Dehydrated fruit or dried fruit: definition and characteristics
At breakfast, as a snack or as an ingredient in elaborate dishes, dehydrated fruit provides the organism with an intense flavour and a significant amount of vitamins and minerals.
Also known as dried fruit, the drying process to which it is subjected enhances the nutritional values of the natural fruit and enables you to preserve it for much longer and enjoy it all year round.
Moreover, the natural sugars contained in fruit, once the aqueous content has been removed, are found in greater concentrations. Nevertheless, we are talking about slow-digesting sugars that create a feeling of satiety and provide a large dose of energy.
We will now tell you all you need to know about dehydrated fruit or dried fruit so as to dispel the myths associated with this healthy snack and to highlight the multiple benefits it has on your health.
What is dehydrated fruit?
Dehydrated or dried fruit is obtained from natural fresh fruit and has undergone a drying process, thereby reducing its inner water content.
This is a well-known process dating back hundreds of years. The primary purpose was to preserve the fruit for a longer, thereby taking advantage of harvest surpluses. However, besides prolonging the shelf life of the fruit, it was also ascertained that the flavour and properties of the fruit attained extraordinary levels of quality, becoming an authentic healthy delicacy.
Dehydration processes have evolved and been refined over time in order to achieve more efficient techniques geared to obtaining the best nutritional qualities of fruit.
Characteristics of dehydrated fruit
In brief, it can be said that dehydrated fruit is natural fruit from which a large part of the water content has been removed using different methods. This enables us to halt the action of the microorganisms responsible for the putrefaction of the fruit, as they need an aqueous medium in which to live.
The dehydration of fruit causes its organoleptic and nutritional properties to intensify, which gives rise to excellent health benefits. As such, it provides an excellent alternative to industrially manufactured products full of refined sugars and with little nutritional content.
Dehydrated fruit is a healthy and extremely tasty option that can be included in a varied and balanced diet. We will now tell you about the characteristics of this healthy snack, which will serve as a good argument for including it in your daily routine.
High fiber content
This characteristic is common to all dehydrated fruit, although the values of this component can range from 5 grams per 100-gram serving in raisins to 18 grams in plums. In the case of other dried fruit, such as figs, the consumption of half a serving is equal to 20% of the recommended daily fiber intake.
Hence, we are dealing with a food that is ideal for the regulation of bowel movement, the prevention or improvement of episodes of constipation and the reduction of cholesterol absorption.
Source of vitamins
Particularly rich in group B vitamins, dried fruit also contains group A and E vitamins, thereby helping to ensure the organism functions smoothly.
The most noteworthy of the former group is thiamine or vitamin B1, which helps the body's cells transform carbohydrates into energy. In this sense, dehydrated fruit ensures high energy content – 100 grams provide between 250 kcal and 300 kcal – and it is extremely popular among athletes. The action of vitamin B1 helps the body benefit from such doses of energy.
A source of minerals, iron in particular
Potassium, magnesium, calcium and, above all, iron. This mineral is essential to the health and the smooth functioning of the body, in general, and the circulatory system, in particular.
The intake of dehydrated fruit, such as dried figs, prevents diseases such as anemia, due to its high content of iron required for the creation of hemoglobin, the protein that enables oxygen to be carried from the lungs to the rest of the body.
It is an anti-oxidant
This is a characteristic, above all, of dark coloured dehydrated fruit such as plums, blueberries, figs and cherries.
The composition of these foods includes natural pigments such as polyphenols, which fight the free radicals in the body responsible for cell degeneration. We are talking about the main anti-oxidants in our diet, which not only take care of the appearance of the skin, but also play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Suitable for diabetics
Most natural fruit is excluded from the diet of people suffering from diabetes, due to the high concentration of carbohydrates and the low fiber content, which promotes the absorption of sugar into the intestines.
However, the high levels of fiber in dried fruit allow for the slow absorption of sugar into the blood. Dried fruit such as prunes and raisins have been shown not to increase blood sugar levels, and which have even improved after the consumption of dried fruit.
Although it is true to say that dehydrated fruit is not excluded from the diet of diabetics, it must always be consumed in moderation.
It is filling
The amount of concentrated natural sugars and the high doses of fiber in dehydrated fruit generate a feeling of satiety after eating a handful of any one.
Furthermore, it helps reduce eating anxiety, promoting healthier eating habits and greater control over the calories you consume. This is a nutritious snack that enables you to replace the harmful sugars contained in processed food with natural sugars without foregoing that intense and delicious flavour.