Raisins, berries and other dry fruits make an important part of our diet. They are healthy, tasty and just ideal to nibble whenever you want. You can also use them to whip up various sweet and savoury dishes. These bite-sized delights not only add crunch, flavour and texture to a dish but also make it nutritious - thanks to the rich nutrient-profile. In fact, it won't be an exaggeration to say that dried fruits are one of the oldest superfoods that our mothers and grandmothers swear by. They are a good source of natural sugar that often helps you avoid the inclusion of added sugar to a dish.
A new study by the researchers at Penn State found a link between dried fruits and improved diet quality. They stated people who included dried fruits in their diet were healthier than the ones who did not. It was also found that people included more nutrients in their diet on the days they ate dried fruits than the days they skipped. However, these findings came with their own set of warnings. The findings were published in the journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
"Dried fruit can be a great choice for a nutritious snack, but consumers might want to be sure they're choosing unsweetened versions without added sugar," said Valerie Sullivan, a postdoctoral researcher at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Penn State grad student.
The research was conducted on 25,590 participants where they were given dry fruits-rich diet for 24 hours. The researchers then collected their health-related data to find their overall diet quality.
"What I also found interesting was that people tended to eat more total fruit on the days they ate dried fruit than on days they didn't," Sullivan said. And the days they ate less quantity of dry fruits, fresh fruit intake was also lower.
Alongside the benefits, it was also found that including more dry fruits led to the intake of more calories in a day. Hence, researchers recommend controlling portion size and avoiding other forms of calorific foods to balance out the calories we consume in form of dry fruits.
"So, when incorporating dried fruits, pay attention to calories and be sure to substitute out calories from low-nutrient foods for dried fruits to get the greatest benefit of eating dried fruits," explained Penny Kris-Etherton, Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutritional Sciences.
Considering the above factors, we say, include raisins, dry apples, apricots, blueberries etc in your everyday diet for a healthy living. But always remember, moderation is the key.
Here're 5 Interesting Ways To Include Dry Fruits In Your Diet:
- Smoothie - Add some berries and apricots to your bowl of smoothie to make it healthier.
- Salad - Throw in some raisins and dried apples to a fresh bowl of salad to add some sweetness to the recipe.
- Morning ritual - You may start your morning by eating some soaked raisins to get a kick of energy to keep going for the whole day.
- Trail Mix - Prepare a trail mix with berries, raisins, apricots, nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds etc and chomp on to satiate those mid-meal hunger pangs.
- Dessert - You can replace sugar with raisins and dates to make a sweet dish healthier for guilt-free indulgence.
(Note: The food tips are not a part of the study)