How to Know if Your Dried Fruit Is Healthy
By Donna Stark
If you have been trying to increase your fruit intake, there are several ways to do so. You could simply just eat more by choosing fruit over other snacks, you could add some extra servings into your morning smoothies, or you could start using more fruit as toppings for your oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt. You could also increase your intake by eating several helpings of dried fruit during the week, but if you choose that path, you need to be careful because not all dried fruit is the same.
How to Choose Dried Fruit Wisely
Dried fruit is certainly a great way to increase your fruit intake, but there can be a downside to eating it if you choose the wrong type. Too much sugar, too many calories ... what's a person to do? Well, don't throw in the towel yet! Just take your time and do your research. The good ones are out there and here's how you can find them.
- Ingredients - There is only one thing that should be in the ingredient list and that is the name of the fruit itself. Nothing else. Artificial preservatives do a great job of enhancing color and lengthening shelf life, but they do nothing good for your body, so choose dried fruit without them.
- Sweeteners - Some fruits, like cranberries, are naturally bitter, and companies may add a sweetener to balance the flavor. If this is the case with the fruit you are getting, choose the ones that are sweetened with fruit juice instead of high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, or even artificial sweeteners.
- Organic - Choose organic dried fruit over those fruits that are known to contain pesticide residues, such as strawberries, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, and pears.
- Nutrients - Choose dried fruit that has some power to its punch. Blueberries are known for their antioxidant properties, figs are famous for their fiber, and prunes are great options for the iron they provide.
- Yogurt - Despite the many health benefits that come with yogurt, the yogurt topping that coats dried fruit is typically made with sugar and hydrogenated oil, so steer clear of it. Instead, sprinkle your dried fruit into your own bowl of Greek yogurt. It is so much healthier for you.
Increasing your intake of fruit is always a good idea, but you need to be mindful with what you consume to achieve that goal. This is especially important for those who need to watch their sugar levels or who are on a restricted diet. And if you are unsure of what your special diet demands, always check with your primary care doctor first.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brentwood, Tenn.