Don’t get me wrong, fruit is a healthy regular addition to most eating patterns. Just about every typeof fruit out there can have positive impact on health by adding important key nutrients – vitamins, minerals, appetite-suppressing fiber, and many underestimated plant chemicals. But, should you draw the line at dried fruit?
Let’s look closer at any pro’s and con’s, then work them into some guidelines that can help steer you right!
Dried Fruit: The Pro’s
- Dried fruit is more shelf-stable than fresh fruit so you have more time to use it before it goes bad.
- Because the water is mostly removed, the nutrition in it is concentrated – you get more with less.
- Fiber amounts are also higher in dried fruit compared with the same weight of fresh.
- Portability – dried fruit is easier to take on-the-go
- Some have certain sugars that are helpful in constipation relief….. shout out to prunes!
- Although the sugar is more concentrated in dried fruit, some (like dates and raisins) cause only a small to moderate jump in blood sugar.
Dried fruit: The Con’s
- It is higher in calories and sugar than fresh- a serving of raisins has nearly twice as many calories as a serving of grapes.
- Because the sugar is more concentrated and dried fruit is sticky, it can contribute to tooth decay
- Dried fruit may be treated with sulfites.
- Some folks are sulfite sensitive and this can trigger a reaction.
- If dried fruit isn’t stored properly it can develop fungi and toxic compounds
Enjoy dried fruit but be cautious
There is no perfect food, and dried fruit is no exception. Follow these guidelines to get the benefits of rich polyphenols and nutrition while avoiding falling into any “pits” with dried fruit!
- Most of us should limit dried fruit to 1 serving pre day and get the rest of our fruit from fresh or frozen varieties.
- Avoid dried fruit with added sweeteners (including juices)
- It’s a good idea to brush or rinse your mouth with water after eating dried fruit
- Use dried fruit as part of a meal or snack, not the main attraction
- Step outside your box of raisins and try a variety of dried fruit. They all have much to offer!