While I was doing grocery shopping, I overhead a mother telling her daughter to get few packets of dried apricots. She told her that dried fruit is as good as fresh fruit. Interesting. Is dried fruit really as good as fresh fruit?
Let’s look at the good and bad before we jump into conclusion.
Advantages with Dried Fruit
- Dried fruit has concentrated nutrients (vitamin and mineral). For example, raisins (which are dried grapes) are richer in iron compared with fresh grapes. Prunes has more fiber too which help relieve constipation.
- Dried fruit is a healthier replacement to other sweet snacks or junk food.
- Some athletes eat dried fruit as a source of quick energy.
- Dried fruit has a much longer shelf life than fresh and can be kept for 6 months to a year in an airtight container.
Things To Watch Out With Dried Fruit
- The reason fruit is dried is to reduce the water content. As water is a good transport medium for oxygen, with less water, oxygen level will be reduced. The drying process may deplete vitamin C content too. Even if dried fruit is rehydrated with water, it is not as good as fresh.
- Sugar is added to some dried fruits and making it sweet and sticky. So, it may not be good for your teeth.
- Before you buy the dried fruit, look at the nutrition facts from the ingredient labels. The fewer ingredients, the less processed the food is. The first ingredient should be fruit, such as raisins, dates, apricots and not salt, sucrose partially-hydrogenated oil.
- Though with more nutrients, dried fruit also has more calories. For example, a cup of sliced fresh plums has about 90 calories whereas a cup of prunes has about 400 calories.
- Not all dried fruit is dried fruit. Dried banana chips are not.
Having said that, dried fruit is an alternative to fresh fruit when fresh fruit is not available. My advice is, do not eat whole bag of dried fruit as snack. Instead, having a few of them in plain yogurt in the morning is good enough. Given a choice, fresh fruit is still the better food.
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