“Dried Fruit: Just as Healthy as Eating Fresh”

Misconception: “Dried fruit: Just as healthy as eating fresh.”  Fresh fruit will win the health battle over dried.  Dried fruit becomes corrupted with added salt, sugar, additives and preservatives.  However, there is a place for dried fruits in your world.  Below I count the ways…

The main differences among dried vs fresh

Dried Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Tampered with prior to consumption

No tampering

Loss of nutrients

No loss of nutrients

Added sugar, salt, additives and preservatives

No added sugar, salt, additives or preservatives

High in calories

Low in calories

No water content

High water content

Spoil more slowly

Spoil faster

How does drying fruit work?

Manufacturers (or cool people who own dehydrators) will first pick a fruit (any old fruit – literally) and wait for it to ripen.  Ripened fruits have more sugar, which make the soon-to-be-dried fruit extra sweet.  To protect the fruit from rotting or losing its flavor and color, sulfur dioxide will be a key ingredient as part of the drying process.  Sometimes sulfur dioxide will protect the nutrients but it can also speed up their degradation.  Before drying, the fruit will be steamed to kill off microbes.  To dry, the fruit is placed into an oven or a dehydrator for all of the water to seep out.  Dried fruit will sit for a day before being packaged and sent off.

Dried fruit’s health benefits…

  • Dried fruit is high in fiber!
  • Dried fruit has no saturated or trans-fat, which are found in other snacks
  • Dried fruits do have antioxidants, and other compounds that are found in fruit
  • Dried fruits do have lots of vitamins and minerals, albeit less depending upon the additives used and heat/light processes

When to eat dried fruit

  • PRE-WORKOUT: Dried fruit is an amazing pre-workout snack for added energy from carbs (no protein and no fat), which is great for the stomach pre-exercise.  Beware of prunes, apricots and dried apples as those tend to be higher in fiber.  Focus on raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries/blueberries.
  • BREAKFAST: Dried fruit can add loads of sweetness to your morning yogurt or oatmeal
  • LUNCH: Dried fruit is a great way to add sweetness to a salad
  • DINNER: Add dried fruit to a starchy side-dish, like cous cous or orzo

Protect those teeth

Since there is (a lot of) added sugar to an already sugary food, a gooey residue will inhabit your molars, until you (hopefully) brush your teeth at night.

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