A greedy hunger-breaker, an extra touch for many recipes, a delicious after-meal for festive lunches and dinners, dried fruit gives flavor to your days and fills them with well-being. Along with the crunchiness that makes it so delicious to munch, in fact, it also has lots of nutrients that help you keep fit and healthy. You discover because dried fruit is good for you, how much to eat every day to enjoy its beneficial effects and how to taste it.
Nuts, nuts, dried fruit: what’s the difference?
Let’s start from the beginning: what is dried fruit? This term is used to refer to two food groups:
- the nutsa large family which includes walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, cashews, Macadamia nuts, Pecans, Brazilian nuts, peanuts (which actually do not fall within the fruit group but in that of legumes)
- the dried fruitsuch as apricots, plums, figs and dates.
The dried fruitalso said dehydrated fruitis basically the pulpy fruit that has been deprived of water to increase storage times, while the nuts and the seme fruit, kept in a woody shell. What differentiates them? In addition to the flavor, the nutrients that these two types of dried fruit contain. Let’s find out their properties!
Identikit of dried fruit: nutritional properties
The nuts it is also called “oily” o “lipid” because it’s very high in fatespecially of unsaturated fatty acids omega-3. It’s also a great source of vegetable proteins, fibre e vitaminsin particular vitamin B9 (folic acid) and vitamin E. Among the precious nutrients it contains there are also i mineral saltsespecially magnesium, iron and potassium.
The dried fruit it is also called “glucidica” because, like the pulpy fruit from which it is made, it is very sugary as well as a lot rich in fiber and vitaminsit simply has less water.
Dried fruit: because it’s good for you
So let’s see how this mix of nutrients is good for your health and well-being. Here are the main benefits of dried fruit.
It reduces cholesterol and keeps the heart healthy
Thanks to their antiplatelet and vasodilator properties, i omega-3 fats contained in nuts help to check blood cholesterol levels, helping to keep the arteries clean. The fibrefurthermore, they reduce the intestinal absorption of this fat which, if present in excess in the body, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. For this reason, nuts are a good ally for heart health.
It has an antioxidant action
Thanks to the high content of Vitamin E and some compounds, notably i flavonoidsnuts helps counteract damage from free radicals and cellular ageinghelping us to prevent many chronic and degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, tumors and heart disease.
Protects mother and baby during pregnancy
Nuts, rich in folic acid, helps pregnant women to meet the needs of this vitamin, of which a greater quantity must be taken during pregnancy. Ensuring the right amount of vitamin B9 is very important for promote the correct development of the fetus e prevent the risk of malformations.
Helps control blood sugar
The fibre present in large quantities in nuts are useful for regulate blood glucose levels e reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes in those who suffer from diabetes. Be careful though: dried fruit, despite being rich in fibre, is also very sugary, so those suffering from this disease should not abuse this type of dried fruit.
Fights tiredness and fatigue
All dried fruit is very rich in mineral salts, in particular magnesium and potassiumthen perform aenergizing, anti-fatigue and remineralizing action important above all after physical exertion or when it is hot, to restore the mineral salts lost through perspiration. Over sportsmen dried fruit, eaten both before and after training, is also useful for promote muscle efficiency and recovery and for prevent cramps.
The abundance of folic acidwhich regulates the levels of serotonin, the so-called good mood hormone, and the richness of mineral salts such as magnesium makes dried fruit very useful for protect emotional and psychological balance: it is a perfect ally to relax if you have trouble sleeping and for counteract the typical ailments of premenstrual syndrome.
How much nuts to eat per day
All of these positive effects may have made you want to eat plenty of nuts, but it’s actually best not to overdo it. In fact, both nuts and dried fruit contain many calories, on average 600 per 100 gso even if one leads to another it is important to consume them in moderation.
The Guidelines for a healthy diet of CREA (Food and Nutrition Research Center)the most important Italian research body in the agri-food field, recommend do not exceed 30 g per daywhich correspond to 7-8 shelled walnuts oa 10-15 shelled almonds or hazelnuts.
Better also to prefer dried fruit natural, limiting the consumption of salted and glazed ones because it is very rich in salt and sugars.
Some types of nuts, especially nuts such as hazelnuts, peanuts and cashews, can be a source of allergy: if you are allergic, avoid eating them.
How to taste dried fruit
At breakfast, as a snack, at the gym, dried fruit is good at all hours and for every occasion. And it’s also perfect for preparing lots recipes: many great classics of Italian gastronomy, such as the pesto saucethe Almond paste Sicilian, the Caprese cakethe Grandmother’s cakei songsil Panforte and the chestnut they have dried fruit among their ingredients. Other culinary traditions also make extensive use of it in many of their specialties: this is the case with this one Chinese and one of its most famous dishes, the almond chicken.
Have fun experimenting with the many uses of dried fruit in the kitchen: you can use it to prepare some cereal bars or some Candied almonds to be enjoyed as a snack, to enrich salads, soups and quichescome breading for meat and fish in the form of grain. Or it brings its derivatives to the table, such asolio and the peanut butterthe farina and the almond vegetable drink the tante spreadable creams based on dried fruit that you find on the market.
Without excesses, it will give you taste and well-being.