Dried fruits are mostly fruits from which a significant portion of the original water content has been removed. This removal process can be of several kinds. The water could have been eliminated naturally or through dehydrators.
Using dehydrators is an artificial form of discarding water content from fruits to turn them into the dried variety. An alternative to dry fruits is by spreading them out in the open and letting them bake under the sun.
Dried fruits are one of the most common food items to be sold all around the world and are generally sweet or sweetish-salty in taste, have a high nutritional value, and come with a long shelf life. The origin of dried fruits dates back to the fourth millennium BC. They are believed to have been first discovered by the people of Mesopotamia.
Dry fruits hold extraordinary nutritional content, which is why they are a part of many people’s weight-loss diets. They help boost metabolism, which is an essential requirement to help you healthily reduce weight. So when it comes to trying to eat healthily and preventing any weight gain during the holiday season, dried fruits are the way to go! Moreover, due to their excellent taste and versatility to be used in numerous recipes, there are various fun ways of consuming them.
During the dehydration process (both natural and artificial), the fruit dries up and shrinks, causing the resultant dried fruit to be generally smaller in size than the original and also bear an incredibly dense energy core. The most common dried fruits are dates, prunes, apricots, walnuts, almonds, cranberries, pineapples, mangoes, bananas, and apples.
Read on to learn how dried fruits can help you lose weight, or at least maintain the current scale you clock at, and how to store them for a longer shelf life.
Health Benefits of Dried Fruits
- Dried fruits are high in zinc, selenium, and magnesium, which makes them a great food item to increase your metabolic health.
- They have loads of good fat that, when consumed in moderation, gives you the feeling of fullness for a long time, thus reducing the tendency to snack.
- Dried fruits usually have a low glycemic index because of which your blood sugar remains in control, given that you do not eat other sugary items.
- The level of antioxidants is spectacular in dried fruits, making them a good source for reducing the signs of aging.
- They have adequate levels of fiber, potassium, and magnesium, which help you regulate your weight.
- Their impressive nutritional value also makes them a healthy snack for your heart, thus helping it stay stronger.
- Dried fruits regularly clean out your gut and eliminate toxins and waste that promote better gut health and enhance metabolism.
Best Dried Fruits to Consume to Prevent Weight Gain
Prunes are dried plums and boast an impressive fiber content. When you consume a high amount of fiber (in moderation and control), it gives a kick to your metabolism, thus putting it on the right track.
The high fiber content helps you get rid of toxins and other non-nutritional material from your system, thus cleaning out your gut. They also benefit by giving you a feeling of fullness for an extended period.
One hundred grams of prunes can deliver about 240 kcal of energy, making them a powerhouse of strength. Having a handful of prunes mixed with other dried fruits is enough not to bring in a sensation of hunger for about five to six hours.
When you do not perceive the need to eat every one or two hours, you feed on less junk food with low nutritional value, thereby helping you prevent weight gain.
Raisins are by far the most widely sold dried fruits all over the globe. Raisins are essentially dried grapes that can be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking, and even brewing. There are a host of desserts in which raisins are added as delicacies.
They can also be used as toppings in yogurts and smoothies to supplement the nutritional value and turn them into a snack that steals your hunger for several hours. Raisins are rich in neurotransmitters called GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) that further prevent weight gain by stabilizing your appetite and slowing down the digestion of food. This allows you to feel full for prolonged durations, thus preventing you from binging. They also have low salt content and high iodine levels and can deliver about 299 kcal for every 100 grams.
Dried apricots are made by drying the apricot fruit. They are highly abundant in potassium, magnesium, and calcium and feature exceedingly low quantities of fat. They are also high in Vitamin A and iron and can regulate fat metabolism whilst enabling you to lose weight, given that you do not munch on other junk items and practice a balanced diet regularly.
A handful of dried apricots can keep you full for about five to six hours, making sure that you do not end up snacking and piling on extra calories. Dried apricots can be eaten in a number of ways. The best way is to have them dry as a snack. Just grab a handful mixed with a few other dried fruits and you’re good to go. You can also add them to your yogurt and smoothies to create a more filling meal and pile on the nutrition. They can even be had with milk.
A famous middle eastern food item, dates are a powerhouse of energy and nutrition. What’s great is that they can be had in a number of ways and through numerous recipes.
Dates bear a massive amount of Vitamin B6 in them, along with iron, which makes them a great bite for you to have in between meals. This way, you avoid the temptation to hog on unhealthy products that are harmful to your body and also prompt you to put on weight.
Dates are quite rich in fiber, because of which your gut health soars, and you feel healthier and cleaner. Toxins are removed effectively from your body, and they also help you feel full for several hours. In addition to counteracting weight gain, dates allow you to enjoy a good and healthy heart since they are high in potassium. They can also be used in baking recipes.
Figs are incredibly low in fat and have a high glycemic index. One fig can provide anywhere between 5 to 12 grams of carbohydrates. Moreover, they also boast excellent fiber content, thus allowing you to maintain your bodily metabolic levels. They even encourage your stomach to sense fullness for a couple of hours.
Figs are rich in a number of micronutrients. These include potassium, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin C, flavonoids, and alkaloids. Other than preventing weight gain, they also give you relief from constipation, maintain your blood pressure, and keep diabetes at bay.
Figs can be eaten in several ways, such as raw, grilled, roasted, or even dried. Sometimes, eating too many figs can cause a burning sensation, so it’s advisable that you have them in moderation.
Often overlooked as a dried fruit, dried peaches are incredibly healthy and nutritious. One hundred sixty grams of dried peaches consist of 53% of fiber. This makes it quite filling between meals and snack breaks since you do not feel the temptation to grab some junk if you’ve had a few dried peaches.
They are also loaded with several vitamins, containing about 20% vitamin A, 9% vitamin B6, 13% vitamin C, and 21% vitamin K, along with 82% iron and 20% magnesium. So dried peaches really do pack a whole lot of energy and nutrition in them.
They can be a little difficult to get by, so if you’re unable to find them in your local grocery store, ask staff members to bring in a few packages for you. They improve bowel movements and do not make you hungry every few hours. The key with dried peaches is also to consume them in moderation so that you do not agitate your gut.
What are the different ways in which dried fruits can be consumed?
While the majority of people prefer having their dried fruits whole and dry as a quick snack, there are diverse styles of consuming them. All dried fruits can be cut into minuscule pieces and added to milk as a beverage.
You may utilize any kind of milk for this purpose – regular milk, almond milk, soy milk, and more. Remember that the drink tastes best when you throw these chopped, dried fruits into the milk when boiling it. If you are trying to watch your weight, almond milk is the best way to go since it possesses negligible fat content.
You can also prepare protein bars at home using dried fruits. Try to dodge protein bars bought from the market since they contain a significant percentage of artificially added sugar. Bear in mind that protein bars can be made at home by following effortless recipes that you can find on the internet.
You may consume dried fruits by putting them in your smoothies. You need not add any artificial sweeteners since dried fruits lend a healthy and sweet kick to them. You can pair them up with any kind of milk (as mentioned above) and add numerous fruits as well. The best ones to go with are bananas, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, mangoes, and tropical fruits such as kiwis.
Smoothie bowls can be prepared in the same way. You can even utilize dried fruits as a garnish or topping in your yogurt. The probiotic value of the yogurt, when combined with the goodness of dried fruits, packs a mighty and fresh snack. Another way to have dried fruits is by slicing them into small pieces and smearing your chicken or fish with them.
With Dried Fruits, Moderation is the Key
This point cannot be stressed enough. Dried fruits are incredibly healthy and tasty. Because of this, people tend to eat more of them than they should.
When consumed in unusual quantities, dried fruits can upset your gut and also raise blood sugar. Eventually, they will end up doing more harm than good. But to be fair, this holds true with almost every food item in the world, even the healthiest ones.
Thus, it is vital to munch on just a handful of dried fruits in a day and have them in moderation. You may enjoy them whichever way you like and in any recipe that you find appealing, but keeping a check on how much you consume is the crucial point here. As a recommended measure, the best way is to prepare a mix of your favorite dried fruits and try about a handful (literally) of them in a single day.
How do you store dried fruits for a longer shelf life?
Dried fruits, if left out in the open for an extended interval, undergo oxidation and can turn out astonishingly stale and loose. For this reason, it is important that you store them correctly so that they do not go bad in a limited span.
Dried fruits usually come in vacuum-sealed packages that, when opened, cannot be closed shut again. The most desirable place to stock dried fruits once freed is in airtight containers. Make sure that the vessels are completely dry before you put any dried fruits in them. Screw the lid tightly and keep them in a sterile place.
You do not need to refrigerate dried fruits. As long as they’re housed in a dry place within sealed receptacles, they are good to go. This helps conceal the freshness of these wholesome delicacies and also increases their shelf life.