Discover The Importance of Dried Fruits to Stay Healthy
Dried fruits are recognized as a good source of energy and for their many benefits. But when should it be consumed and in what quantity? In this article, I will tell you everything you need to know about dried fruits.
What are dried fruits?
Dried fruits are fresh fruits that have been dehydrated. Protected from air and humidity, dried fruits can be easily stored for about a year, sometimes up to 18 months. However, oilseeds are less well preserved because they tend to rancid.
Two great families of dried fruits stand out : naturally dried nuts such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios (among others) and dehydrated fruits, such as dates, dried bananas, dried figs, dried grapes or prunes. These two types of dried fruit have different nutritional values and benefits, but have a common contribution of vitamins and elements.
The benefits of dried fruits
Some dried fruits are rich in omega 3
One of the key factors in being healthy is eating a balanced diet. Often, it is advisable to promote a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol in favor of mono- and poly-unsaturated fats. This is to reduce the level of bad cholesterol. Among the good lipids, there are omega 3 that are part of the class of polyunsaturated fats.
The main component of oleaginous-type dried fruits is fat. Some oilseed seeds are grown for oil extraction purposes for cooking.
Among these plants, we can mention: rapeseed, sunflower, peanut, soya but also sesame, almond, walnut, peanut,… These fats are often fatty acids such as omega3 which are excellent for your health. Thus, the nut contains more omega3 than its oil which is too rich in omega6.
According to the category of unsaturated fatty acids contained in these oleaginous plants, it may be noted that almonds, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are good sources of monounsaturated fatty acids. Whereas cashews and pecan nuts provide more polyunsaturated fatty acids.
The dried fruits are perfect for a snack, to decorate your cooked dishes, your salads or at breakfast. But, the trouble with most of them is that they bring in too much omega 6 compared to omega 3.
This intake should therefore be balanced by the consumption of oily fish or an omega 3 supplement. However, learn that walnuts are one of the only nuts without this inconvenience because it has a balanced omega-6 / omega-3 ratio.
Dried fruits are high in fiber
Dietary fiber is carbohydrate but does not degrade during digestion. They have important functional roles in metabolism. Indeed, fibers promote the evacuation of waste and bacterial bodies. In addition, they contribute to the regulation of the intestinal transit and the modification of the intestinal flora. They also participate in carbohydrate absorption.
During the dehydration process, fresh fruits lose their water content but not their fiber content. This is how dry fruits are part of foods rich in dietary fiber. This high concentration gives it an important function in the elimination of bile acids and cholesterol.
According to research on the optimal daily nutritional value to acquire good health or at least keep it, women should consume at least 25g of fiber per day while men would take more than 38g daily.
Fiber content of dried fruits:
For 100g of dried fruits, one counts on average 5 to 14g of fibers.
Here are some references:
|Dried fruits (100g)||Fiber intake|
Thus, dried apples are rich in fiber. They also have the advantage of being low calorie just like fresh apples.
Dried fruits are rich in mineral salts
Dried fruits especially nuts are caloric and are rich in minerals. Imagine that dried fruits contain quantities of minerals, such as calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus.
Their mineral content is 3 to 5 times higher than in fresh fruit that they are recommended by nutritionists and dieticians. As an example, note that almonds contain far more assimilable calcium than dairy products!
But in addition, it seems that the calcium of these fruits is better attached to bones and teeth. However, vitamin C, which is both photosensitive, water-soluble and heat-sensitive, is too “fragile” that it is almost absent in dried fruits.
Do you know that dried apricots are rich in vitamin A , contain fiber, iron , magnesium , potassium , sodium and vitamin B3?
Also note that dried figs are calcium mines. Thus, they can participate in your calcium intake if you are a victim of dairy intolerance. The dried fig also contains magnesium and potassium as well as iron and fibers. That the famous Goji berry is full of proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Also, for a good healthy snack, choose a composition of dried fruits, high energy, half nuts, rich in good fats, omega 3 and unsaturated fatty acids.
A good source of energy before physical activity
Note that certain types of sport can upset nutritional needs. And this upheaval is visible according to whether he is an occasional sportsman or a professional sportsman.
To get an idea of the average calorie expenditure, note that a game of tennis makes you spend 150 to 400 calories per hour, and a 70kg hiker spends 400 to 450 calories per hour. Carbohydrates are instant energy suppliers or glycogen which is the carbohydrate reserve form.
When the glycogen is exhausted, the athlete feels intense pain in the muscles that worked a lot, for example as in the quadriceps for marathoners.
Scientific studies have shown that athletes have a better performance after a meal than on an empty stomach. However, this does not mean at the time of digestion!
It is best to have lunch two to three hours before physical activity to fill up on carbohydrates, which is the main requirement for muscle exercise. We would then prefer the mix of dried fruits to cover the carbohydrate needs of the body. According to the Coaching Association of Canada, pre-exercise meals or snacks should, among other things, be rich in carbohydrates to keep blood glucose levels low.
Dried fruits are real stacks of energy that can help athletes before their physical activities. Indeed, half an hour to one hour before physical exercises/sports, the athlete should consume a high carbohydrate glycemic index, mineral salts and vitamins.
It would be like a ration waiting to eat in small amounts. Dried fruits are the ideal form for this. Similarly, this type of intake is also essential after a physical exercise/sport for the resynthesis of muscle glycogen. This is why a sportsman spontaneously eats more after intense training or competition.
In dried fruits, you will find a significant amount of arginine. However, arginine is an amino acid known as a precursor of nitric oxide or NO for nitric oxide. It is, in fact, one of the main components of NO booster products.
Well known in the sports world and those who regularly practice physical activity, nitric oxide promotes the transit of oxygen and nutrients through the blood to the muscles through its vasodilator action. In addition, the NO would increase the speed of muscle recovery at rest, it could also speed up the repair of an injured tendon.
Moreover, it is known that the joints are often solicited in physical activities and can undergo microtrauma; and as recent studies have shown that dried fruits could prevent arthritis and other inflammatory diseases; Also it is recommended to those who practice one or more physical activities to consume dried fruits. It would therefore be part of the food to fight against joint pain.
Not to mention that being rich in magnesium and potassium, dry fruits are the friend of the athletes because they has a clear need for energy to regulate their heart rate and for the proper functioning of muscle contractions during and after physical exercises/sports.
Eating dried fruits: in practice
Attention dry fruits are caloric
This carbohydrate concentrate contains 200 to 300kcal per 100g on average. In this regard, the most popular are raisins which contain 320kcal per 100g, followed by dates that are 300kcal. As small amount is enough to boost the athlete, dried fruits are recommended for individuals engaging in physical exercises and sports such as tennis, hiking, biking, cross-country skiing…
However, we want to draw the attention of diabetics and those who suffer from dyslipidemias that dried fruits are certainly concentrates of trace elements, but they are also condensed sugars and calories, so consume with moderation!
Thus, too much consumption of dried fruits can be harmful. Because, these fruits are really caloric! As you can see, 100g of dried apricot has a nutritional value of 200 kcal, 39g of carbohydrates (39% of the total weight of the fruit!); or for 100g of pecan, one finds 693 kcal, 13g of carbohydrates and 66.7% of lipids. As for dried coconut, 100g contains 630kcal, 16g of carbohydrates and 60% of lipids.
Watch out for dried fruits that are salty
An important source of vitamins and minerals, dried fruits are your allies for staying healthy on a daily basis. However, with the trend that olives oil are sold as an aperitif to accompany soft or alcoholic drinks, these benefits may be lost if a diet is too rich in sodium.
Recent studies organized by ASSA (the French Association for Food Safety) and Inserm has reported that a diet that is too rich in sodium is one of the risk factors for arterial hypertension and cardiovascular disease. In addition, an excess of salt would also promote stomach cancer and the risk of osteoporosis.
It is recognized that a high level of salt in the blood increases the elimination of calcium in the urine, which ultimately would result in a reduction in bone density or even osteoporosis.
Each dry fruit has specific benefits and the list is long. For example, with their boron content, raisins help fight osteoporosis; while dried apricots help to fight against hypertension thanks to the large amount of potassium.
But to maximize these benefits, it is recommended to consume organic dry fruits not treated with chemical fertilizers. In organic dried fruits, we do not eat sulphite which could alter the original taste. It is possible that these organic dried fruits are smaller, but they would be more concentrated and richer in antioxidants.