A Healthy Lifestyle
Dried Fruit & Your Health
Health Benefits of Dried Figs
Figs are a nutrient-dense fruit that can be yellow-green, copper or purple in color. You can peel them and eat them out of hand, use them to make jam or add them to ice cream or baked goods. Fresh figs may not be available year-round in certain parts of the world, but dried figs are relatively easy to find. Although figs may provide health benefits, treatment of any medical condition with figs is mainly based only on traditional use.
A 1/4 cup serving of dried figs contains about 93 calories, 1 gram of protein, 0.4 gram of fat and 24 grams of carbohydrate, including 4 grams of fiber, or 16 percent of the daily value for fiber. Dried figs have more fiber per serving than any other fruit, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Each serving of dried figs provides about 253 milligrams of potassium and 6 micrograms of vitamin K, or 7 percent of the DV, along with 60 milligrams of calcium and 25 milligrams of magnesium, or 6 percent of the DV for these nutrients. Potassium is necessary for proper heart, muscle and digestive function. Your body uses vitamin K for blood clotting, calcium for strong bones and teeth and magnesium for immune system, heart and nerve function.
Potential Health Benefits
Figs contain a type of antioxidant called phenols, which may lower your risk for heart disease and cancer by preventing cell damage by dangerous free radicals. Fiber lowers your risk for high cholesterol, heart disease and constipation. The fiber in figs may also help you lose weight since it makes figs more filling, helping you eat fewer calories.
Use in Traditional Medicine
Figs have been used in traditional medicine for lowering cholesterol levels and treating diabetes, constipation and skin problems like vitiligo, psoriasis and eczema. The safety and effectiveness of figs for preventing or treating these conditions has not been tested using high-quality clinical studies, so don’t attempt to use figs in place of any treatment prescribed by your doctor.
Dried Furit Nutrition Health Benefits
Dried fruit is a convenient snack that is created from a natural, healthy food. Therefore, when it comes to health, nutrition and weight loss it is often a topic of debate. Dried fruit is different in many ways than its fresh version, but also retains some healthy characteristics. When deciding if you should enjoy dried fruit, there are a few things to consider regarding its nutrition health benefits.
How it is Made and Nutrients Retained
While dried fruit in moderation can be a healthy snack, it is important to keep in mind that dried and fresh fruit are not identical when it comes to nutrients. The processes used to dry fruit commercially vary, but none of them can keep the dried fruit exactly the same as the fresh version. Drying removes the water from the fruit and concentrates it, however this also doesn’t mean dried fruit is completely void of nutritional benefit. Flavonoids may be destroyed due their sensitivity to light and heat, but many vitamins and minerals are simply decreased, not eliminated. In addition, dried fruit still contains dietary fiber.
Calories and Sugar
The elimination of moisture and the concentration of the fruit cause dried fruit to contain more calories than fresh fruit. For example, generally 1 cup of the fresh fruit is equal to only 1/4 of a cup of the dried version when it comes to calories. This means that it is often necessary to practice portion control to ensure you don’t consume excess calories through endless snacking on dried fruit. It is important to check the labels of any dried fruit you buy because often some form of sugar, such as refined, high-fructose corn syrup has been added to make it sweeter. Extra sugar also adds more calories that you would not find in the fresh fruit. Look for dried fruits that are without added sweeteners or those using natural sweeteners such as concentrated juices.