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Dried Fruit – Smart Snack Or Health Hazard?

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In speaking to countless patients over the years, it is apparent that people generally want to eat a healthy diet. In most cases, however, this is easier said than done. It takes a lot of planning to eat right each day, and many people feel overwhelmed by the high volume of information about nutrition coming from magazines, newspapers, television and medical professionals. One of the most common concerns I hear from patients is the difficulty of getting enough servings of fresh produce. To make it easier, people often turn to dried fruit out of convenience. My wife often buys these types of snacks every time we are in the airport. I would like to explore these kinds of choices and let you know whether or not it is a truly healthy option.

The Importance of Fruit

Everyone needs fruit and vegetables to stay healthy. These natural wonders are chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, the substances that protect our cells from free radical damage. Many fruits commonly sold both fresh and dried, such as blueberries, cherries, cranberries and figs, are particularly rich in nutrients that protect our health.

Depending on age, weight and activity level, most adults must consume 5 to 9 fruit and vegetable servings each day. The problem is that choosing fresh produce isn’t always easy. You may not have access to a refrigerator at work all day, and delicate fruits like pears and raspberries don’t travel very well. Furthermore, purchasing fresh fruit at fast food restaurants, delis, or convenience shops is either impossible or expensive, and the selection is very limited. Despite these challenges, eating your daily produce servings is a natural, highly effective way to keep your body at its best.

Dried Fruit Pros and Cons

For many people, dried fruit has become the go-to solution to the produce dilemma. The question, however, remains: Is dried fruit truly healthy? The answer is not as clear as you might think. To make dried fruit, manufacturers remove the water. It is the water in fresh fruit that contributes to spoilage and bacteria growth, so dehydrating the fruit makes it shelf stable for six months to a year. If dried fruit is simply fresh fruit with the water extracted, how could it be bad for you?

In order to dehydrate fruit like plums, apricots, figs, grapes and all the rest, the fruit must be exposed to dry heat from either the sun or commercial grade ovens. This heat has a negative effect on fruit’s nutrient content. In particular, vitamin C, potassium and calcium are three important substances that drastically deteriorate during the drying process.

For example, a dried apricot loses over half of its potassium content, and fruits high in vitamin C lose nearly all nutritional value due to drying. On the upside, however, dried fruit does not lose its fiber and iron content.

Another issue to consider with dried fruit is chemical content. For certain fruits, such as, golden raisins and apricots, sulphur dioxide is used to fix the color during the drying process. This chemical may aggravate or provoke asthma attacks in some individuals. To avoid unwanted additives, you can purchase natural and organic dried fruit at health food stores.

When you eat dried fruit, you must also take calories into account. Remember, the water has been removed, considerably reducing the volume of the fruit. Therefore, you will need to eat a smaller portion of dried fruit compared with fresh fruit in order to consume the same amount of calories.

For example, one cup of fresh grapes has about 60 calories, while one cup of raisins has 495 calories-quite a difference!

In addition, dried fruit tends to be much sweeter due to concentrated flavor, so it’s easy to eat a lot without thinking about it. To keep calories in check, divide fresh fruit into individual portions and put them in zip top bags. Keep single servings in your car, purse or desk drawer for snacking.

Despite some stumbling blocks, the National Cancer Institute says that a quarter cup of dried fruit counts as a serving of produce. I recommend that my patients who enjoy dried fruit eat it as just one of their daily produce servings, and that they carefully monitor portion size. With healthy eating, variety is the key. If you purchase natural, chemical-free dried fruit and eat it along with a wide array of fruits and vegetables, it can be a convenient solution to your eat-right goals.

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Source by Mark Rosenberg, M.D.

Medicinal Plants For Protection And Healing

Did you know there’s a vast “pharmacopoeia” of protective plants and essential oils that can support you in enjoying optimal health?

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The capacity of plants to support the healing and optimal functioning of your mind, body and spirit is the passion of Floracopeia founder David Crow. If you don’t yet know David, he is simply brilliant on the subject of medicinal plants — from common herbs and spices to the fascinating, and aromatically pleasing, world of essential oils.

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That’s why I’m excited to invite you to a FREE virtual event with David on Saturday, December 3, called Medicinal Plants for Protection: Discover the Preventative Powers of Herbs for Your Physical, Emotional & Spiritual Health.

You’ll need to RSVP for your space here

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During this virtual event, you’ll discover:

  • How to use herbal and aromatic therapies to support your immunity
  • Important herbs that protect your liver from environmental and metabolic toxins
  • How the antioxidant powers of medicinal plants can protect you against radiation and heavy metal toxicity
  • How to create a home “pharmacy” of herbs and essential oils to assist in warding off adrenal exhaustion and emotional burnout

For over 30 years, David has pioneered a path for harnessing the power of plants and their ability to help your body, mind and spirit rebalance for greater resilience and resistance to disease –– empowering your natural propensity for self-healing and rejuvenation.

This virtual event is free — so definitely register here

In Medicinal Plants for Protection, David Crow will help you gain a practical, as well as a holistic, understanding of how protective plants and essential oils work — and how to use these potent remedies safely and effectively.

RSVP for free here

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