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 Diet & Nutrition

March 2012
Dry Fruits in a Wholesome Meal
Prachi Patodia Saraf
Dry fruits are back in vogue and we often see weight watchers eating this delicious snack!

Dry fruits are known for their sweet taste, nutritive value and long shelf life. Raisins, prunes, dates, figs, peaches, apples, apricots and pears are some dry fruits that are also known as ‘conventional’ or ‘traditional’ dry fruits. They are either sun-dried or dried in heated wind. Some fruits such as cherries, mangoes and strawberries are infused with sweeteners like sucrose syrup before they are actually dried.

Benefits of dry fruits
  • Prunes, flaxseeds and dates are a good source of fibre.
  • They do not produce heat unless consumed in huge quantities.
  • Dry ‘fruits’ are practically devoid of fat, trans and saturated fat and cholesterol. t They have low sodium content.
  • They are source of essential nutrients such as Vitamin A (apricots and peaches), Vitamin K Dry Fruits in a Wholesome Meal Prachi Patodia Saraf (dried plums) and calcium (figs).
  • Traditional dried fruits don’t even have added sugars.
  • Nuts are protein rich and are filled with fibre and heart healthy fats.
Dry fruits for health
  • Diabetics: Dry fruits stabilize the sugar levels by making the body less prone to insulin resistance.
  • Heart health: Nuts have heart healthy fats MUFA (monounsaturated fats) and Omega-3 fatty acids which may reduce the risk of heart diseases by increasing HDL and reducing LDL.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Omega-3 in nuts helps in conditions like arthritis.
  • Pregnancy: Dry fruits are a good source of concentrated calories. They are tasty and healthy. Walnuts are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids. “Recommend one-fourth cup per day to meet a requirement of 1.1 gm/day,” says Ritika Samaddar, Max Healthcare, New Delhi. Peanuts and almonds also work as good sources of iron during pregnancy.
  • Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pecans have similar calories and protein. Only the level of Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids (good quality fat for heart health) varies.
  • Eat a handful of nuts daily, not more. It is a 70-100 calorie snack.
  • Nuts promote satiety value and help in weight loss. t All nuts except cashews are healthy.
  • Look for nuts in their raw, unsalted form.
  • Store in refrigerator to keep them from becoming rancid.
Prachi Patodia Saraf is Health enthusiast and marathon runner Mumbai

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