Some research has shown dried fruits to be as much as four times higher in antioxidants than their fresh counterparts. However, because most drying processes cause significant loss of other nutrients and concentrate sugar and calories, fresh fruit is a better bet in terms of nutrition.
Pretreatments in the drying process help protect some nutrients while degrading others. Often, fruits are briefly boiled or steamed before drying to speed up the drying process and kill disease-causing microorganisms. This blanching helps to preserve carotene and thiamine but causes the loss of vitamin C. Exposure to light and oxygen can further degrade nutrients.
Dried fruit has a few other benefits. It is high in fiber, so it may help relieve constipation, lower blood cholesterol and control diabetes. It is also a healthier alternative to other sugary snacks and a good source of quick energy for athletes or others who burn lots of calories. Many dried fruits are also high in iron, potassium and selenium, the all important nutrients for maintaining healthy blood and muscles. They are especially helpful to people who suffer from anaemia, so you might consider a daily handful of raisins if anaemia is a concern for you.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.