoon of cinnamon to their fruitcake recipe. One teaspoon of this spice has been discovered to be a natural remedy for decreasing blood sugar level. This belief is backed up by centuries of chinese medical practice.
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
The component of rum in fruitcake is thought to contribute in preventing peripheral artery disease by naturally blocking the hardening of the walls of these blood vessels.
Consumption of rum will also affect the cholestrol levels by raising High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), which are the good cholestrols that play an important role in lowering the risk of getting heart attacks. In addition, the nuts which are added in the fruitcake is believed to help lowering the Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL, or known as the bad cholestrols), therefore prevent the development of plaque that may build up in the blood vessel walls.
- Relieve digestive symptoms
Who would have thought that eating cake may help relieving stomach problems? Nutmeg, which is often added in the fruitcake, has been used as a medicinal herb that is known to have a good effect on gastrointestinal symptoms. For centuries, people grate a little nutmeg into their soups as natural remedy for digestive problems.
- Great source of energy
Meanwhile, there are many health benefits of fruitcake. A piece of fruitcake may be good to consume in the morning as a healthy energy booster due to the dense caloric package existing in the dried fruits. These dried fruits contain little or no fats and are regarded as a natural source of energy for athletes.
More Advantages of Eating Fruitcake
Here are more health benefits of fruitcake :
- It’s tasty
- Delicious and the best to eat anytime
- Easy to get
- You can eat them with no worry
- Mood booster
- Stress reliever
Health Risks of Eating Fruitcake
Even though it is believed that the raisins in the fruitcake contain low concentration of sugar, adding too much dried fruits to your fruitcake may not achieve this health benefit. Dried fruits other than raisins may be mixed in the ingredient and may contain significant amount of natural sugars, including glucose and fructose.
Other than that, there is a good reason why it is called ‘dried’ fruits, it is because the water has been removed from these previously fresh fruits. As a result, all the sugar and calories contained in the fruit becomes highly concentrated in a smaller package. Therefore, they contain higher caloric content. Eating too much fruitcake is probably not recommended to those who are trying to steer away from gaining weight.
If you are one of those people who do not like spending too much time making cake and prefer buying it off the market, it is important to be aware that fruitcake products may have been mixed with chemical preservatives, which commonly use sulfites.
This preservative not only prevents the cake from rotting, but also prevents discoloration of the colorful fruits, therefore enhancing the appearance of the cake to attract buyers. People who are allergic or sensitive to sulfites may experience unwanted reactions such as stomach pain, skin rashes, and even breathing difficulties if fatal.