Health Benefits of Dry Fruits and Nuts
Replete with natural sugars and fiber, zero cholesterol and fats, and a variety of delectable flavors, dry fruits and nuts are an easy source of all essential nutrients. The right and regular mix of almonds, cashews, pistachios, dates, raisins and other dry fruits and nuts are all you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Dry fruits are not just delicacies but extremely rich sources of proteins and minerals. This is precisely why every diet regimen recommends having at least a handful of dry fruits in your daily diet. There are umpteen choices in the dry fruit category, almonds, dates, raisins, walnuts, cashews, pistachios and peanuts being some of them.
Since the amount of essential nutrients is very high in dry fruits, it is found that most of them are loaded with medicinal properties as well. Here is a list of benefits of some most common dry fruits:
Almonds are high on unsaturated fats apart from having vitamin B1, iron, phosphorus and copper. Regular intake of almonds helps the body to create new blood cells, raise the haemoglobin levels and aid the desired functioning of all the crucial organs of your system. Almonds are very beneficial on the skin too. Almond paste with milk or milk cream can work wonders on the texture and complexion, making it even, supple and fairer. It also helps to relieve constipation problems. Almond oil can be applied to the scalp to prevent hair loss and promote hair growth, it also helps to relieve headache.
Raisins are nothing but dried grapes which can be of the green and black variety. They are high in sugar content and are very beneficial in wasting diseases. This makes it very handy when you are recovering from a certain disease or after a prolonged treatment. They are very helpful if curingconstipation issues. People, who are suffering from low iron levels, can benefit from regular intake of raisins. It also helps those who need to gain weight in a healthy manner.
Raisins tend to stick to teeth, so experts recommend offering raisins to kids with their meals so that other food helps to dislodge the remains of raisins from their teeth. Raisins can also be given to kids before they brush their teeth before going to bed.
This is the only dry fruit or nut that contains the essential omega 3 fatty acid that comprises of the alpha linolenic acid or ALA, linoleic acid and the arachidonic acid. They are high in the mono-unsaturated fatty acids or MUFA. They are very good for the heart as they reduce the levels of triglycerides. Regular intake of walnuts helps to increase the good cholesterol levels or the HDL. Melatonin is another essential component of walnuts that effectively protect against inflammation and other similar associated health issues. The other beneficial components include riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, folates and niacin.
They are very rich in protein and fibre content. Since it does not have any cholesterol, it is high on mono-saturated fat which is great in improving the cardiovascular condition. With high antioxidant levels, cashews also effectively eliminate the free radicals, thereby proving to be beneficial in preventing and curing cancer. With high magnesium levels, it helps in building muscles and bones along with promoting the health of gums and teeth.
You will find in all the above mentioned and a host of other dry fruits and nuts that they are helpful in enhancing the energy levels and reducing stress. Their varied vitamin and mineral content helps in the prevention of myriad diseases and improving the existing health conditions of the system.
The earliest recorded mention of Dry fruits is found in Mesopotamian tablets dating to be around 1700 B.C., which has some of the registered oldest known famous written recipes. It is also believed that the early Phoenicians and Egyptians were responsible for expanding the popularity of dry fruits throughout the globe, particularly they penetrated in western markets, by selling dry fruits. Due to their long-term storability and ease of transport, dry fruits travelled with Christopher Columbus, Robert E. Peary’s conquest of the North Pole in 1908, and accompanied astronaut Scott Carpenter in outer space in 1962.
Traditionally, dry fruits were dried either by sun-dried method or by dehydration using wind tunnels. Dry fruits have a long history of food safety. Dry fruits are actually dried form of fresh fruits or Dry fruits can be simply explained as fresh fruits with water removed or dehydrated to retain the pulp of the fruit. Dehydration of fresh fruits eventually causes some of the essential nutrients to become more concentrated, and also changes overall look of fruits. Dry fruits also provide stamina before exercise, thereby are often recommended by fitness experts, that before hitting the gym, he/she should munch on a handful of nuts and almonds, as the nuts help in increasing metabolic rates. If one is on a diet, Dry fruits can be opted as a great source of energy and fibre, but should be eaten in moderation as they contain significantly more calories per serving than fresh fruits offer. Dry fruits without additives offer various health benefits.
Antioxidants in grapes/raisins, and plums are twice as potent and full of minerals as compared to fresh fruits. The cracking thing about Dry fruits is that, they don’t contain fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Dry fruits are perfect for long trips and especially for students as they need energy to revitalize them every moment.
Calorie content gets concentrated into a smaller mass as moisture is dehydrated. Vitamin C and Vitamin A fairly well retained. Thiamine, riboflavin also are fully retained.
Note: For best retention of nutrients and to draw full advantage of dry fruits, it is recommended to store Dry fruits in a cool, dark, dry place in a seal pack container and consume within a year.
Read on to find out more about the numerous health benefits that Dry fruits offer...
10. Dry fruits are your anti-cancer militant
An Apple a day keeps the doctor away, we all are apprised of this saying, but A dried apple and apricots a day keeps cancer away. Apples and apricots consist of phytonutrients (naturally occurring component of plants that provide nutrition) that act as antioxidants and are also a good source of fibre, ridding the body of cancer causing agents. They also contain vitamin A, C and Iron.
9. Want beautiful, healthy skin?
Our skin is the most integral part of our immune system, and all we need is it should look glossy, fresh and moisturized all the time. So, the king of fruits is here to help you Mango is a beautiful fruit to enrich the growth of hair, and is a good source of carbohydrates but dry Mango is rich in a variety of phyto-nutrients, vitamins A, C and E, as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which are necessary for healthy skin and the immune health. It enhances skin life as well.
Raisins keep our skin healthy as they contain Resveratrol, an antioxidant that slows down skin ageing. Walnuts, nourish dry skin and improve its texture, if used in the form of oil, walnut oil consists of linoleic acid, which helps in preventing wrinkles and fine lines. Almonds are effective in treating acne. This dry fruit is used in face packs as well.
Cashew nuts when eaten in limits help in improving health of skin. Cashew nut oil is used in a number of cosmetics. It helps to reduce tan and prevents skin damage, and also helps protect and recover cracked heels, thereby nourishing them. Cashew nuts are rich in Vitamin E and contain anti-ageing properties, which is fruitful for skin.
8. Potassium is vital.
While fresh apricots and plums are rich in potassium, dry apricots and prunes contain even higher amounts of potassium. Sodium & Potassium regulate the balance of intracellular and extracellular water levels. Potassium is also necessary for maintaining healthy blood pressure and the insufficient intake or if the body fails to get the required amount of potassium it leads to an increased risk of hypertension.
7. Looking for more fibre to turn Superman or Spiderman?
Fibre aids digestion, helps prevent constipation, and Dry fruits like cherry and Fig are a rich source of fibre and should be included in the daily diet. Cherries are also called the “antioxidant super fruit”, they have higher levels of antioxidants, in addition to important nutrients like beta-carotene, folic acid and fibre. Figs are highly rich in iron, folic acid and potassium.
6. Iron content can be increased in your body.
Dry prunes and apricots are a significant source of iron. A handful of prunes and apricots help in preventing anaemia as they are a good source of Iron. Raisins are also a rich source of potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and iron and they promote blood circulation. They are often recommended by doctors for anaemia patients.
5. Dry Fruits help to get rid of those irritating Fats and Calories. Dry fruits contain no fat at all.
They also contain significant calories per serving. If one is on weight loss regime, he/she may want to limit intake of calorie content foods. But dry fruit can be a tasty treat as well as help in reducing weight as a handful of Dry fruits, curd/milk and cornflakes make for a healthy diet and due to the high fibre content they keep you full throughout the day.
4. Treat your body and help your organs. Give your heart the HEARTBEAT.
Nuts are considered one of the best plant sources of protein. They are rich in fibre, phytonutrients and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Nuts are also high in plant sterols and fat – but mostly mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (omega 3 – the good fats) which help in curbing cholesterol level. Many people carry the myths that nuts help in increasing weight, but if taken in limited quantities nuts prove to be excellent sources of protein, minerals, and other nutrients, and are good for the healthy heart. Eating nuts lowers the risk of heart disease.
Cashew contains healthy mono unsaturated fat that helps in promoting good cardiovascular health, because the mono unsaturated fats reduce high triglyceride levels which are associated with increased risk for heart disease. Nuts are also rich in anti-oxidants.
3. Migraine can be treated too, try Cashews.
Yes, you read this right. If you want to get rid of migraine or want relief from it eating Cashews can help you in decreasing the level of pain. The Cashew nut’s high magnesium content also acts against high blood pressure, muscle spasms, migraine headaches, tension, soreness and fatigue. Magnesium also works with calcium to support healthy muscles and bones in the human body. It also helps promote normal sleep patterns in menopausal women.
Cashews are also considered a rich source of dietary fibre and helps maintain healthy gums and teeth. Cashews are rich in antioxidants that help in the elimination of free radicals that may cause some cancer. Cashew nut consumption helps the body utilize iron, eliminate free radicals, develop bone and connective tissue, and produce the skin and hair pigment melanin.
2. Tip for thick hair and a great brain.
Almonds consist of essential fatty acids, fibres and proteins. Apply the mixture on your face to remove dead cells and dirt. For hair, almond oil helps to add lustre and shine to dull hair. Almonds improve haemoglobin and help in promoting blood circulation. They also reduce cholesterol and help in preventing lung and breast cancer. Raisins are another phenomenal part of Dry fruits family, they help in protecting teeth as they prevent tooth decay and keep cavities at a distance. They take care of our eyes as well as they are also a good source of Vitamin A and protect our eyes from vision problems.
Walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts in nut family which are full of good fats and nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in abundance in walnuts are called brain food. Around 60% of our brain structure comprises of Omega 3 fatty acids which are found in walnuts and almonds. Walnuts are also good in promoting cardiovascular health.
1. Pack your body with needed vitamins and minerals.
Copper, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and B6 are an essential part of the government that rules our body and Pistachios are considered to be the source of this government, meaning Pistachios are rich in copper, phosphorous, magnesium and B6 all action packed in one nut. The nuts deliver 30 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Pistachios also contain higher amounts of fibre and excellent source of vegetable protein also. Oxidative stresses are extremely harmful for humans and this stress causes damage to the human body, resulting in diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Dietary antioxidants help to reduce this damage. Pistachios contain phenolic compounds, which are considered good for the antioxidant capability of certain foods.
Dry fruits are extremely beneficial to health. Due to their exotic way of preparation they are costly, but keeping that aside, dry fruit should form integral part of our diet as raw, cooked and milk foods are not sufficient to take care of our health. We need some catalysts to process energy building in our body faster.
7 dry fruits and nuts you MUST eat everyday!
Ditch those fried foods and packaged foods for your snack time munching and pack a handful of nuts and dry fruits for your evenings. These nuts not only pack an energetic punch but can relieve various health problems.
Figs for constipation: The next time you experience hard stools, try this miracle mixture. Add 2 – 3 dried figs (anjeer) to a glass of milk, boil it for 10 minutes and drink. It contains fibres that add bulk to your stools, relieving constipation.
Almonds for high blood pressure: A study published in the journal Free Radical Research revealed that eating an almond (badam) rich diet helps in maintaining your blood pressure. Especially men aged between 30 and 70 should eat almonds regularly.
Pistachios for diabetes: According to a study conducted by Journal of the American Heart Association, pistachios (pista) lower your risk of heart disease in diabetics. So munch a handful of nuts to prevent heart problems and also reap its nutrients like good fats, fibre, potassium and antioxidants.
Walnuts for sexual life: Eating 75 grams walnuts (akhrot) per day boosts your sperm quality, motility and vitality, says a study conducted by UCLA researchers. It has proved to be effective in improving the morphology of sperm in men aged 21 to 35.
Cashew nuts for gallstones: Did you know cashew nuts (kaju) lower your risk of getting gallstones by 25%? The study by Nurses’ Health Study revealed that eating about 28 nuts in a week might help you. Never thought preventing gallstones would be this easy!
Dates for heart disease: You might know that dates (khajur) are a storehouse of iron that helps prevent anaemia. But eating 100 gm of dates provides you around 656 mg of potassium, which in turn lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Raisins for weight loss: If weight loss is your goal, then replace your evening snacks with raisins (kishmish). Because, these dry fruits promote satiety by regulating the hormones that cause hunger and thus, help in cutting down your caloric intake.
Then, which dry fruit is your favourite..??