Dried fruits not only make great snacks, but they contain compounds that are good for a variety of conditions. Here’s what to eat if you’ve got some health issues.
Raisins are a rich source of boron, a mineral that can help reduce bone loss in post-menopausal women. Sprinkle a handful into yoghurt (a good source of calcium) to help strengthen your bones.
When you’re tired you often crave sugary snacks to give you a boost. Dates are very sweet but better for you than lollies, biscuits or chocolate bars. They will keep your energy levels steady. Eat them with protein, such as a handful of nuts to keep you feeling full.
FOR: HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
EAT: DRIED APRICOTS
These are a great source of potassium, with three times the amount found in bananas. This mineral is good for keeping blood pressure down because it alters the balance between potassium and sodium, and recent research shows that eating more potassium than sodium (found in salt) can help to protect against heart disease.
If you’ve got low iron levels, tuck into dried figs. Four of them supply a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of iron, which can help to protect against anaemia. To get the full benefit, eat them with fruit which is rich in vitamin C, such as oranges, as it helps your body to better absorb iron.
FOR: BLADDER INFECTIONS
EAT: DRIED CRANBERRIES
Around 20% of women suffer recurrent bladder infections, which can be very painful. A US study found eating two handfuls of dried cranberries helped lower the chance of getting a urinary infection because it reduced the stickiness of E. coli bacteria in infected women’s urine samples. The bacteria could not attach to the bladder wall, so there was less chance of a urinary infection.
Your nana was right – eating six prunes twice a day will get your bowels moving. Prunes contain sorbitol, a compound which draws water into the stool, making it easier to pass.
WHAT ABOUT FRESH?
Dried fruits can be just as good for you as the fresh versions, and may be able to help combat cancer, metabolic disease and heart problems. They are also a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. A combined study by international researchers found that some fruits, including dried ones, contain high levels of compounds called polyphenols that can help to protect against heart disease.