Celebrating the Real Goodness of Dried Fruit!
DRIED FRUIT MONTH
South Africa’s first-ever Dried Fruit Month kicks off on 1 March 2021. The campaign, which is spearheaded by Dried Fruit South Africa aims to remind and educate consumers about the natural goodness of dried fruit. At the same time, it also wants to dispel some of the myths that have arisen around this wholesome pantry staple in recent years.
Dried Fruit South Africa is an industry initiative driven by a number of key dried fruit players and was formed at the end of 2019. The purpose of the collaboration is to expand the sector’s growth potential. A series of marketing campaigns were subsequently introduced to educate consumers on the benefits of dried fruit as integral to a balanced lifestyle and as a healthier snacking alternative. Some still say it’s no better than candy, but let’s dive into why it is actually healthy for you.
What is dried fruit?
Dried fruit is a fruit that has had almost all of the water content removed through drying methods. The fruit shrinks during this process, leaving a small, energy-dense dried fruit. This is often done using a sun-dried method.
Dried fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. It is also high in phenolic antioxidants, which have numerous health benefits.
SO, WHY is dried fruit seen as bad for some people? Sometimes, dried fruit contains added sugar, this is the dried fruit to limit. It is also known as candied fruit. Some fruits are coated in sugar or syrup prior to being dried. Simply ready the ingredient information on the packaging.
Dried fruit can boost your fibre and nutrient intake and supply your body with large amounts of antioxidants. However, they are also high in sugar and calories and can cause problems when eaten in excess. Eat dried fruit in small amounts. As you have heard many times, everything in moderation!
Miss Real Deal pageant
Look out for the Miss Real Deal pageant during South Africa’s very first Dried Fruit Month this March. Follow the quirky contestants on Facebook and Instagram to be inspired, informed and entertained. And don’t forget to check out some recipes for some new ways to enjoy wholesome dried fruit. For more useful dried fruit benefits, visit www.driedfruitsa.co.za/getreal
A new series of wholesome recipes developed by a team of local nutritionists will be released throughout the month. Also available as a download is the Dried Fruit SA Kids Activity E-Book. It was created to support parents to help engage their children in healthy eating experiences, to teach them to recognise different dried fruits, and to encourage them to experiment with new foods, tastes flavours, colours and textures.
12 Reasons to Rather Snack on Dried Fruit
Staying healthy and active while being confined to home most of the time can be tough. And the easiest snacks to reach for aren’t always the best ones. How about ditching the empty calories for real and natural goodness.
Packed with loads of vitamins, nutrients and fibre to support your immune system, these dried fruits contain no added sugar, are vegan friendly and the perfect naturally sweet solution to your daily snack cravings.
If you’re not that familiar with the benefits of dried fruit, here are 12 reasons why you should snack on goodness you can trust:
- They are great for lifestyle diets, such as gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan.
- Most prunes and raisins are generally preservative-free.
- The long shelf-life means that dried fruit can be enjoyed all year round.
- They are a fantastic source of fibre.
- Dried peaches have 50% more protein than most dried fruit, which means they are ideal for a vegan diet.
- Raisins have the same benefits as berries, which contain flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Raisins, paired with a source of vitamin C, help the body to absorb iron.
- They are a concentrated form of nutrients, which means you need small amounts to reap the same benefits as fresh fruit.
- They are naturally cholesterol and sodium-free.
- Apricots also contain sorbitol, which means they are a great snacking option for people suffering from diabetes.
- They are considered nutrient-dense, which means they can aid in reaching specific nutrition goals.
- Some dried fruits, like raisins, have cholesterol-lowering qualities.
Dried Fruit Portion Selection Tips:
- Prudent dietary advice recommends that all people (adults and children) should aim to eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily.
- Dried fruit is equivalent to the same piece of fresh fruit with regards to most nutrients with the exception of Vitamin C.
- Because of this, it can be regarded as a valuable option to help everyone reach this dietary goal – and even more so where a person requires more fibre or eat more nutrient-dense foods instead of empty calories.
- The equivalent amount of dried versus fresh fruit would be a half equals a half of a fruit.
- The size will make a difference, and if it’s smaller, you could count 4-6 halves as a portion of fruit.
- Keep in mind though that, dried fruit won’t have the same satiating effect that fruit may have as a result of the low fluid content.
- Proper digestion requires water, so it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water with your dried fruits if you want to get maximum nutritional impact.
For more useful dried fruit benefits visit www.driedfruitsa.co.za
Health Benefits of the 7 ‘contestants’ in the Dried Fruit Month Pageant
Information brought to you thanks to Dried Fruit South Africa.
Dried pears are a great Low GI snack. Pears are typically higher than most dried fruits in Dietary Fibre, this can promote improved digestion and gut health.
- High in dietary fibre
- High in energy
- High in carbohydrates
- Portable and easy for travel – needs
- Stays fresh in hot or cold conditions
- No sugar added
Dried apples naturally contain a particular type of fibre called pectin. Pectin is linked to several emerging benefits, including lower cholesterol and improved blood sugar control. Pectin can also be considered a value of the different types of fibre by supporting micro-organisms found in our gut of particular importance to people who may experience gut issues.
- High in Energy
- High in Carbohydrates
- High in Dietary Fibre
Did you know that typically, when dried, they may have a lower than expected effect on blood sugar compared to the fresh alternative? This makes the dried form lower in calories. Dried nectarines are high in beta-carotene. With no added sugar or sulphur, nectarines are a super nutritious snack.
- High in energy.
- High in carbohydrates.
- Source of immune boosting properties.
- Easy for travel – needs no wrapping.
Dried peaches won’t spike your blood sugar because they contain a sustainable source of natural sugar that’s easier on your system. Did you know, dried peaches have 50% or more protein than most dried fruit?
- High in energy
- High in carbohydrates.
- Easy for travel – needs no wrapping
- Regarded as a LOW GI food.
Rich in iron and high in energy, raisins are the perfect naturally sweet treat. Raisins are in fact dried grapes. Instead of refined sugar, why not stir in some raisin magic into your oats, muffins or favourite rusk recipe?
- A source of dietary fibre
- High in energy and carbohydrates.
- Raisins are generally regarded as intermediate GI food ideal for active individuals
- Stays fresh and easy to handle without becoming sticky or runny
Prunes are a special type of dried plum.
- High in energy
- Made without the addition of Sulphur Dioxide.
- Sorbitol changes the way your gut functions – influencing the motility of your digestive tract.
- Prunes are generally regarded as a LOW GI food.
Like prunes, have a delicious sweet taste as the result of a type of ‘sugar’ called sorbitol. Fortunately for us, our digestive enzymes are unable to absorb this sugar. This is why sorbitol can be safely used to sweeten diet or diabetic treats. And if you need to boost your digestive system function, Apricots will do the trick.
- High in energy
- High in Carbohydrate
- Source of dietary fibre