Is dried fruit healthy? It is rich in nutrients and should be part of a diet plan based on the concept of healthy eating. Therefore, the answer is yes!
The food experts recommend the consumption of dried fruits and nuts throughout the year because, being rich in mineral salts, vitamins, fiber and unsaturated fats, has countless properties that make it an ideal food. However, what is the healthiest dried fruit?
Before getting into this question, it is essential to understand the distinctions between the two different categories: oily dried fruit and fleshy fruit.
Varieties and characteristics of dried fruits and nuts
Dried fruits and nuts can be divided in:
1) Nuts or oily dried fruits, rich in fat and low in sugar, such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts;
2) Fleshy fruit, or dehydrated fruit, high in sugar and low in fat, such as apricots, prunes, sultanas, dates.
Let us look at their characteristics.
As regarding oily dried fruit, they are high fat content (about 90%) which, however, are found in the form of unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (especially Omega-6 and Omega-3). They help to lower blood cholesterol levels and thus reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Regarding the fleshy fruits, it is characterized by the high content of sugars and fibres. It is also rich in minerals and vitamins.
In order to answer to the question “Is dried fruits and nuts healthy?”, let us discover its properties and benefits.
Dried fruits and nuts properties and benefits
Dried fruits and nuts offer numerous properties that are good for our body and for our health. Among the most important are the following:
- They help to reduce bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and increase good cholesterol levels (HDL), thanks to its high content of unsaturated fats, oleic fatty acids, linoleic and Omega 3 and Omega 6. These substances help balance cholesterol levels in the blood, carrying out a protective action on the cardiovascular system;
- Since dried fruits and nuts contain many antioxidant elements (such as vitamins C and E), they are ideal for fighting free radicals, substances responsible for the development of degenerative diseases and premature aging;
- Excellent for reducing stress, fatigue and premenstrual syndrome, thanks to its high folic acid content, very effective, in turn, to increase the defenses of our body;
- Dried fruits and nuts, finally, provides us with many fibers, a few saturated fats and many unsaturated, a large amount of vegetable proteins and many bioactive compounds such as flavonoids. Dried fruits also provides us with many minerals, including iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.
We have seen what the properties and benefits of dried fruits and nuts are, but what is the healthiest dried fruit?
Let us find out together.
Healthiest dried fruit and nuts
Here is a list of the five healthiest oily dried fruit for our health:
- Walnuts are defined as a super nourishing food because they contain many Omega 3 fatty acids, whose best-known properties are: improving cholesterol levels, avoiding weight gain, protecting the heart, reducing bone deterioration. For this reason they are one of the healthiest dried fruit.
- Almonds are the second healthiest dried fruit. By eating 23 almonds, we can cover our daily requirement of vitamin E. Almonds are also great for defending ourselves from free radicals, as well as helping us to absorb fat.
- Pistachios are very useful to calm that greedy hunger that catches us before dinner. This type of dried fruit contains many nutrients and benefits for our health and for our body. For example, pistachios help us to reduce the risk of suffering muscle deterioration, which is often the main cause of blindness in older people.
- Thanks to their high folic acid content, hazelnuts are considering one of the healthiest dried fruit. They are valuable allies in the prevention of cardiac and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. They are also very useful to make the blood more fluid and to relax the blood vessels, as well as to appease hunger.
- Even if peanuts belong to the leguminous family, most of us know them as dry fruit. They contain a lot of folic acid, which promotes brain development and protects it from cognitive impairment. They are particularly recommended during the cycle and for those who follow a vegetarian diet, as it contains folic acid, vitamin E and healthy fats.
When is it recommended to consume dried fruits or nuts?
Corning its consumption, dried fruit should be consumed in moderate quantities and away from meals. It should be avoided especially in the evening at the end of a meal, as it slows the digestion and provides an excess of calories. It is, instead, a cure-all for health at breakfast or as a snack between meals.
Non-oily fruit can be taken in the morning (as a snack) or in small quantities after training, to speed recovery through the re-synthesis of liver glycogen.
Oily fruit, on the other hand, is excellent for delaying the sense of hunger, adding it in small doses as a snack.
Contraindications: who should avoid its consumption
Experts advise against the consumption of dried fruit in the case of the presence of digestive system diseases, such as colitis, ulcerative recto colitis, gastritis, ulcer and Crohn’s disease.
In addition, the intake of fleshy fruit, given the high amount of sugar, is not recommended for diabetics or for those who follow a low-calorie diet or suffer from kidney problems.
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