What exactly is a dried fruit? Is it good or bad for your health? What about candied fruits, are they any better than dried fruits? If you want to get all of these answers, then keep reading!
I’m sure you heard some people saying that dried fruits are bad for your health because they are full with sugar, and others promoting their nutritive benefits.
Well actually, dried fruits are kind of a power fruit: they are loaded with nutrients and natural sugar but without the water that is in the fresh fruit.
Let’s start at the beginning, and learn more about dried fruits!
First, What Is a Dried Fruit?
A dried fruit simply is a dehydrated fruit, where almost all of the water it contained had been extracted. Dehydration is one of the oldest ways to preserve food. People were drying food in the sun for centuries, as they noticed that it was edible for a much longer time after this process.
Most common type of dried fruits are raisins (dried grapes), prunes (dried plums) and dried dates. Note that another variety of the dried fruit is the candied fruit, where sugar has been artificially added. Candied fruits usually are mangoes, pineapples, and bananas.
The main advantage of a dried fruit is that you can keep it for way more time than the fresh one. It’s really handy for travelling or during a hike for example.
Dried Fruits: Nutritive Highlight
As they are dehydrated, dried fruits contain 3 times less water than fresh ones. That’s why their nutritive intake is really high, as it’s much more concentrated. Indeed, a typical dried fruit will contain 4 to 5 times more nutrients than when they’re fresh (for the same weight).
Fresh fruits usually contain a high amount of natural sugars. Dried fruits have all of the water removed, that’s why they concentrate way more sugar and calories, even if they’re smaller.
This study shows that dried fruit consumption, in contrast with fresh fruit, provides significant proportions of the daily recommended intake of several micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals – particularly folate.
Health Benefits of Dried Fruits
- Contain lots of fibers, which is linked with a better weight management and reduced risk of obesity
- Loaded with powerful antioxidants polyphenol that proves to improve your blood flow, digestive health and reduce the risk of many other disease
Candied Fruits: Not So Good!
Sometimes, water in the fruit is replaced by added sugar in order to make the dried fruit even more sweet and appealing. This special type of dried fruit is called candied fruit.
As you can easily image, candied fruit are not good for your health. They are loaded with added sugar and have way more calories than dried fruits. For example, depending on the type of fruit, a portion of 100g contains:
- Fresh apricot: 11g of carbs
- Dried apricot: 63g of carbs
- Candied apricot: 86,5g of carbs
In short, try to avoid candied fruits as much as possible!
Are Dried Fruit Safe for Your Health?
As they are high in sugar, they will stick to your teeth. That may cause you some cavities if you eat too much of them, so be careful of that and don’t forget to brush your teeth.
Also, dried fruits can contain preservatives in order for them to stay colorful, hard or to prevent from bacterial growths. Don’t worry as the preservatives which are added, such as sorbic acid, potassium sorbate, bisulfate of sodium and potassium, are safe and harmful, even if the names can be scary. Note that not all dried fruits will contain preservatives.
Finally, as dried fruit is naturally sweet but smaller than a real fruit, you can be tempted to eat more at a time. That would result in an excess of sugar and calories. As always, remember that eating in abundance is bad for your health! Balance is the key for a healthy body and a happy mind 🙂
Tips to Buy, Store and Use Dried Fruit
When you buy dried fruits, it’s pretty difficult to determine if there are any added preservatives as it can not be written. Remember that if the dried fruit doesn’t have bisulfite, it will be dryer with a brownish color. If you buy some dried pineapple, apricot or papayas and they still have their original color, then be sure that they do have preservatives.
Dried fruit are pretty easy to store as they don’t contain any water. You can keep them at room temperature for 6 to 12 months, depending on which fruit it is, or freeze them.
You can either eat dried fruit as they are or rehydrate them. For example:
- Dried, you can snack them, add them to your breakfasts (porridge and cereals), meals (salads, rice, and sauces) and desserts (cake, biscuits, or puddings). As they have natural sugar, they are perfect to replace it.
- Rehydrated, they will be bigger and softer. You’ll need to soak them in liquid (water, juice or alcohol) until they replump. Keep them 6 to 8 hours in a cold liquid and then put them 30 minute in a hot one.