“Dry fruit and Nuts” can be a healthy alternative to junk food. Today the majority of people are addicted to junk foods. No doubt they save our time and tastes delicious but mostly devoid of nutrients rather they add to empty calories adding to weight problems and other disorders. Instead, we can try a healthier version of snacks which is the “dry fruits and Nuts”. In this article, I will try to emphasize some benefits of this nutritious, healthy snack. What do we actually mean by Dry-fruit and Nuts?
What are Dry-Fruit and Nuts?
When the moisture content if the natural fruits are removed by natural processes like sun drying or through specific dehydrators then we get the Dry fruits. Usually, by dry fruits, we mean Figs (Anjeer), Raisins, Date, etc. In Nuts we have Almonds, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts, and Cashew, etc.
Importance of dry fruit and Nuts. Why should we use them?
Dry fruits and Nuts have high prices as they are Nutritious, tasty and have a greater shelf life. Dry Fruits have many health benefits. In many cultures, dry fruits are considered a symbol of prosperity and health. In India, dry fruits are provided as a great gifting item. No doubt it is liked by all age groups. Another advantage of dry fruits and nuts is that it’s easily transportable. Usually available in small packages, they are an abundant source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Right from skin benefits to medicinal benefits: Here I will try to narrate the benefit of some of them
Starting with Various Nuts:
A. “Walnuts” one of the best Superfoods :
This nut looks like the human brain and is extremely healthy for the brain-boosting memory power due to the presence of vitamin E, folic acid.
- It helps in Weight Loss- as this speeds up metabolism
- Aids in Sleeping- Walnuts have a chemical called Melatonin this helps in sleeping. It also reduces jet lag.
- Used as hair Tonic- walnuts are high in Omega 3 fatty acids along with Biotin vitamin( B7), this helps to maintain hair structure strong and shiny
- Provides energy –antioxidants present in walnuts along with other vitamins delays the process of aging
- Good for Bone health- Copper, calcium, Zinc, and magnesium present in walnuts helps bone health and fights problems like arthritis and osteoporosis. In the case of fractures, healing is faster with regular use of walnuts.
- Heart disease at bay: Amino acids, omega 3 fatty acid aids to prevent any coronary problems.
- In Diabetes prevention: walnuts prevent the sugar carvings thus effective for diabetic patients
- In Thyroid/depression: Walnuts have Selenium and Iodine; these two are effective in controlling the thyroid hormones as well as stress and depression
- Beneficial in Fighting Cancer: Research shows that cell growth in prostate and breast cancer is on the lower side by 30-40% with walnut uses.
- In Infertility: Both in females and males walnuts can help in conceiving. Particularly in males, it increases the sperm count.
Walnuts also have some disadvantages like;
- Since it is hot it is advisable to eat in winter. Still, you can eat a few in summers
- If you are allergic please stop the usage of walnuts
For Storing: Please use airtight containers in the freezer as the nuts get damaged in warm weather.
It is interesting to note that the brain is similar in appearance to a walnut. if you remove the shell of walnut you will see that it is in two parts .right and left. at the surface of the brain is ribbed, so is that of the walnut. it is as if nature is trying to tell us that- if you want your brain to function well eat a few walnuts every day.
B. Almonds: Extensively used everywhere
One of the most commonly consumed dry-fruits by all age groups. Here I will try to share some benefits
- Heart Health – Almonds are naturally high in monounsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E, thus help in maintaining a healthy cholesterin range. An abundance of magnesium and potassium also helps to maintain normal BP and heart function.
b. In Weight Management – High dietary fiber, proteins and good fats present in almonds makes you feel fuller and thus restrains from overeating. From studies, the report suggests that those on an almond-rich diet have greater reductions in weight, waistline circumference, and body fat.
c. In Blood Sugar Control – Experts believe that when almonds are taken along with a meal, the monounsaturated fatty acids in almonds helps to slow down the release of monosaccharide sugar into the bloodstream and thus prevents sudden spikes in the blood sugar levels.
If you are healthy, then Almonds are good for you. Dry Fruits are harmful to people who are heart patients, or who have high cholesterol. they should be cautious about their diet .pay attention to your diet and trying to keep it as natural as possible. there are some fruits and vegetables that are beneficial for the heart. Eg: The shape of the heart resembles of pomegranate. it juice is very beneficial for heart patient .bottle gourd and white pumpkin are also very useful .drinking the juice of a white pumpkin on an empty stomach early morning, after doing asanas and Pranayama, thin the blood and strengthens the heart
C. Cashew Nuts -Do you consider it good for health :
- Heart Health: Fat content of cashew is lower than other nuts, the antioxidants present makes it good for a healthy heart
- Cancer prevention: Due to the presence of high copper content and flavonols it is ideal for fighting against cancerous cells particularly the colon cancer.
- Reduces Blood pressure: The presence of magnesium is responsible for lowering BP in a person. Persons with hypertension can use it in moderation
- Healthy bones and nerves: Presence of calcium, magnesium help in the development of strong bones and a good are high of the body.
- Prevention of gallstones and weight loss: Cashew has good cholesterol so it’s beneficial in weight loss if taken twice or thrice a week.
- Antioxidants and hair health: Selenium, copper, magnesium and other vitamins help to maintain the black shine of the hair besides maintaining a youthful look by combating the free radicals in the body.
Time to explain some popular dry fruits
Dates are Iron-rich dry fruit. Talk about winters and this superfood -or the most delicious dry fruit comes to our mind. Dates are eaten in any form. In dessert or as a snack as well and at any time. To me its health benefits are
- Iron Content – Dates are an excellent source of Iron and hence extremely beneficial for people suffering from low hemoglobin count. If you feel that you’ve been suffering from the symptoms of anemia, then you may add dates to your daily diet. You can take this with milk also. It acts as a good blood purifier
b. Energy Booster – Being naturally high in sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose, dates can give an immediate energy boost. It is applicable for breaking fasts since it helps to revitalize the body instantly.
c. Eases Digestion/Kidney problems – The fiber content present in dates helps to promote metabolism and also relieves constipation. It is a very good home remedy to keep constipation at bay. Ripe dates being rich in Potassium helps in controlling loose motion. Potassium checks BP level, and early kidney problems are, reduced.
- Weight Management: Dates are both for weight reduction and weight gain. For weight gain, one can consume 4-5 pieces with milk.
- Cough control: Boiling 15-20 pieces of dates with milk, taking the concentrated mixture can help in reducing cough.
B.Raisins- a versatile superfood
These are highly nutritious packed with protein, carbohydrate, iron, calcium, selenium, etc and vitamins and sweet in taste and impart instant energy. This is usually taken by bodybuilders, sportspersons and in general, anyone can consume it. Besides taken as a snack, raisins are used in various sweet dishes. But in my opinion, the best way to consume raisins is to soak 6-10 pieces in a glass of water at night and consume these raisins and water in the morning.
Let me explain the health benefits of raisins :
- Strengthens bones: The presence of calcium makes it useful for bone health. Regular consumption helps to reduce gout.
- Weight Gain: the presence of both fructose and glucose aids in weight gain. For instant energy, take it before exercise
- Good for eyesight: The presence of powerful antioxidants helps in reducing the weakening of vision eliminating the causes of cataract formation and macular degeneration.
- Better teeth and gum health: Calcium, phytochemicals and oleanolic acid help to maintain the teeth enamels preventing cavity formation. It also reduces bacteria that cause gum infections like gingivitis and other periodontal diseases
- Aids In Digestion and bowel movement: raisins have high fiber content; thus aids in the digestion process and also regulates the bowel moment. Regular consumption reduces constipation.
- In Blood formation and circulation: Aids in New blood formation, thus advised to persons with anemia. This also increases blood circulation in the scalp helping the hair follicles. It also reduces dandruff and thus prevents hair fall.
- It Reduces fever and other infections: Antibacterial properties of raisins help to fight with bacteria and viruses reducing fever, cold cough, and other infections.
- Blood pressure and heart health: The presence of potassium makes it good for high blood pressure patients. It is also good for heart health and reduces the risks of strokes.
- In tumors and cancers: Raisins are high in catechins which helps fight cancer.
- Prevents acidity: Potassium and magnesium are two of the common components of antacids as one considers them basic on the pH scale. Raisins have a high amount of both potassium and magnesium helping in reducing the acidic toxicity of the blood.
Besides the mentioned items there are other varieties of dry fruit and nuts available which are also very healthy alternatives to junk food.
Dry Fruit- dried apple, dried cherry, dried coconut, dried mango, dried fig, dried apricots, etc. We can use them in various sweet dishes or consume as energy-boosters with milk.
Nuts: Pistachios, peanuts, hazelnuts, Marcona almonds, brazil nuts, pine nuts, etc. Well, the majority finds application as snacks or added to milkshakes, cakes, pastries.