You constantly hear about how important it is to eat fruit. One should have four or five pieces every day, as if they were pills for improving your health. Green, red and yellow, how well fruit is loved. Fruit right and left. Fruit and more fruit! OK, but what about dried fruit? Raisins, dried apricots, figs, prunes… are they beneficial or harmful because they are dehydrated? Below you’ll find the scoop, but in bits and pieces, as Jack the Ripper would say.
Since they have little water, they concentrate more nutrients: minerals ideal for children and the elderly including calcium (dried figs and raisins are loaded with it), potassium and iron (dried apricots and figs) and also provitamin A and vitamins B1 (thiamine), B3 (niacin) and E. A handful a day will give you the corresponding amount.
If you are on a diet, the satiating effect of dried fruit is on your side: you don’t have to eat very much to feel full. A scientific study showed that eating prunes before a meal makes you eat less.
But watch out: dried fruit can also be a good way to gain weight. What a contradiction, right? So how should you eat them? Add them to a recipe—a puree for example—to add calories and nutrients without increasing the dish’s volume.
They have a high amount of soluble fiber. They are therefore laxatives and allow sugar to be released into the blood little by little. To give you an idea, for every 100 grams of raisins, 5 are fiber, and in the case of prunes 18 grams are fiber. As the song goes, you’ll be light as the breeze, oh, oh, oh…
You’ll love them if you have a healthy sweet tooth since their sugars are natural, making them better for you than any gummy candy with added sugar. For example, if you make a puree of dates or raisins, you’ll get the moisture, flavor and color you like without having to add sweeteners, which add too many calories and few nutrients.
They are a source of antioxidants. In fact, a scientific study has confirmed that dried figs and prunes have phenolic compounds that are very beneficial for your health. That is, they help you live longer and better.
They are prized by athletes, as they help them to recover after intense exercise; and those with hypertension always have them on hand for their low sodium content. Who said stiff muscles?
Sold in small pieces as snacks, it’s easy to sink your teeth into them any time of day anywhere. You can even replace one of your daily pieces of fruit with a serving of dried fruit.
But you can also use them in almost any recipe thanks to their versatility. In stews (how about stewed chicken with raisins or rabbit with prunes and apricots?), in salads, in pasta dishes, in sauces for meat, in cakes… the truth is that there are many options.
Now that you know how healthy they are, how can you resist?