Dehydrated fruits are an easy and convenient way to reach your recommended daily fruits intake. Dried apples are among the popular fruits that you can munch on every day. But, is eating dried apples really healthy? And what are the benefits of dried apple to your body’s overall well-being?
What are dried apples?
Apples are known to be tasty and juicy fruits. But what if you strip off all its water content? Will it be as good a snack as fresh apples?
Dried or dehydrated apples pertain to apple fruits that have their original water contents removed from them. They look like lightly-browned, thinly-sliced versions of fresh apples. Dried apples are often commercially-produced, but you can also make your own homemade version.
Dried apples are naturally sweet, making them a great-tasting snack alternative to fresh apples. Think of them as fruit chips in snack-size portions.
Drying apples is one of the oldest and simplest ways of preserving the fruit. Drying removes the water that food-spoiling microorganisms and enzymes use to thrive. Some methods for drying apples include the following:
- Industrial Dehydration
- Using wind-tunnel dryers for mass production of dried apple
- Placing apples in a dehydrator
- Drying through an oven
Dried apples are packed in resealable food storage bags or containers. This makes them more hygienic and even less likely to spoil than apples preserved through canning methods.
Stocking up on dried apples is a common way to ensure that you have enough fruit supply for the winter months. It can be hard to find fresh apples and other fruits during winter, so people purchase lots of dried apples beforehand.
Health benefits of eating dried apple
Some people have the misconception that dried fruits are not as healthy as fresh ones. This is a myth that truly needs to be busted. It’s because dried fruits such as apples also offer a lot of health benefits for everyone. Light, crisp, and delicious dried apples give you a host of healthy goodness. The following list enumerates the health benefits of dried apples:
1- Dried apples prevent constipation and keep you full for long
Other methods of preserving fruits typically strip off the fruit’s fiber content. But not for dried apples.
One of the benefits of dried apples is that it packs a high amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Half a cup of dried apples already gives you approximately 3-4 grams of dietary fiber, sufficient to cover 13-20% of your daily fiber requirements.
Fiber keeps you satiated by preventing spikes in your blood sugar levels after meals. It also helps flush away toxins and harmful bacteria from your gut. Fiber softens your stool to keep constipation at bay as well. Soluble fiber is responsible for controlling your blood sugar levels, while insoluble fiber keeps your gut clean.
Choose dried apples that still have their skin, as it is where most of the fiber comes from.
2- Dried apple contains B-vitamins that are good for the hormones, brain, and energy
Dried apples contain two essential B-vitamins that promote energy metabolism, improve hormonal balance, and nourish the brain. They are pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6).
Pantothenic acid is responsible for helping your body create energy from the food you eat. It is also vital in hormone production. Dried apples contain approximately 3% of your recommended daily intake of the vitamin.
Pyridoxine is a B-vitamin that aids in metabolizing proteins and helps in creating neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical transmitters in the brain that improve brain response and function. Dried apples can cover around 6% of your recommended daily pyridoxine intake.
3- Dried apples improve cellular health
Dried apples are a rich source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols. These are substances that help fight off damage to your cells caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules and atoms given off by substances such as air pollutants, pesticides, alcohol, and fried foods. Free radicals are absorbed by the body and cause damage to the cell through a process known as oxidation. This means that free radicals take the electrons found in the cell, leaving it with damaged proteins, membranes, and DNA.
Damaged cells can occur in any organ and system of your body. You might be unknowingly experiencing cellular damage in some parts of your body. Some symptoms of cellular damage may include physical fatigue, dry, dull skin, and mental instability.
Polyphenols are antioxidants that help damaged cells regenerate themselves. They can neutralize free radicals by replacing the electrons stolen from the cells. Polyphenols also help in reducing the number of free radicals that enter the body.
One of the benefits of dried apples is that it improves polyphenol levels in the body. The antioxidants released through eating dried apples help your cells cope with the effects of cellular damage. Your body’s cells will be nourished and will be equipped to heal themselves faster, leading to an increase in energy, a noticeable glow on your skin, and an improvement in your mood and mental function.
4- Dried apples increase your mineral intake
Minerals are a vital substance to keeping your body healthy. Some people might be surprised to know that among the benefits of dried apples is their mineral content. Dried apples carry key minerals that can contribute to your overall health and well-being:
- Potassium – Half a cup of dried apples contains approximately 4% of your daily potassium needs. Potassium is vital for keeping your electrolyte and water levels in check. It’s also a mineral linked to improved brain and nervous system function.
- Sodium – Like potassium, sodium is essential for keeping the water balance in your body. It also helps regulate blood volume and blood pressure. 40 grams of dried apples carry around 180 mg of sodium, which is approximately 8% of your recommended daily intake.
- Iron – This mineral helps in creating fresh red blood cells, which then carry off oxygen in your blood to various parts of your body. Iron content in dried apples can cover 3-8% of your recommended daily intake.
Dried apples also contain trace minerals in tiny amounts, such as selenium, copper, and manganese.
5- Dried apples help maintain a healthy weight
Dried apples have zero fat content, making them an ideal snack for people who are currently watching their weight. They are also naturally sweet and can perfectly complement healthy foods such as salads and vegetables.
Be wary of eating lots of dried apples in one sitting, though. You can easily overeat them because of the small serving size. Stick to one cup of dried apples per meal to control your calorie intake.
Also, choose natural or organic options when buying commercially-prepared dried apples to spare yourself from the extra sugar in some candied varieties. Better yet, prepare your own homemade dried apples through your oven to ensure that no added sugars are included in your snack.
There are lots of health benefits of dried apples that you simply cannot ignore. Branding them as nutritionally-lacking compared to their fresh fruit counterparts is simply a myth.
Dried apples improve your health in a myriad of ways. Eating them regularly:
- Keeps you satiated
- Improves your gut health
- Helps you metabolize more energy
- Helps improve brain and nerve function
- Fights off cellular damage
- Regulate water balance and blood volume
- Improve oxygen delivery in the body
- Help keep you at your ideal healthy weight
So, go ahead and stock up on dried apples. They’re a deliciously nutritious snack that keeps your tummy and body healthy and happy. It’s indeed a snack that’s good for you.
Ref: Drying All Foods