The Top 5 Dried Fruits!
With the increasing awareness of the need to improve diet and carefully watch the foods we eat and the food we give our family, it pays to educate ourselves on dried fruit nutrition. Dried fruit can keep for long periods, it is easy to store, it is convenient to carry as a snack, and it can be quite economical.
Just exactly what is dried fruit? Fruit with a large proportion of the water content removed. The fruit retains a high nutritional value. The drying process can either be done naturally under the sun, or artificially through hot dryers or food dehydrators. In additional to equipping a kitchen with a quality cookware set, many also invest in a quality stainless steel food dehydrator and process their own fruits and nuts.
In this article we will consider five of the most common and most popular dried fruits. Educate yourself on these five and see how you can benefit from the nutritional value by working them into your weekly diet, for yourself and your family.
Dried apricots actually contain more nutritional value than fresh ones simply because the nutrient content is much higher. Dried apricots contain a high level of carotenes, good for lowering the risk of some cancers. This dried fruit also is a good source of vitamin C, silicon, iron, phosphorous, calcium and potassium.
Dried apricots are rich in iron and therefore helpful in the fight against anemia. They can also act as a gentle laxative and help avoid constipation. They even help with digestion.
Dried dates are packed with nutrients which include phosphorous, magnesium, vitamin A, calcium, and potassium. They promote the existence of healthy bacteria in the intestines and they can help ease the problem of constipation, acting as a mild laxative.
Dates are an excellent source of energy and they can provide a quick energy boost, being full of natural sugars. Dried dates have less calories than fresh dates and therefore can be included in a healthy snack for those wishing to maintain a healthy weight.
Dried figs are rich in potassium and therefore help control blood pressure. They are also an excellent source of fibre and can be incorporated in a weight management regimen.
Other minerals present in dried figs are: manganese, iron, copper, potassium, calcium, zinc and selenium. Both copper and iron and important in the production of red blood cells in the body.
Dried Plums – Prunes
Prunes contain vitamins A and C, chromium, potassium and iron, lutein and fibre. In practical terms they help with healthy bowel movements, contribute to healthy hair and skin, help maintain proper blood sugar levels, provide energy, and the lutein even helps prevent eyesight failure.
And here is something of interest to all those trying to lose weight: prunes are an appetite suppressor! Why? Prunes can help slow down the rate at which food leaves the stomach thereby giving the sensation that you are full. This can help in the fight against overeating.
Dried Grapes – Raisins
Raisins contain high levels of natural sugars, up to 72% of their weight. They are high in antioxidants – key factor in fighting cancer and heart disease. Why they can even contribute to healthy teeth and gums, fighting cavities and gum disease.
Raisins also help prevent constipation, and as they are rich in iron, help with the fight against anemia.
Motivation – Why Should I Bother?
If a family has been used to snacking on crisps, candy bars, and the like, it will take a considerable effort and mental shift to get out of unhealthy eating habits. However, thinking of the end result can be a powerful motivation. Dried fruit has a high nutritional content and when combined with dried nuts, it can provide a very healthy snack.
As with anything, it can take time to make an adjustment. If a person had a habit of putting sugar in tea or coffee and then decides to go without sugar, these beverages will taste unpleasant in the beginning. If the person persists however over the course of a few weeks, the taste senses actually change and become accustomed to beverages without sugar. After a period of time, when that same person is mistakenly given a cup of tea or coffee with sugar, they almost spit it out as a reflex action because it tastes so sweet!
So give yourself or your family a little time for the taste senses to adjust to your new healthy eating habits. It will pay rich dividends in an increased level of health, energy, and sense of well-being. Educate yourself on dried fruit nutrition and start improving your diet today!
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