Dried fruits may taste like sweets, but they’re actually incredibly good for you, and more of us should be including dried fruit as part of our everyday diets. Research shows that people who regularly eat dried fruits have higher levels of dietary fibre, vitamins A, C, E, and K, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium than those who don't. They’re also more likely to be a healthy weight. Raisins, ‘craisins’, banana chips, dried cherries, and other dried fruits are all very nutrient dense, making them a healthy alternative to snacks like crisps, salted nuts, and popcorn.
Convenience & Availability
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of dried fruits is that they’re always available, regardless of the season, and have a long shelf life when stored correctly. Medical professionals have taken advantage of this convenience and availability, looking into whether daily intake of dried fruits year round could have health benefits. Experts believe that regular intake of dried fruit could help to manage chronic inflammation and reduce oxidative stress, potentially restricting the growth of cancerous tumours.
Are There Downsides to Eating Dried Fruit?
There’s a common myth that eating dried fruit can be bad for the teeth because of the high sugar concentration, but actually dried fruit is no worse than many other foods; in fact, it might actually be beneficial! Raisins, for example, are thought to help minimise the risk of tooth decay and other oral diseases because of the high levels of polyphenols which boast powerful antioxidant qualities.
Dried fruit can – and should – be included as part of a healthy diet. However, it is important to remember that, unlike fresh fruits which contain large amounts of water, these dehydrated snacks do have a higher sugar and energy concentration. The NHS advises that a serving of dried fruit is 30 grams, which is around 1 tablespoon of raisins, three whole prunes, or a handful of dried banana chips.