Washington: The idea that dried fruits may not be as healthy as their fresh counterparts has long prevailed.
But now, a new study has suggested that traditional dried fruits such as dried apricots, dried apples, dates, dried figs, raisins and sultanas, and prunes should be included in dietary recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake around the world.
"Dried fruits are great sources of total and soluble fiber in the diet," said Dr. Daniel D. Gallaher of the University of Minnesota. "Just as fresh fruit, they have low glycemic index values and can play an important role in preventing different aspects of metabolic diseases."
In addition to providing fiber, dried fruits rank among the top potassium sources in diets around the world, according to Dr. Arianna Carughi, Health and Nutrition Research Coordinator for the California Dried Fruit Coalition.
Dried fruits also contain a range of increasingly important bioactive phenolic compounds, as well as specific vitamins and minerals, unique to each fruit, she said.
"There is little doubt that plant polyphenols protect from heart disease. The health effects are complex and they appear to work in many different ways, not just simply as antioxidants," said Dr. Gary Williamson of the University of Leeds.
"Some fruits including dried fruits contain high levels of a variety of polyphenols and we are just starting to understand their health protective effect,” he added.
The study was presented at the 30th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress.