To hear some people talk, you’d think references to “the fruit of the poisonous tree” or “forbidden fruit” was an admonition about the dangers of dried fruit on teeth.
It’s true that processed dried fruit can play havoc with teeth due to added sugar and artificial ingredients, but is that true of naturally dried fruit, commonly known as traditional dried fruit? The results may surprise you.
Traditional dried fruit is simply fresh fruit with the water removed from sun drying, or the use of customized dryers or dehydrators. Dried fruit made that way has been found to have a banana boat-sized bunch of benefits, including promoting good oral, digestive and bone health.
For example, traditionally dried fruits are excellent sources of phenolic content rich in antioxidants. As previously reported in Dental Wire, antioxidants are a good boost to both general health and oral health.
In addition to their phenolic content, traditionally dried fruits like grapes, plums, raisins, figs, and dates also include helpful polyphenols, carotenoids, and tannins which inhibit the growth of biofilm and plaque on teeth.
Raisins and dried plums also contain antimicrobial properties that help prevent the growth of bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease.
Many traditional dried fruits also provide essential fiber, minerals like potassium and calcium, and other essential nutrients. In some cases the potassium in dried fruit exceeds that of fresh fruits like watermelon, pears, peaches, oranges and pineapple.
The key to the healthy consumption of dried fruits depends upon the same factor we wrote about earlier this summer in our two-part series on soy foods: processing. If dried fruit is commercially processed, it loses much of its nutritional value. Adding extra additives for flavor or color can even make it unhealthy.
Much of the dried fruit found today is infused with added sugar, fruit juice concentrates or fruit that is “candied” by being cooked or encrusted with sugar during processing.
Below are five benefits to making the consumption of traditional dried fruits a regular part of your diet:
- Convenient way to bridge the gap between daily recommended amounts of fruit consumption and what is actually eaten
- Available year-round
- Low cost helps those on a budget to eat healthy
- Easy to store because dried fruit takes little space
- Healthy alternative to junk food snacking
Like fresh fruit, traditional dried fruit is low in sodium and is fat free, contains no trans fats, saturated fat or cholesterol.
Think of it – making traditional dried fruit a part of your regular diet can make both your doctor and dentist happy!
Sources: freshplaza.com, WebMD.com, sunmaid.com
Photo source: oregonmountainproducts.com
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