A: You've heard the old saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." As it turns out, the nutritional benefits of a crisp, fresh apple are similar if you eat dried apples — or many other types of dried fruit.
According to a study published by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, dried fruit packs the same nutritional punch as fresh fruit. And eating dried fruits may facilitate greater overall fruit consumption and contribute to better diet quality and nutrient intake if done in moderation.
Specifically, the study showed that dietary fiber, potassium and polyunsaturated fat intakes were greater on days when people ate dried fruit compared with days they did not. Since adults age 60 and older have similar or even increased nutrient needs compared with younger adults, dried fruits can be a helpful and concentrated source of nutrients. For example, the high-fiber and natural laxative content of dried fruits, including prunes, raisins, figs and apricots, make them a great dietary option for preventing constipation.
The nutritional benefits are especially important since roughly 80% of the U.S. population doesn't eat enough fruit to meet daily dietary guidelines. As a general rule, try to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal.
Although dried fruit can be a concentrated form of nutrients, dried fruit is also more calorie dense. In addition, many packaged dried fruits are sweetened. This can be an issue when limiting added sugar and trying to maintain or achieve a healthy weight.
That doesn't mean you...
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