The truth about Dried Fruit

I'm sure like me you have heard the same tale told about eating dried fruit. Dried fruit are full of sugar and should be avoided in a healthy diet. Which is true in one sense, as they are dried the natural sugar count in the fruit becomes more concentrated, so we do need to keep this in mind.

However here's the thing, my predecessors come from apart of the world, where dried fruit is the norm in the diet, and I've grown up with dried fruit, apricots, dates, figs and prunes, on the platters offered to our guests.

The truth is there are records from Persia, and Arab cultures showing people have been eating dried apricots for over 1000 years. In North America dried cherries and cranberries have been used to sustain people on long treks since the 19th century.

We as a collective have used dried fruit in our bread and trail mixes since time memorial.

So are dried fruit truly unhealthy or like much else, are perfectly healthy when eaten in moderation like much else we are told?

Here is the truth, dried fruit are a healthy option, the trick is as they are dried and just as the natural sugars founds in the various fruits are concentrated, so to are the health benefits associated with the various fruit. 

As the fruit are more concentrated in their dried forms, it just means we need to eat less of it in its dried form, for example 30 grams of dried apricots equals to 3 or 4 fresh apricots.

Here are some health benefits for eating dried fruit.

One cup of mixed dried fruit contains approximately:

  • 480 calories
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 0 grams of fat
  • 112 grams of carbohydrates
  • 8 grams of fibre 
  • 92 grams of sugar

The most common micro-nutrients found include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Potassium

The health Benefits include:

Due to the Vitamins C and A dried fruit can help with eye health, especially with the prevention of cataracts and other age related macular degeneration. Raisins are high in Vitamin C and Prunes in Vitamin A.

The Calcium count in dried fruit helps to fight against Osteoporosis, especially dried kiwi  

 A diet rich in iron has been shown to be vital for a healthy pregnancy, one cup of dried apricots offers 3.5mg of iron.

Dried Apricots can help to boost skin health, this is linked to the Vitamin C and E naturally found in apricots, with Vitamin C protecting against UV damage, and prevent wrinkles, and the beta carotene may protect against sunburn.

I have grown up with dried apricots, prunes, dates and figs in the cupboard, and they typically came out in winter when the cooler months don't provide as much of a variety, and nowadays, we also have dried strawberries and blueberries, plums and more, as I have always grown up with them, I always to this day have them on hand, and come the cooler months, can be found in my muffins, oats or oat slices to give a bit more variety to the winter offerings.

With this research in, I'll continue to use them knowing my ancestors clearly knew a lot more about the health benefits of dried fruit.