Dried fruits are often touted as healthy snacks. They are even associated with weight loss and are great for people who want to have a nutritious diet. However, there are some experts that argue these dried fruits should be treated just like candy. While they do provide some nutrients, they shouldn’t be deemed as healthy because of their high sugar content.
Are Dried Fruits Really Nutritious?
Many experts agree that eating dried fruits is good for you. They are almost as nutritious as fresh fruits and are in fact higher in some vitamins and minerals, including the following:
- Polyphenols and many other antioxidants
Polyphenols are useful for improving our blood flow as well as in digestion. These antioxidants also help in decreasing damage from oxidative stress. When regularly consumed, polyphenols can reduce the risk of many diseases. While dried fruit has more of the above mentioned nutrients, there are some in which it cannot beat fresh fruit. The most notable is vitamin C, which dried fruit can’t offer in the same amounts as its fresh counterpart.
Benefits of Dried Fruits
There are several types of dried fruits and many of them offer great benefits for your health:
Made from dried grapes, raisins are quite beneficial to your health due to the following reasons:
- High in fiber
- Rich in potassium
- Has low glycemic index
- Has low insulin index
- Can lower blood pressure, while improving your blood sugar levels
- Can decrease blood cholesterol
- Can lower risks of type 2 diabetes and heart disease
Raisins are also great for people on a diet because its high fiber content allows you to feel fuller for longer.
Made from dried plums, prunes are considered truly nutritious because they offer the following benefits:
- High in fiber and potassium
- With vitamins especially vitamins A and K
- Contains sorbitol, a type of sugar alcohol
- Relieves constipation
- Has antioxidants that help lower bad cholesterol levels
- Rich in boron that helps fight osteoporosis
Prunes also help in preventing cancer and heart disease.
These are the richest in antioxidants, but that’s not all. Dates are also wealthy in many nutrients, including:
Dates are great for people with diabetes because they don’t have high glycemic index, which means you don’t have to worry about blood sugar spikes. Dates are also recommended for pregnant women because it is believed they aid in dilating the cervix, so there will not be a need for induced labor.
While there are many health benefits, it is important that you know which ones are good and which ones you should avoid. Stick to dried fruits without added sugar or those that are in candied form. Added sugar can increase heart disease, cancer, and obesity risks which negate the benefits that you get from dried fruit itself.