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Information about dried fruit is very conflicting.Â Some say it is a nutritious, healthy snack, while others claim it is no better than candy.
This is a detailed article about dried fruit and how it can affect your health.
What is Dried Fruit?
Dried fruit has had almost all of the water content removed through drying methods.
The fruit shrinks during this process, leaving a small, energy-dense dried fruit.
Raisins are the most common type, followed by dates, prunes, figs and apricots.
Other varieties of dried fruit are also available, sometimes in candied form (sugar coated). These include mangoes, pineapples, cranberries, bananas and apples.
Dried fruit can be preserved for much longer than fresh fruit and can be a handy snack, particularly on long trips where refrigeration is not available.
Bottom line: Dried fruit has had most of the water content removed. The most common varieties are raisins, dates, prunes, figs and apricots.
Dried Fruit is Loaded With Micronutrients, Fiber and Antioxidants
Dried fruit is highly nutritious.
One piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit, but condensed in a much smaller package.
By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fiber, vitamins and minerals of fresh fruit.
Therefore, one serving can provide a large percentage of the daily recommended intake of many vitamins and minerals, such as folate (1).
However, there are some exceptions. For example, the vitamin C content is significantly reduced when the fruit is dried (2).
Dried fruit generally contains a lot of fiber and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols (3).
Polyphenol antioxidants are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of many diseases (4).
Bottom line: Dried fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also high in phenolic antioxidants, which have numerous health benefits.
Health Effects of Dried Fruit
Several studies have shown that people who eat dried fruit tend to weigh less and ingest more nutrients, compared to individuals not eating dried fruit (5, 6, 7).
However, these studies were observational in nature, so they can not prove that the dried fruit caused the improvements.
Dried fruit is also a good source of many plant compounds, including powerfulÂ antioxidants (8, 9, 10, 11).
Bottom line: Eating dried fruit has been linked to an increased intake of nutrients and a reduced risk of obesity.
Raisins May Reduce the Risk of Certain Diseases
Raisins are dried grapes.
They are packed with fiber, potassium and various health-promoting plant compounds.