Local consumers are never sure if they love dry fruits because of their ease of storage and long shelf life, their innumerous health benefits or their deliciousness. Dry fruits are one of the few edibles taken to the outer space.
Dry fruits making process has changed over time; from being sun dried at home to advanced osmotic dehydration. While the latest techniques have brought ease to us, the additive to them has reduced their benefits a tad bit. Sweeteners, color preservatives and additives for maintaining crispiness are not what our ancestors had in their dried fruits.
Dehydrating the fruits concentrates their nutrient content which is why dry fruits are jam packed with energy. However, this also increases the amount of calories they have than the fresh fruits. Dehydrating the fruit makes the antioxidant twice as more potent than fresh fruit. Being rich in energy and easy to carry, dry fruits make perfect travelling food and instantly energizes.
Here are a few reasons why you should get your hands on dry fruits this winter.
We have all heard that eating an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Dried apples and apricots can also be used in a similar way. Phytonutrients in these fruits act as antioxidants and provide a good source of fiber and combat carcinogens. They also contain high amounts of vitamin A, C and iron.
The secret of a healthy glowing skin also lies in these small fruits namely dried mangos, raisins, walnuts and cashews. A healthy skin not only makes you feel beautiful, it is also a great barrier to lots of diseases and has a much vital role to play in immunity than most people believe. Almonds are similarly great for your skin; they are added to mud packs for glowing skin, and eating almonds also helps treat acne.
Mangoes, hailed as the king of fruits, is dried and stored because of the short period of its season. The desire to make the most of its nutrients has led to sun drying of mangoes. Not only is it delicious, it’s extremely nutritious; rich in phytoprotiens, omega 3 and 6 fats, vitamins A, C and E all enhance skin life and boost immunity.
Raisins acquired by drying grapes also contain an antioxidant called resveratrol that defies skin ageing. Walnuts also improve skin texture, making it smooth and its oil can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines. The oils from all these nuts are also used in various cosmetic products as they are known to moisturize skin and reverse the damage done by sunlight and pollution.
Not really suggestive of their name, one of the benefits of dry fruits is maintaining water balance in the body. High potassium content along with sodium maintains osmotic pressure in the body which maintains normal blood pressure, reducing hypertension and heart disease. Dried apricots and plums (prune) contain high amount of potassium.
Dried cherries, figs and dates are rich in fiber. They aid digestion, treat constipation and enhance bowel movement. If carefully consumed, dry fruits can help reduce weight despite containing higher calories than most foods. This is because of their high fiber content which speeds body metabolism and keeps you full throughout the day.
Being rich in iron, many dry fruits are recommended by doctors for people with low hemoglobin and blood disorders. They help reduce anemia by promoting production of red blood cells by the bone marrows. Prunes, apricots and raisins are all iron packed. They also contain minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and potassium that promote blood circulation.
As mentioned earlier, dry fruits not only keep blood pressure under control, they also curb cholesterol content which is again great for heart health. Polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats like omega 3 and 6 and sterols control cholesterol levels in the body. Cashew nuts are specifically known for reducing triglycerides in the body by virtue of their mono unsaturated fat content.
High mineral content of dry fruits makes them beneficial to muscles as well. Magnesium content in cashews helps with muscle soreness, fatigue, spasm and migraine headaches. Often menopausal women are recommended to eat dry fruits as they suffer from muscle and bone weakness.
Last, but definitely not the least, dry fruits are great for brain health. They are known to boost brain power, memory and generate new brain cells. They make great exam food and help curb the exam weight that students often put on. Pistachios, almonds, cashew nuts and walnuts all are great for your brains. They are rich in zinc, vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids.
Dry fruits are powerhouses of healthy nutrients. Make sure that they are part of your daily diet to have a well-rounded intake of food.