Dehydrated fruit: is it good or bad?


Introduction

There has been a long debate about the beneficial health properties of dehydrated fruit. Some argue that figs, prunes, apricots, raisins and dates, for example, are nutritious and healthy foods, while others that they are almost as rich in sugar and calories as candy. Dehydrated fruit, which is commonly defined as “dried”, creating confusion with nuts such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and so on, is the fruit from which almost all the water has been removed through drying methods. The fruit shrinks during this process, and whole or sliced ​​fruits appear with soft but dry pulp, which retains all the energy supply. Raisins and plums are probably the most common and consumed dehydrated fruits, but other varieties of dehydrated dried fruits, sometimes candied (sugar-coated), are also commercially available, such as mango, pineapple, cranberries, bananas and apples.

Dehydrated fruit: beneficial properties

Dehydrated dried fruit has several beneficial properties; certain nutrients are the same as fresh fruit and indeed more concentrated, while others are reduced).

It is a food very nutritious, rich in fiber, vitamins and mineralsi, which often triple compared to those present in fresh fruit. Therefore, one serving can provide a large percentage of the recommended daily intake of many vitamins and minerals, such as folate. It must be said, however, that during the drying process several vitamins are lost: for example the vitamin C content is significantly reduced when the fruit is dried.

Dehydrated dried fruit is also a concentrate of antioxidantsespecially polyphenolics associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, improved digestive health, reduced oxidative damage.

Sultana raisins: properties

Raisins, or sultanas, are among the most consumed dehydrated fruits. Rich in fiber, potassium, it has a low to medium glycemic index and a low insulin index: this means that raisins it should not cause sugar spikes in the blood or high insulin levels after meals. Some beneficial properties of raisin consumption include:

Dried plums: natural laxatives

Dried plums are rich in fiber, potassium, beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin K, and are known for natural laxative effects. This is caused by their high fiber content and by a sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which occurs naturally in some fruits. Eating prunes has been proven to help improve intestinal transit, to combat constipation and constipation and to improve the consistency of stool. As a great source of antioxidants, prunes can inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and help prevent heart disease and cancer. Consuming dried plums can be a valid help in combating the painful manifestations of osteoporosis, due to a mineral called boron which they are rich in.

Dates: rich in antioxidants and useful for pregnancy

Dates are another fruit rich in fiber, potassium, iron and several plant compounds. Of all dried fruits, they are one of the richest sources of antioxidants and help reduce oxidative damage in the body. Dates, like sultanas, have a low glycemic index, which means they don't cause major spikes in blood sugar levels. The consumption of dates is particularly suitable during pregnancy, especially during the last weeks as it can help facilitate cervical dilation, as well as reducing the need for induced labor.

Dehydrated or candied fruit? Read labels

To make dried fruit even sweeter and more inviting, it is often covered with added sugar or syrup before being dried, and therefore “candied”. It has been repeatedly proven that Added sugar has harmful effects on health, increasing the risk of obesity, heart disease and even cancer. It is always better to prefer the consumption of naturally dried fruit without added sugar, and it is therefore important to read the ingredients and nutritional information on the packaging.

Dehydrated fruit: sugars and calories

Fruits tend to contain significant amounts of natural sugars. Since the water is removed during the drying process, the sugar – glucose and fructose – and therefore the calories remain concentrated. Below is the quantity of sugar contained in individual dehydrated fruits:

  • Raisins: 59%.
  • Dates: 64–66%.
  • Plums: 38%.
  • Apricots: 53%.
  • Figs: 48%.

Eat them in moderation as most of the sugar contained is fructose, excessive consumption of which can cause negative health effects, such as a greater risk of gaining weight, onset of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dehydrated dried fruit, being rich in fiber and antioxidants, is beneficial for the body, however, it should consumed occasionally and in small portions. It can be a much healthier and more nutritious snack than industrial snacks or junk food such as chips and sweets, but the modest sugar and carbohydrate content must be taken into consideration.

Here are tips for storing dried fruit and thus avoiding food waste.


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