In our world today, ‘dried fruit' is widespread with raisins being in the majority. However, prunes, dates, apricots, figs, peaches, pears and apples are in the mix. Some fruits such as cranberries, cherries, strawberries, mangoes and blueberries are infused with added sugar before drying. Here Adda Bjarnadottir, MS,HealthLine.com, reflects on the pros and cons of ‘dried fruit'.
“Information about dried fruit is very conflicting.
Some say it is a nutritious, healthy snack, while others claim it is no better than candy.
This is a detailed article about dried fruit and how it can affect your health.
What is Dried Fruit?
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Dried fruit is fruit that has had almost all of the water content removed through drying methods.
The fruit shrinks during this process, leaving a small, energy-dense dried fruit.
Raisins are the most common type, followed by dates, prunes, figs and apricots.
Other varieties of dried fruit are also available, sometimes in candied form (sugar coated). These include mangoes, pineapples, cranberries, bananas and apples.
Dried fruit can be preserved for much longer than fresh fruit and can be a handy snack, particularly on long trips where refrigeration is not available.
Dried Fruit is Loaded With Micronutrients, Fiber and Antioxidants
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Dried fruit is highly nutritious.
One piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit, but condensed in a much smaller package.
By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fiber, vitamins and minerals of fresh fruit.
Therefore, one serving can provide a large percentage of the daily recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, such as folate (1).
However, there are some exceptions. For example, the vitamin C content is significantly reduced when the fruit is dried (2).
Dried fruit generally contains a lot of fiber and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols (3).
Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of many diseases (4).
Health Effects of Dried Fruit
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Several studies have shown that people who eat dried fruit tend to weigh less and ingest more nutrients, compared to individuals not eating dried fruit (5, 6, 7).
However, these studies were observational in nature, so they can not prove that the dried fruit caused the improvements.
Dried fruit is also a good source of many plant compounds, including powerful antioxidants (8, 9, 10, 11).
Raisins May Reduce the Risk of Certain Diseases
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Raisins are dried grapes.
They are packed with fiber, potassium and various health-promoting plant compounds.
They have a low to medium glycemic index value, and a low insulin index (12, 13).
This means that raisins should not cause major spikes in blood sugar or insulin levels after meals.
Studies show that eating raisins may (12, 14, 15, 16, 17):
- Lower blood pressure.
- Improve blood sugar control.
- Decrease inflammatory markers and blood cholesterol.
- Lead to increased feeling of fullness.
All of these factors should contribute to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Prunes are Natural Laxatives and May Help Fight Diseases
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Prunes are dried plums.
They are highly nutritious, being rich in fiber, potassium, beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin K.
They are known for their natural laxative effects.
This is caused by their high content of fiber and a sugar alcohol called sorbitol, which is found naturally in some fruit.
Eating prunes has been shown to help improve stool frequency and consistency. Prunes are considered to be even more effective at relieving constipation than psyllium, which is another common remedy (18).
As a great source of antioxidants, prunes may inhibit the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and help prevent heart disease and cancer (19, 20).
Prunes are also rich in a mineral called boron, which can help fight osteoporosis (21).
Furthermore, prunes are very filling and should not cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels (19).
Dried Fruit is High in Natural Sugar and Calories
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Fruit tend to contain significant amounts of natural sugars.
Because the water has been removed from dried fruit, this concentrates all the sugar and calories in a much smaller package.
For this reason, dried fruit is very high in calories and sugar, including both glucose and fructose.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/dried-fruit-good-or-bad#section1
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