The online information about dried fruit is very conflicting. Some say it is a nutritious, healthy snack, while others claim it is no better than candy.
What is Dried Fruit? This blog about dried fruit and how it can affect your health. 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 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. However, there are some exceptions. For example, the vitamin C content is significantly reduced when the fruit is dried. Dried fruit generally contains a lot of fiber and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of many diseases.
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. However, these studies were observational in nature, so they cannot prove that the dried fruit caused the improvements.
Same as with many other foods, dried fruit have both good and bad aspects. Dried fruit can boost your fiber and nutrient intake and supply your body with large amounts of antioxidants. However, they are also high in sugar and calories, and can cause problems when eaten in excess.
For this reason, dried fruit should only be eaten in small amounts, preferably along with other nutritious foods. They should not be eaten by the handful, because it is very easy to eat too many calories from dried fruit.
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