| Healthy Dried Fruits and Nuts at Casa de Fruta|
Healthly Dried Fruit and Nuts Snacks
Health benefits of Dried Fruit
As a snack, dried fruit is vastly superior to junk foods, such as potato chips, pretzels, candy bars, and other unhealthy indulgences people reach for when they are hungry between meals.
Dried fruit contains no fat, cholesterol, or sodium. It also helps to sweeten bland food without adding refined sugars. Small bits of dried fruit can be added to plain yogurt, oatmeal, or wholegrain breakfast cereal, making it more palatable to young children – and others who would not be able to stomach such foods otherwise.
Dried fruits are also a food of convenience. Because the fruit is much smaller when dehydrated, it can be taken in backpacks without adding a lot of extra weight. Dried fruit is perfect for long trips. Fresh fruits in the car tend to be messy and leave peels, pits, and cores to throw away. Dried fruit takes up less room, and will ensure the family is getting something good.
Apricots are those beautifully orange colored fruits full of beta-carotene and fiber that are one of the first signs of summer. Nutrients in apricots can help protect the heart and eyes, as well as provide the disease-fighting effects of fiber. The high beta-carotene content of apricots makes them important heart health foods. Beta-carotene helps protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, which may help prevent heart disease.
Apricots contain nutrients such as vitamin A that promote good vision. Vitamin A, a powerful antioxidant, quenches free radical damage to cells and tissues. Free radical damage can injure the eyes' lenses.
Although fresh, high-quality peaches are sweet tasting, they are low in calories, with one medium peach furnishing only about 37 calories. Yellow-fleshed varieties are a good source of Vitamin A. Remember, making peach jam or canning peaches in sugar syrup adds calories.
Dried Plums are ready-to-eat right from the package as a healthful snack or can be used as a versatile cooking or baking ingredient. They provide potassium, soluble and insoluble fiber, phytochemicals that function as antioxidants as well as some iron and Vitamin A. Dried Plums/Prunes can play an important role in promoting good digestive health.
Antioxidants are thought to help protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals and the chronic diseases associated with the aging process. Fresh fruits, including blueberries, and vegetables contain many of these naturally occurring antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E. Blueberries contain 14 mg of Vitamin C and 0.8 mg Vitamin E per 1 cup of blueberries. In addition, blueberries contain anthocyanins and phenolics that can also act as antioxidants. Based on data from the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (Boston, MA), blueberries are among the fruits with the highest antioxidant activity.
Health benefits of Nuts
Nuts are one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E and selenium. Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat - but mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 - the good fats) which have all been shown to lower LDL cholesterol.
Many people were scared away from nuts during the low-fat craze of the last few decades, but now nuts are making a comeback. Nuts are excellent sources of protein, minerals, "good" monounsaturated fats and other nutrients, and they're good for the heart.
A study conducted found that eating nuts lowered the risk of heart disease and helped participants to keep their weight down. Other large-scale studies, also found that eating nuts lowered heart disease risk. Other studies have shown that nuts help lower bad "LDL" cholesterol.
When it comes to nuts, the walnut is the king. It's a great source of the healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids, which have been found to protect the heart, promote better cognitive function, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis.
Walnuts also contain the antioxidant compound ellaic acid which is known to fight cancer and support the immune system. But that's not all-- researchers identified 16 polyphenols in walnuts, including three new tannins, with antioxidant activity so powerful they described it as "remarkable." Walnuts are incredibly healthy for the heart. Total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol were reduced and the elasticity of the arteries increased by 64 percent. Levels of vascular cell adhesion molecules, which play a major role in the development of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), were reduced.
Just a quarter cup of almonds contains nearly 25 percent of your needed daily value of the important nutrient magnesium, plus is rich in potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. In fact, a quarter cup of almonds has almost as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk.
They're also great for the colon. An animal study on the effects of almonds on colon cancer found that animals (which were exposed to a colon-cancer-causing agent) given whole almonds had fewer signs of colon cancer than animals given almond oil or no almonds. Researchers suspect the benefit may be due to almonds' high fiber content.
Plus, almonds are one of the best nuts for lowering cholesterol because 70 percent of the fat they contain is the healthy monounsaturated variety, which has been shown to help clear arteries.
Cashews are lower in fat than most nuts, and 65 percent of this fat is unsaturated fatty acids. Of this, 90 percent is oleic acid, the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil.
Plus, cashews are rich in copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and biotin.
Pecans are an excellent source of over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, several B vitamins and zinc.
"Recent clinical research studies evaluating the impact of pecans on serum cholesterol have found pecans can significantly help lower blood cholesterol when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet."
In fact, a study from New Mexico State University found that eating 3/4 cup of pecans a day may significantly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and help to clear the arteries.
Pistachios are a good source of copper, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and B6. The nuts deliver 30 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, so they pack a considerable wallop from a nutritional standpoint.
Pistachios contain higher amounts of fiber than many high-fiber foods. If you are trying to boost your intake, pistachios are an excellent source of dietary fiber.
If you are looking to replace animal protein with vegetable protein, pistachios eaten in conjuction with protein-rich grains, vegetables, and fruits, can help you to add protein to your diet. Pistachio nuts are an excellent source of vegetable protein.
Oxidative stress can cause damage to the human body, resulting in diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Dietary antioxidants help to reduce the damage. Pistachios contain phenolic compounds, which are believed to account for the antioxidant capability of certain foods. The pistachio nut is placed in the highest group for antioxidants.
These nuts are extremely nutrient-rich and contain protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, fiber, vitamin E and selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that works to neutralize dangerous free radicals. A study at the University of Illinois even found that the high amounts of selenium in Brazil nuts may help prevent breast cancer
These nuts are high in protein, fiber, healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium and magnesium. And, a study found that people who had added macadamia nuts to their diets for just one month had total cholesterol levels of 191, compared to 201 for those eating the typical American diet. The largest change was found in the LDL (bad) cholesterol.
A Little Goes a Long Way
The key with nuts is simply not to overeat them. They are highly concentrated in both their calories and their nutrients, so you only need a small handful at a time. Eating a variety of nuts appears to be the best way to get all the different benefits each nut has to offer.
back to top