Q: Are dried fruits a healthy choice compared to fresh fruits?
A: Fresh fruits are the beloved gems of each season, but they seem to disappear as quickly as they arrive. Fortunately, dried fruits delight all year long, and while they're no substitute for their fresh counterparts, this convenient alternative packs a potent nutritious punch.
The removal of water concentrates some nutrients, such as fiber, iron, potassium and selenium. The drying process, however, can hinder some important nutrients and some antioxidants that are heat sensitive. Heat, used to kill disease-causing microorganisms and to speed up the drying process, causes some loss of vitamin C, and sulfur dioxide, a common chemical sulfate preservative, destroys thiamin and can cause potential concerns for people who are allergic to sulfur.
While dried fruits can be a good way to help reach the recommended one to two cups of fruit a day, as well as a smart alternative to low-nutrient snacks, they are much higher in calories than fresh; a serving of dried fruit is basically half that of fresh. It's easy to consume more dried fruit than intended. Plus, a quick glance at the label may also reveal added sugars.
Look for unsweetened dried fruits as a smart and delicious way to add variety to your daily dose of fruits and vegetables, no matter the season.
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