The Healing Power of Dried Fruits

The Healing Power of Dried Fruits

Dried fruits have long been a popular handy and healthy snack, thanks to their portability, tasty flavors, and nutritional benefits. However, research continues to uncover even more medicinal superpowers that these dehydrated delights contain. 

Beyond the vitamins and minerals that dried cherries, blueberries, apples, and other fruits provide, they also deliver some incredible healing components that can truly boost health.

Fiber for Digestive Health

One major benefit dried fruits offer is their high fiber content. Fiber aids healthy digestion and promotes regularity. The type of fiber found in dried fruits - including soluble and insoluble fiber - supports digestive health in other critical ways too. 

  • Soluble fiber attracts water and turns into a gel-like consistency in the gut. This allows food and waste to smoothly move through the digestive tract. 
  • Soluble fiber also feeds the healthy bacteria in your intestines, allowing these probiotics to thrive.
  • Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and speeds up digestion. This fiber prevents constipation and reduces transit time through the intestines. 
  • Insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids or digestive conditions like diverticulitis.
  • Both soluble and insoluble fibers regulate the rate of sugar absorption as well. This prevents sharp spikes and crashes in blood glucose levels.

Powerful Disease-Fighting Antioxidants 

Dried fruits - especially cherries, blueberries, and cranberries - contain high levels of antioxidants. These substances help prevent or delay cell damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules linked to cancer, early aging, and other diseases. 

Anthocyanins give cherries and berries their rich red-purple hues. But these flavonoids do more than make fruits visually appealing. 

  • Anthocyanins boast anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects that thwart DNA damage. 
  • Antioxidants like vitamin C, carotenoids, and vitamin E found abundantly in dried fruits also hinder disease development through their free radical scavenging activities.

Versatile Ingredient for Healthy Eating

On their own, dried fruits make for a nutritious snack full of fiber, antioxidants, and important micronutrients like copper, magnesium, and vitamin K. Dried fruits are also versatile ingredients that can make your other recipes healthier too.

  • Replace some or all sugar in muffin, bread, or cookie recipes with no-sugar-added dried fruits like cherries, dates, apricots or apples. The fruits' concentrated sweetness means cutting back on added sugars without sacrificing taste. 
  • Dried fruits pump up the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in baked goods.
  • Add diced dried fruits like peaches, mango, or strawberries to hot or cold cereals.
  • Include dried fruits in trail mixes and healthy homemade granola bars. 
  • Dried fruits make tasty and nutritious additions to salads, yogurt parfaits, or on top of your morning oatmeal too. We have some really good recipes here on the website. ((Link))

Gut Health and Prebiotics

Prebiotics are a special type of fiber that feeds probiotics, or the good bacteria living in your digestive system. Prebiotics enhance probiotic growth and function to optimize digestive and overall health. Research shows many dried fruits serve as prebiotics.

Studies indicate dried plums, peaches, apricots, pears and dates selectively stimulate beneficial Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli growth. These dried fruits increased counts of these probiotics while inhibiting undesirable Clostridium perfringens bacteria. 

Prebiotics in dried fruits support optimal nutrient absorption and immune function too. A healthy intestinal microbiome also aids metabolic and brain health, cholesterol levels, and bone density.

Food for Medicine

Dried fruits serve as versatile ingredients that can make other foods you eat healthier. Beyond their great taste and convenience, dried fruits provide therapeutic effects to heal and protect your body in numerous ways. Their medicinal powers make these dehydrated medicinal powerhouses well worth keeping stocked in your pantry.