Getting one’s share of fruit as a part of daily diet is important for a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to consumption of fruits, whether the fresh version or dried version is healthy, is a great debate that continues. There are a lot of considerations that should be taken into account when choosing to consume a fresh or dried fruit for health benefits.
Fresh fruits health benefits:
Fresh fruits contain substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals. They have a lot of water, which helps keep the body hydrated. The potassium in fresh fruits can help in maintaining blood pressure, while the vitamin C helps heal wounds, repairs body tissues, and keep gums healthy. Fiber is important for bowel functioning, and fresh fruits contain a lot of fiber content. This helps one gain a feeling of fullness, even with lesser calories. The National Health and Medical Research Council Australian dietary guidelines recommend that adults must eat at least two types of fruits per day for a healthy living. Also, reduced consumption of fruits would lead to poor health. As per a research by Food Distribution Research Society, 82% of college students who perceived their health status as poor ate little to no fruits.
Though there are a lot of nutritional benefits, if a fresh fruit is over ripe or under ripe, then it becomes less nutritious. If the fresh fruit is not organically grown, or if it grown using harmful pesticides, then it may not be a healthy food choice. In this case, the pesticides can also reduce the antioxidants in the fruit and create adverse health impacts.
Dried fruits health benefits:
Basically, a dried fruit is a fruit devoid of its moisture. Depending on the process through which the moisture content is removed, one can decide if the dried fruit is healthy for consumption or not. When the fruit is dried naturally, the vitamins and minerals in the fruit remain intact. If the fruit is dried using preservatives, then it becomes less healthy for consumption, as the chemical process denatures the vitamins and minerals present in the fruit. Additionally, sugar is added to the dried fruits that even degrades its nutritional value. Dried fruits are much more calorically dense.
The positive aspect of dried fruit is that it can be preserved for long periods of time and can be consumed during seasons when fresh fruits are not available. Dried fruits are higher in fiber content and can help one relieve constipation, lower blood cholesterol levels, and keep the stomach full. Researchers from the Colorado University have pointed out that treating fruit with an acidic solution or giving it a sodium metabisulfite dip enhances the destruction of harmful bacteria that may develop during the drying process.
As far as health benefits are concerned, natural fruits are the best. Fresh fruits are healthier for the human body than the dried options. If one still opts for dried fruits, then there are many organic varieties that come without extra added sugars – opt for those. Look for dried peaches, dried pineapple, dried dates, dried strawberries, or even dried apricots.
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Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
Hodges, D. M., & Toivonen, P. M. (2008). Quality of fresh-cut fruits and vegetables as affected by exposure to abiotic stress. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 48(2), 155-162.
Santos, P. H. S., & Silva, M. A. (2008). Retention of vitamin C in drying processes of fruits and vegetables—A review. Drying Technology, 26(12), 1421-1437.
Vereecken, C., Huybrechts, I., Van Houte, H., Martens, V., Wittebroodt, I., & Maes, L. (2009). Results from a dietary intervention study in preschools “Beastly Healthy at School”. International journal of public health, 54(3), 142-149.
Petri, C., Mascherini, G., Pengue, L., & Galanti, G. (2016). Dietary habits in elite soccer players. Sport Sciences for Health, 12(1), 113-119.