Health Benefits of Dried Fruit
Dried fruits offers some advantages over fresh fruits: a longer shelf life and portability. If you are watching your weight, dried fruits should be eaten in moderation as they contain significantly more calories per serving than fresh fruits. Some dried fruits contain sugars added in processing which increase its calorie content. However, dried fruits without additives offer numerous health benefits.
Dried fruits generally contains more fiber than the same-sized serving of their fresh counterparts. Fiber helps keep your digestive system running smoothly. Dried apricots, for example, contain 6.5 grams per cup, while fresh apricots contain just 3.1 grams. A cup of raisins contains 5.4 grams of fiber versus just 1.4 grams for seedless grapes. Fiber not only helps your digestive system. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, it helps prevent obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Some dried fruits are a good source of certain antioxidants, according to a 2005 study in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition.” Phenols, a type of antioxidant, are more abundant in fruits like dates and figs than in some fresh fruits, leading researchers to advise that more dried fruits be included in the American diet. Plant polyphenols have been found to fight heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer and degenerative diseases of the brain, according to the November-December 2009 issue of “Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.”
Because most of the water is extracted from dried fruits, their nutrients are condensed into a small package. Dried fruits like apricots, raisins, prunes and figs contain high amounts of beta carotene, vitamin E, niacin, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium, reports the European Food Information Council.
Fat and Calories
Dried fruits contains little to no fat. They also contain significant calories per serving, making them a natural source of energy for athletes. They are also a good supplement for people seeking to gain weight healthfully. If you are watching your weight, you may want to limit your intake of dried fruit due to the calorie content.