Dried fruits and nuts have always been an integral part of the Indian diet. They are considered to be a powerhouse of energy. You may remember your mother advising you to snack on soaked almonds or dates to sharpen your memory. Then there is Diwali, when we become surrounded by dried fruit gift packs. Even pregnant women are encouraged to add dried fruits to their daily diet.
A recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concluded that regular intake of dried fruits not only increases the quality of your diet but also promotes the cardiometabolic health of the body. The study also found that while the participants who consumed more dried fruits had a higher calorie intake, their BMI and waist circumference was lower, indicating a more active lifestyle.
Here are some health benefits of adding dried fruits into your diet:
1. Reduce the risk of various diseases, keeps gut healthy
Dried fruits are densely packed with fiber and antioxidants, which help fight obesity and diabetes. Antioxidants help in preventing cancer and gut diseases. Phenol-rich dried fruits such as apricots and raisins are proven to decrease the chance of heart diseases, diabetes and degenerative brain diseases (like dementia). People suffering from constipation can get benefit by adding dried figs to their regular diet.
2. Natural sugar substitute and fights anemia
Dried dates, easily available throughout the year, can be a great source of energy after a long day or in preparation for one. They are rich in natural sugars such as fructose, sucrose and glucose and thus can be an instant source of energy. They can be used as a sugar substitute since they are less processed and naturally sweet. They are an excellent source of iron and that makes them good for preventing anemia. They are also great for the development of the fetus when consumed during pregnancy.
3. Improves heart health and eyesight, fights urine infection
Dried cranberries have a high amount of anthocyanins. This compound gives cranberries their dark red colour and is proven to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. A study published in the Nutrition Journal stated that anthocyanins can be beneficial in reducing recurrent urinary tract infections in susceptible women. They also improve eyesight and prevent cardiovascular and liver diseases.
4. Nutrition-rich snack alternative
Some research also states that the sun-drying process increases the concentration of antioxidants and phytonutrients in dried fruits and can be considered as a concentrated form of fresh fruits. As they are high in nutrients, even a small amount could be of huge benefit. This makes them a convenient and healthy snack option.
5. Longer shelf life so you can have any time of the year
Dried fruits have a longer shelf life than fresh fruit, which makes them accessible throughout the year. For example, dried mangoes can be enjoyed throughout the year with all the benefits of mango.
6. Promotes overall development
Dried fruits can be a treasured source of micronutrients, such as calcium, vitamins and minerals, that help in the proper development of bones and muscles during the growing ages. Adding them to the daily diet of children could promote a healthy height and weight.
What to consider before you consume dried fruits
However, there are a few things to keep in mind when consuming dried fruits. Depending on the portion size, dried fruits could be a double-sided sword. Dried fruits should be consumed within a limit as they are heavily packed with nutrients and a concentrated version of fresh fruits. Try to avoid the dried fruits that are coated with sugar as these can have a reverse effect on diabetes and obesity. Also, people should be aware of any associated allergies they may have before consuming dried fruits.
For more information, read our article on Anjeer.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.