For the Holidays my parents got me a food dehydrator. Since then I've dehydrated apples, nectarines, tomatoes, bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe. I've really enjoyed trying new things and seeing how they turn out. However, I was unsure of the nutritional differences in the dried fruits vs fresh fruits so I decided I'd do some research.
Today I had a visit with my nutritionist. I'm a very inquisitive person and always go in to see him with a list of questions. Definitely one of my questions today was about the differences between dried fruit and fresh fruit. Is there a difference in nutritional content? How does the nutritional content change? Are there more calories and/or sugar in one versus the other?
My nutritionist and I discussed some things and after leaving I went to go do some more research. Here's what I learned.
- Dehydrating shrinks down the fruit causing some nutrients as well as the calories and sugar content to concentrate.
- Certain nutrients such as Vitamin C can be diminished in the drying process if too high of heat is used.
- Many dried fruits are higher in fiber than their fresh counterparts.
- Research has shown that drying blueberries actually increases its antioxidants.
- Drying with high heat can reduce the effectiveness of the protein in the food. The protein in the food is still there but it is harder for your body to digest and absorb it.
- Due to having a higher sugar content dried fruits can be easily satisfy a sweet tooth.
- Dried fruits are a great source of quick energy...plus they're easy to take with you.
"for apricots, a cup of fresh halves is 86 percent water, with 74 calories, and a cup of dried fruit is 76 percent water, with 212 calories. Fresh apricots have 3.1 grams of fiber versus 6.5 for dried; 0.6 milligrams of iron versus 2.35 milligrams; 15.5 milligrams of vitamin C versus 0.8 milligrams; and 149 retinol activity equivalents of vitamin A versus 160."
"A cup of fresh Thompson seedless grapes is 80 percent water, with 104 calories, and a cup of raisins is 15 percent water, with 434 calories. The grapes have 1.4 grams of fiber, versus 5.4 grams for the raisins; 0.54 milligrams of iron versus 2.73 milligrams; 288 milligrams of potassium versus 1,086 milligrams; and 16.3 milligrams of vitamin C versus 3.3 milligrams."
I'll be drying the heck out of fruits in the coming weeks. The important thing I'm going to remember is to ration the amount I intake. Dried fruits should be a supplement to the fresh fruits. I won't need too much to satisfy my needs. In the past I've always taken dried fruits with me to competitions. Dried cranberries and prunes were the two I had with me in Beijing. If you're going to buy them in the store always make sure there is NO sugar added.
Happy Healthy Eating My Friends.