Who has never struggled with the World Health Organization's recommendation to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day?
In our busy daily lives, our lunch meals are often replaced by a sandwich wolfed down in between two meetings, or a fast-food meal in front of the computer. We don’t always have the time to sit down and enjoy a nutritionally balanced meal and going shopping regularly for fresh fruits isn’t always convenient. Not only are they subject to availability, but they can also come at a high cost; and be imported from distant countries. The travel time usually means that they are picked at an early stage of growth and being ripped on their journey to destination. This process drastically decreases their nutrient value.
But did you know you could enjoy a boosted nutritional intake by consuming dried fruits instead? Correct.
Dried fruits have the advantage of being harvested at their ripest point, and dried directly on the farm, preserving all their nutritional value. And not only are they the ultimate on-the-go, healthy snack and sweet addition to your breakfast granola, but they also have the advantage of being particularly delicious. Naturally grown fruits, carefully sundried; without any syrup addition or sugar coating, are a culinary delight for the palate. We like to call them ‘nature’s candy’.
Let’s talk about 5 amazing health benefits of introducing dried fruits in your daily diet:
1. Increases nutrient intake
The drying process condenses the nutrients in the fruit, turning each bite into a bomb of goodness: a loaded combination of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate, to name a few. These nutrients are essential for your wellbeing, let’s have a closer look at them:
- Dietary fiber is essential to your digestive health. Not only does it help regulate your bowel movements, but it also literally acts like a scrub-brush in your intestines, cleaning out any bacteria and reducing the risk of colon cancer.
- Antioxidants are the best way to prevent or slow the damage caused by free radicals to your cells (oxidation), preventing cancer and heart diseases.
- Dried fruits are loaded with vitamin A-C-E-K-B6 and Zinc. These vitamins will boost your eyesight, and your bone and skin health.
- Dried apricots, dried dates and dried raisins are also an excellent source of iron: they’re a precious ally in the fight against anemia.
- Potassium is a mineral classified as an electrolyte because it’s highly
reactive in water. It acts like a muscle contractions and blood levels
- Consuming a diet high in calcium will allow you to build and maintain strong bones. Your entire body needs calcium to circulate blood, move muscles and release hormones. Dried fruits such as dried apricots and dried raisins are filled with it!
- Almonds and dried figs are rich in another mineral: magnesium. Enough magnesium in the body is crucial because it helps calcium and vitamin D do their jobs.
2. Low in calories and promotes weight loss
Not only are they loaded with essential nutrients, but they also have the ultimate advantage of being low on calories. They are a great alternative to sugar-filled processed snacks and will keep you satiated for a couple of hours, while their high content in natural sugar will satisfy your sweet cravings.
3. Fights Against Diabetes
The antioxidants present in dried fruits can drastically improve the body’s insulin response, helping to prevent diabetes. But can a diabetic person still enjoy the benefits of dried fruits?
According to the International Journal of Medical Research & Health Sciences 2017, the answer is yes. They are considered very nutritious when it comes to diabetes. Despite their high sugar content, a diabetic person can incorporate small portions of dried fruits to their daily diet, and benefit from all their goodness. However, the daily amount differs depending on the type of fruit. We highly recommend speaking to your general practitioner or to a nutritionist who will guide you to making the right choices if you are in this situation.
4. Supports Mental Health
As stated above, regularly eating dried fruits boosts your metabolism and keeps you fit, but it actually goes beyond it. A great amount of these nutrients, such as vitamin C, antioxidants, omega-3s, potassium and copper, will protect your brain cells from damage. They’ll also act as mood enhancers, helping you fight against anxiety and depression, and overall, feel more relaxed. A healthy mind in a healthy body!
5. Improves Your Digestive Health
Dried fruits are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers that promote digestive health. Soluble fibers also serve as prebiotics, feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Dried raisins and dried figs are ideal to regulate your bowel movement and keep you regular. A good digestion turneth all to health!
There are many benefits of eating dried fruits on a regular basis whether it is as a snack in between meals or as an addition to your homemade granola, trail-mix or as an addition to your favourite culinary recipe. So next time you feel snacky or have a sugar rush during the day, keep in mind to stay away from sugar filled processed foods and start snacking on naturally grown dried fruits!