Are dried fruits healthy? For and against

If you have a sweet tooth or need easy-to-carry snacks when you’re on the go, dried fruits (like raisins, apricots, and prunes, for example) are probably great for you. Are dried fruits good for health? The truth is, depending on how they’re made, dried fruits can either be a good addition to your diet in small amounts, or a so-called “health food” that you should never consume.

Here’s the good news: A cross-sectional analysis of the 2020 National Health and Nutrition Survey found that adults who included dehydrated fruit in their diets had “better diet quality and higher intake.” important in under-consumed nutrients”. The results of the analysis showed that participants’ fiber, potassium, and polyunsaturated fat intakes were greater on days when they consumed dehydrated fruit than on days when they did not, although they also had consumed more calories.

What is a dry fruit?

Dried fruits are another name for dehydrated fruits, i.e. fruits from which the water has been removed. The result is a less bulky, sweeter product that keeps longer and doesn’t spoil easily. Do dried fruits count in your daily fruit needs? Yes, assuming you pick the right types.
A serving of just over 1/3 cup of dried fruit equals a serving of one cup of fresh fruit. In other words, 1/3 cup of raisins can provide a similar amount of nutrients to an average apple.

What are the healthiest nuts?

Assuming you choose varieties with no added sugar or oil, the healthiest dried fruits are:

– All types/colors of raisins
– apricots
– prunes
– Figs
– dates
– Dried berries including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, goji, etc.
– Cherries
– Cranberries
– Mango
– Apple rings
– Pineapple slices
– Orange slices
– Banana chips

Which nuts are the lowest in sugar?

Above all else, always choose fruits that are not made with added sugar or other sweeteners (like fructose, sucrose, syrups, juice, etc.). Among the less sweet fruits are goji, blackberries, raisins, apricots and prunes.

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Comparison with fresh fruit

Compared to fresh fruit, are dried fruits worse for your health?

The main difference between dried fruits and fresh fruits is that dehydrated fruits have a smaller volume, which means they are less filling and easier to eat. If you eat an equal portion of both types of fruit, i.e. a half-cup serving, you will consume significantly more calories and sugar from dried fruit than from fresh fruit.

Are fresh fruits more nutritious?

Very probably. This is because some delicate antioxidants and other beneficial compounds found in fruit can be destroyed if overheated or stored for too long.
Nevertheless, studies show that dried fruits contain antioxidants, including dried berries and cherries, for example, as well as nutrients such as iron, potassium, vitamins E, C and A, etc.

Benefits of dried fruits

1. High in fiber

Meeting your daily fiber needs is easy when you consume concentrated sources of fiber, including dried fruits. Each small serving of dried fruit will provide you with about four to five grams of fiber, or nearly 20% of your daily needs. Fiber plays many important roles, including helping support bowel and digestive functions, reducing constipation, controlling your appetite, and even maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. For example, a 2019 randomized controlled trial found that adults who struggled with infrequent bowel movements (constipation) and low fiber intake saw their stool weight and frequency significantly increase when they added prunes to their daily diet for four weeks. High-fiber diets are also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other common health problems.

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2. A good source of antioxidants and nutrients

Many dried fruits are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients, just like their fresh counterparts, including anthocyanins, bioflavonoids, catechins, and polyphenols.
This partly explains why data from a 2020 systematic review suggests that “higher intake of raisins and other dried fruits may be important in preventing cancers of the digestive system. People who ate three to five or more servings of dried fruit per week had between 24% and 65% less risk of developing certain types of cancer. Also, figs, prunes, dried berries, raisins, etc. are full of vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, vitamin K, etc. These essential nutrients are associated with health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, protecting against bone loss, helping with muscle and nerve function, and more. Apricots are rich in beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, and vitamin E, both of which contribute to normal vision and eye health, as well as heart and arterial function. Dried mango, strawberries, and blueberries all contain vitamin C, which helps support immune system and skin health.

3. Can be used to naturally sweeten recipes

Adding raisins or cherries and dried berries to granolas, baked goods, yogurts or oats can help reduce the need for added sugar. Dried fruits add a natural sweetness to many recipes, even salads and roasted vegetables, enhancing flavor without adding “empty calories.”

4. Portable and stable on shelves

The dehydrated fruits have been stripped of water and moisture, which prevents them from spoiling easily and makes them a very convenient snack to take on the go. You can take them to the gym to snack on before a workout, put them in your kids’ lunch for school, or take them with you when you travel to avoid unhealthy snacking.

Disadvantages (risks and side effects)

When buying dried fruit in grocery stores or online, look for 100% natural products with no added sugar, oil or sulfur dioxide (E220), which is added as a preservative.
Sulfur dioxide/sulphites help maintain fruit color and appearance, but this additive may contribute to negative reactions in some people, including allergies. Always read the ingredient label to be sure to choose brands that don’t use chemicals or additives.

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As mentioned above, another potential downside to dehydrated fruits is their relatively high sugar and calorie content relative to volume, which means it’s important to stick to a small serving size (except if you are looking to gain weight). Studies suggest that while dried fruits may add nutrients to people’s diets, they don’t seem to displace other calories on the days they’re eaten, which means over-consumption should be avoided. You should also continue to eat fresh fruit if possible and not exclusively dried fruit, as research shows that fresh fruit may have even more benefits for weight control and heart health.

How to consume them

Dried fruits aren’t very filling on their own, so it’s best to pair them with a source of protein and healthy fats. For example, you can make homemade dried fruit mix with nuts, seeds, and raisins, or top plain yogurt or unsweetened oats with chopped figs, cranberries, or dried berries, etc.
Overall, for best results, try pairing any fruit (whether dehydrated or fresh) with foods high in protein and fat to make them more satisfying and help control blood sugar.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice. []

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