Can Dried Fruit Actually Be Healthy?
This is the sweet question on everyone’s lips. If you are a follower of the “I Quit Sugar” team, then you may have heard the "no dried fruit can sit with us" line being thrown around. And they make a good point. Dried fruit is really high in fruit sugars, known as fructose, which can only be metabolized at a certain rate. Otherwise, it is stored as fat.
However, when it comes to the fructose debate, we thought we would look a little further in order to give you a more comprehensive discussion on how to "let dried fruit sit with you".
Dried fruit is any particular fresh fruit that has had the water removed either naturally, through sun drying, or by using a dehydrator. This concentrates the sugar content, giving dried fruit its trademark sweet flavor.
As healthy and nutritious as a piece of fruit is, once dried, it becomes more energy dense. It is also very easy to eat dried fruit in large amounts - resulting in excess sugar and calorie intake.
How many pieces of whole fruit would you normally eat? Now think of its dried version. Taking apricots as an example, a cup of fresh apricots will become approximately 1/4 cup, once dried. The sweet flavors make it very hard to stop at one or two pieces. However, don't be scared off by dried fruit. If you are not trying to lose weight or are looking for a healthy option to sugar, look no further.
Dried fruit is very rich in nutrition and is also full of fiber. This means the sugars are not absorbed as fast as refined sugars, making dried fruit a great substitute in clean cooking recipes. We can’t forget that our super foods such as goji berries, inca berries and wild blueberries are all coming to us in the dried-fruit form.
Now let’s look at dates. Yes, they are high in fructose, but they are not solely fructose sugars. They are also not refined fructose like you find in sodas, high-fructose corn syrup and elsewhere.
We understand the liver can only metabolize so much fructose at a time, and the rest will then be stored as fat. However making smart portion sizes with your dried fruit is all you need to be considering.
Dried fruit is the perfect snack for the kiddies. The key is to not give them a whole cup full at a time. Instead, portion dried fruit in a sensible size, mixing them with some nuts and seeds to also give some protein and fats. This will help prevent the liver from being overloaded with too much fructose. You might even find that if you mix them up, they won't even eat the whole serving.
Let us look at some of the nutrition found in our favorite dried fruits.
Dates - a rich source of dietary fiber, helping to reduce LDL cholesterols. Dates are also a good source of iron, manganese and vitamin B6.
Figs - rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and manganese.
Apricots - contains almost half your daily intake of vitamin A and is a rich source of iron. Always opt for brown or black organic apricots, as the orange color is due to a sulphate-based preservatives.
Prunes - contain B vitamins and are a well-known home remedy for stimulating the bowels. Prunes are also a good source of iron.
Sultanas - a good source of potassium and manganese, they are the perfect snack.
Mangoes - contain a powerful punch of vitamin A and C, both important for immunity.
Eaten with awareness, and not thrown down like a bag of potato chips, dried fruits are a nutritious, healthy, sweet snack-on-the-go. They can also provide a great replacement for refined sugars in homemade desserts recipes.