Health Benefits of Common Dried Fruits
Dried fruits are a perfect snack. Do you remember raisins, your childhood candies? A quarter of a cup of dried fruits is more nutritious that a big bowl of potato cheeps. But how much is too much? And what is recommended its daily intake? So, let’s start.
Your Daily Fruit Requirement
It is usually recommended for an average adult to have two cups of fruit per day to maintain good health. We are talking about fresh fruit. But dried fruits are significantly higher in calories and nutrients, smaller servings of them count toward more of your daily intake: a 1/2 cup serving of dried fruit counts as 1 cup of fresh fruit. If you are on a 2,000-calorie diet, you can consume 2 cups of fresh fruit or the equivalent in canned, frozen or dried fruit to fulfill your daily recommendations.
And now, just a short overview of science-based health benefits of 12 commonly used nuts and seeds for your references:
Science-based health benefits of common dried fruits for your references
One ounce (28g) of dried apricots is about 1/4 cup, or 8 halves of the dried fruit. It supplies 67 calories, 17g of total carbohydrates, 1g of protein and trace fat.
- Sugar: One ounce of dried apricots has 15g of sugar that provide 90% of the calories
- Potassium: Dried apricots are rich in potassium (1162mg/100g – 33%DV) – almost 4 times more than bananas! A low sodium content makes them a good choice for those with high blood pressure.
- Provitamin A: Dried apricots are a good source of provitamin A, beta-carotene – 72% DV.
- Iron: They are rich in iron which is a core component of hemoglobin that delivers oxygen to every cell in the body. It is the nutrient that keeps us energized.
A low glycemic index makes dried apricots health-beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
One date of average size has only 20 calories. Dates contain a high percentage of carbohydrates – from 44% to 88% of sugars, and from 6% to 12% of dietary fiber, very little fat, and 2-6% of protein.
- There are at least 15 minerals in dates including potassium, boron, calcium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, sodium, and zinc.
- Sugar: A 50-gram serving of dates contains 37 grams of carbohydrates, making them a powerhouse of energy that mainly comes from naturally occurring sugars such as fructose, glucose, and sucrose, and is readily used by the body.
- Dietary fiber: One serving of 5-10 dates can provide you with 15% of your dietary fiber daily intake.
- B-vitamins: Dates contain a variety of B-group vitamins – thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, and pantothenic acid that are responsible for brain function, carbohydrates, and fatty acids metabolism, hemoglobin and red blood cells production, fetal development, and more.
- Selenium: Dates are one of the best plant sources of selenium, which is responsible for normal functioning of your thyroid gland, thyroid hormones production, reduce the risk of certain cancers, boosts testosterone levels in men, improves sperm production and motility, and increases l
Prunes supply the body with numerous essential nutrients which are involved in many interrelated biochemical and physiological processes. Together these compounds help regulate glucose metabolism, promote cardiovascular health, improve bone health, protect against cancer, and contribute to digestion.
100g of prunes is about 10 dried plums. A serving of 5 prunes provides:
- 120 calories that mainly come from carbohydrates including 3.5g of dietary fiber (which our body cannot digest meaning that you may not consider it as actual “carbs”) and 13g of sugars (about 5g of glucose and 8g of fructose). It makes dried plums a great energy booster.
- 1g of protein, no fat, no cholesterol, and no sodium
- 15g of sorbitol (sugar alcohol) that works as a laxative by drawing water into the large intestine, stimulating bowel movements
- 30% DV of vitamin K that improves bone health by regulating calcium balance and promoting normal bone mineralization
- moderate amounts of vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6 and dietary minerals
- 92mg of health-beneficial phytochemicals
- 1-2mg of boron, which may help to prevent osteoporosis and improve men’s health
- Sugars: Raisins can contain up to 80% sugars by weight: about 30% fructose and 28% glucose by weight. They are amazing source of energy for your brain.
- Boron: Among dried fruits and nuts, raisins have one of the highest concentrations of boron containing between 2 and 3 mg per 100 grams.
- Rich in potassium (21%DV) and very low in sodium, having health-beneficial potassium to sodium ratio.
- Men’s sex life: Raisins have long been known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal, primarily due to the presence of an amino acid arginine, which is beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction. Arginine also increases the levels of sperm motility. It is a common practice in India to make the bride and the groom drink a glass of milk each, boiled with raisins and a pinch of saffron on their wedding night.
- Super rich in lycopene: Sundried tomatoes are the richest source of lycopene that has extremely important health benefits. Sun drying increases the concentration of bioavailable lycopene: they contain up to 4 times more content of bioavailable lycopene compared to raw tomatoes. According to Dr. Edward Giovannucci, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, lycopene-rich tomatoes reduce the risk of prostate cancer by 21% to 43%. A number of studies suggested that erectile dysfunction could be cured with lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to help relax blood vessels and increase blood flow to the penis.
- Super rich in vitamin C – 102mg (169% DV) – as rich in vitamin C as oranges
- Excellent in vitamin A – 38% DV
- Great in vitamin B6 – 3mg (20% DV)
- Excellent in potassium – 1565mg (44% DV)
- Good in iron – 3mg (15% DV)
- Sodium – 266mg (11% DV)
- A 100-gram serving contains: calories – 213, total fat – 14g (21% DV), total carbohydrate – 23g, including 6g of dietary fiber (24% DV), and protein – 5g (10% DV)
Useful Tip: Eating sundried tomatoes with healthy fats increases the absorption rate of lycopene by as much as five to seven times because it is a fat-soluble thing.
Dried Goji Berries
- Mega-super rich in vitamin A – 536% DV – a powerful antioxidant, immunity booster, eye-health promoter, and anti-aging agent; goji berries are not rich in provitamin A, they are superrich – comparable with beef liver and more than chicken liver!
- Excellent in vitamin C – 48mg (81% DV) – a powerful antioxidant, immunity booster, and anti-aging agent
- Excellent in potassium – 1594mg (45%DV) – 4 times banana’s content!
- Excellent in iron – 7mg (38% DV) – goji berries are packed with iron which improves haemoglobin and red blood cells production
- Sodium – 298mg (13% DV)
- Betaine – liver and kidney health promoter; a compound used by the liver to produce choline that helps expel toxins and waste from the body.
- A 100-gram serving contains: calories – 349, total carbohydrate – 77g, including 46g of sugar and 13g of dietary fiber (52% DV), proteins – 14g (28% DV) that have all 9 essential amino acids
- Values and percentages are approximate based on the USDA Nutrient Database
- Percent Daily Value (%DV) is a guide to the nutrients in one serving of food. For example, 40% for protein means that one serving provides 40% of the protein you need each day. It helps you make informed food choices. DVs are based on a 2,000-calorie diet for healthy adults.