This post was originally written during my 2 1/2 year tenure as a blogger for Health Goes Strong. The site was deactivated on July 1, 2013, so the post has been reproduced here.
QUICK Q/A ON DRIED FRUIT SHOWS HOW EASY IT IS TO GET RECOMMENDED SERVINGS OF FRUIT ALL YEAR ROUND
Dried fruit is a nutritious, delicious and affordable way to meet the dietary guideline to consume 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit each day. It can also help expand the variety in the diet when fresh fruit is not available. And it may even provide more nutritional benefits than the fresh fruit in your market if that has traveled from other continents to provide varieties that are not in season anywhere close to your home.
To explain why dried fruit may be a good option to meeting your daily fruit requirement this winter here’s aQuick Q/A on Dried Fruit:
What happens when fruit is dried?
Drying, or dehydrating, involves removing 82%-97% of the water, depending on the type of fruit.
How is it done?
Dehydrating can be done naturally by the sun or by using dehydrators. It takes about 3 days in 100° F temperatures to dry fruit in the sun or 10-20 hours at 120-140° F in an electric dehydrator.
Is anything added to dried fruit?
Sulfur dioxide may be added to block browning reactions that darken the color of the fruit. Check the food label if you are allergic to this safe preservative.
Sugar is added to some fruits before or after drying to sweeten them, such as cranberries, blueberries, cherries, mangoes and strawberries. Again, check the label.
Is dried fruit higher in calories?
Calories are not affected by drying a piece of fruit, but the calories are higher in an equal volume of dried fruit compared to fresh. A grape has 4 calories whether eaten fresh or as a raisin, however about 32 seedless grapes fit into a cup while 120 raisins can fit into that same cup.
Is dried fruit as nutritious as fresh?
- Some heat-sensitive vitamins, such as Vitamin C, can be affected by the high temperatures used to dry fruit. Those losses are no more significant than what can occur when fresh fruit is harvested early to be transported long distances and stored for extended periods of time before consumption.
- Dried fruits are an important source of antioxidants and other naturally occurring phytonutrients, such as flavanols and anthocyanins, which have many health benefits.
- Fiber content of fruit is not affected by dehydrating.
- Like fresh fruit, dried fruit contains no cholesterol and practically no fat and has very low sodiumcontent.
Why is dried fruit so sweet?
- The sweeter taste of dried fruit is due to the concentration of the natural sugars in it once the moisture has been removed.
- Fruit that is going to be dried is allowed to fully ripen before it’s harvested, which enhances the naturalsweetness.
Can people with diabetes eat dried fruit?
Any form of fruit can be used by people with diabetes, whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried or as juice. It’s the serving size and number of servings in your meal plan that matters.
What advantages are there to including dried fruits in my diet?
- Dried fruits have a long shelf life since drying inhibits bacterial growth.
- Long shelf life makes dried fruit price-stable and available year round.
- It’s easy to use dried fruit since they don’t require peeling, seeding or other preparation.
- Dried fruit is convenient to take with you when traveling away from home.