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Organic Dried Fruit: A Healthy Nutritious Snack
Posted by SoundHealth, in News
Topics: Dried Fruit Raisins Cranberries Cherries Apricots Sulfur Dioxide

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Keeping a selection of dried fruits on hand makes it easy to treat yourself to a delicious and nourishing snack, and recent studies have shown that dried fruit is packed with beneficial nutrients which can help to treat a variety of conditions.

The drying process involved in dried fruit concentrates the nutrients of the fresh fruit including protein, carbohydrate (in the form of natural fruit sugar), and dietary fiber. Dried fruit is:

  • Rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, and pantothenic acid
  • An abundant source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, copper and manganese
  • Contain around 60-70% natural sugars which occur in an easily digestible form (glucose and fructose), and quickly enter the bloodstream giving instant energy
  • Low in fat
  • Has a longer shelf life than fresh fruit
However, dried fruit generally does not contain vitamin D and only contains small amounts of Vitamin C.

Studies on the health Benefits of Dried Fruit

A study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, January 2009, reports that consuming dried plums slows the development of atherosclerosis, the buildup of waxy plaque inside blood vessels. [1] This is an inflammatory disease, better known as "hardening of the arteries," and can lead to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Another study reported in the August 2008 edition of Cancer Research showed that eating dried black raspberries prevents the development of cancer by restoring carcinogen altered and damaged genes to their normal state.[2]

The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 2007 reported a study that found that dried cranberries have infection fighting power, due to their high antioxidant capacity. They were found useful in the prevention of urinary tract infection and for the prevention of oxidative stress. [3]

The Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008, reported a study finding dried berries decreased tumor number and tumor size, and decreased expression of genes implicated in colon cancer. [4]

Some Beneficial Dried Fruit

raisins are dried grapes and retain most of the benefits of the grape along with other benefits they develop as raisins. They are rich in boron, iron, potassium calcium and the B vitamins, and are a good source of fiber. They contain phytonutrients such as resveratrol and olenolic acid.

apricots are another dried fruit with a high nutritional profile. They are rich in fiber, Beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, silicone, and potassium. Apricots are also rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects against cancer, and they are high in fiber.

cherries are related to plums, peaches, apricots, and almonds along with many others from the Rose family. They are a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium. They contain pectin and antocyanins, which are flavonoids linked to the prevention of cancer and heart disease.

Cranberries are high in fiber and have high levels of antioxidants, they are known to treat bladder and urinary tract infections. Regular consumption of cranberries can kill the H. pylori bacteria, known for causing stomach cancer and ulcers. Extracts of chemicals found in cranberries prevent breast cancer cells from multiplying in test tube experiments.

This is not by any means a complete list of beneficial fruits; all dried fruits contain a wealth of nutrients and provide a host of health benefits.

Sulfur Dioxide in Dried Fruit

Conventional dried fruits may be treated with chemicals such as sulfur dioxide or sulfite. This is to help prevent oxidation, bleaching of colors and to extend their shelf life. This compound sometimes causes allergic reactions in people and can have other adverse effects on the body.

Try to avoid the sulfites by buying organic dried fruits. These are usually free of additives and organic dried fruit has usually been sun dried or dried at temperatures low enough so that vitamins and enzymes remain intact.

Dried fruits should be stored in tightly closed glass containers, in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.

References

  • [1] Gallaher CM, Gallaher DD Dried plums (prunes) Reduce Atherosclerosis Lesion Area in Apolipoprotein E-Deficient Mice British Journal of nutrition , Vol 101, Issue 02, January 2009, pp 233-239.

  • [2] Mallery SR et al,Topical application of a bioadhesive black raspberry gel modulates gene expression and reduces cyclooxygenase 2 protein in human premalignant oral lesions. Cancer Res. 2008 Jun 15;68(12):4945-57.

  • [3] Valentov√° K et al Biosafety, antioxidant Status, and Metabolites in Urine after Consumption of Dried Cranberry juice in Healthy Women: A Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trial Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2007 55 (8), 3217-3224.

  • [4] Mutanen M et al berries as chemopreventive dietary constituents - a mechanistic approach with the ApcMin/+ mouse Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008;17(S1):123-125.


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