Dried fruit is an easy snack to pack because it is so small and can be stored anywhere. However, many people think you should not eat dried fruit because it is bad for you. While dried fruit can be unhealthy if you indulge too much, that does not mean that you should never eat any. Dried fruit can be used as a healthy snack when used in moderation. Let’s take a closer look at what dried fruit is and whether or not you should be eating it.
What is Dried Fruit?
Dried fruit is made by removing water from fruit. This practice has been used for hundreds of years to preserve food so it would not go bad. Our ancestors had no choice but to dry fruits (and vegetables) so they could use what they harvested throughout the year. When you remove the water from a fruit, you also make it much smaller and more potent. This means that when you eat a serving of dried fruit you get lots of health benefits but in a much smaller package.
You can dry just about any fruit, but you are probably most familiar with dates, prunes, raisins, and figs. These pantry staples are a good source of nutrition and make great healthy snacks on the go.
High in Fiber
Dried fruit is very high in fiber. In fact, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times more fiber than a piece of whole fruit. So, you only need a small amount to help regulate bowel movements and keep you full. Fiber is also helpful in fighting heart disease.
High in Polyphenols
Dried fruit is a good source of polyphenols. Polyphenols are a plant-based antioxidant that helps fight many diseases including heart disease and cancer. Phenols can also improve digestive health and reduce oxidative stress. High rates of phenols can also decrease your risk of developing diabetes. This brings us to our next point.
High in Sugar
Here is where dried fruit gets tricky. Dried fruit is a great source of natural sugars. You should always avoid any dried fruits that have added sugar in them. Dried fruit has plenty on its own! Your body needs sugar to survive, but only a small amount. Dried fruit is an excellent source for this and will give you the energy you need to get through a road trip or physical activity.
A Word of Warning
Since dried fruit has health benefits but is also high in sugar and calories, you must be careful with how much you consume. It is very easy to overeat dried fruit because it is so much smaller than regular fruit. After all, you usually only eat one apple at a time, but you can easily eat the equivalent of three apples when you eat dried apple rings. So, make sure you measure how much dried fruit you want before you start eating.
Dried fruit makes a great snack in moderation. It is full of fiber and antioxidants and gives you a natural sugar boost, which is much better than eating candy or chocolate bars. Dried fruit also stays good for a very long time, so it is a great snack to keep with you so you are prepared when you get hungry. Just make sure you are eating the best kind – with no sugar added.