“Dried fruit is fruit from which the majority of the original water content has been removed either naturally, through sun drying, or through the use of specialized dryers or dehydrators” (Wikipedia). While many of us know that raisins are grapes that have been died where most of the water content has been removed, there are other fruits such as apricots, peaches, apples, pears, prunes and dates are sold in many grocery and health food stores. We know there are many nutritional benefits in fresh fruit. However, does dried fruit contain any health benefits or are they just an over-rated snack?
While a fruit loses much of its water, after it dries, the nutrients of the fruit become concentrated. Therefore, to get the same amount of nutrients from a fresh piece of fruit, you eat less of the dried fruit.
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Imagine your frustration after you buy that bag of fresh peaches or apples. A few days after you buy these, and before you eat all of them, you will notice that they are starting to spoil. That is because of the high water content in these fruits. Since there is less water content in dried fruit, these do not spoil as quickly as fresh fruit. While you might spend more on dried fruit, you do not have to worry about spoilage and can keep them for a longer period of time.
Each manufacture of dried fruit uses a different process in dehydrating the fruit. Sometimes preservatives are used and sulfur dioxide is used to prevent spoilage and to maintain the fruit’s color. When sulfur dioxide is used, it is known to remove thiamine. Most manufacturers boil the fruit to remove microbial organisms. However, this process can remove a majority of the vitamin C the fruit contains. Other than that dried fruit and fresh fruit contain approximately the same amount of nutrients.
If you want to include two cups of fruit a day into your daily diet, you may want to consider dried fruit. You will need to eat less to get the same amount of nutrients as two cups of fresh fruit.
“Dried fruits as part of the daily diet provide essential nutrients and an array of health protective compounds making them valuable tools to both increase diet quality and help reduce the risk of chronic disease” (Wikipedia). A daily diet with both fresh and dried fruit is a healthy diet.