The dried fruit that can treat everyday ailments
22:50 GMT, 17 September 2012
Easy to eat on the run, dried fruit can be good for your health too. Here’s what to choose for your body:
Cherries may be beneficial for a range of inflammatory-related conditions
Raisins are one of the richest sources of boron, a mineral documented to reduce bone loss in post-menopausal women. Sprinkle a handful into calcium-rich yoghurt for optimum bone-benefits and add pecans, another food rich in boron.
Average boron intake is 1-2mg a day, but a minimum of 3mg (and maximum of 10mg daily) is probably healthier.
Feeling exhausted can make you crave sugary snacks. Dates are a great alternative as they have a relatively low glycaemic index (GI), which means they release their sugars slowly and keep energy levels steady, despite their intense sweetness.
Eat with protein — a handful of walnuts, for example — to keep you feeling full.
GOUT: Dried cherries
The anthoycyanins in cherries, particularly the sour, or tart, type that are found in most health stores, may be beneficial for a range of inflammatory-related conditions, including arthritis, gout and post-exercise muscle soreness.
A recent study by University of Michigan researchers revealed a cherry-enriched diet reduced inflammation markers in animals by up to 50 per cent. An effective ‘dose’ for humans seems to be half a cup of dried cherries twice a day.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Dried apricots
Dried apricots weigh in with more than three times the potassium content of bananas and contain only a trace of salt.
That’s good for keeping down blood pressure — potassium counters the water-retaining properties of sodium, keeping blood volume lower. Recent research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta showed that consuming more potassium than sodium is protective against high blood pressure and heart disease.
Eating apricots dried means you’re likely to eat more, so will take in more nutrients.
Dried apricots have a much higher potassium content than bananas
BLADDER INFECTIONS: Dried cranberries
If you’re prone to bladder infections — and 20 per cent of women suffer recurrent problems — snack on dried cranberries.
In a U.S. study, two handfuls (42.5g) reduced the ‘stickiness’ of E.coli bacteria in infected women’s urine samples.
This means fewer urinary infections because the bacteria cannot attach to the bladder wall.
Proanthocyanidins are the active ingredient in cranberries that provide this anti-adherence effect.
Your mother was right — six prunes (50g) twice daily proved better at easing constipation than the laxative ispaghula (the active ingredient in Fybogel), according to a recent study. Prunes are rich in sorbitol, which draws water into the stool, making it easier to pass.
Vegetarian Four dried figs supply a quarter of the recommended daily allowance of anaemia-protective iron. To get the full advantage, eat as part of an orange juice-steeped compote — vitamin C helps improve the iron your body absorbs from plant sources.