Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dried Fruits To Reduce Bone Loss And Cardiovascular Disease

Dried fruits are among the most powerful of the high potassium foods. Foods high in potassium reduce bone loss, helping to protect against osteoporosis. They also reduce blood pressure, helping prevent stroke and heart attack. Many fruits have a good amount of potassium in them. When they are dried, the potassium becomes concentrated, giving you twice as much potassium in the same weight of food.

How the fruit is dried is important. Some fruits sold as "dried fruit" are infused with sweetener, and some are candied. The best dried fruits are dried the traditional or conventional way by drying them in the sun or in a dehydrator. Another good way that preserves the potassium and does not disturb the sugar, micronutrient and macronutrient contents is freeze drying. The fruit is frozen and then placed in a vacuum. As the fruit is heated, the water is extracted while the fruit is still frozen.

Dried Fruit

The fruits that are treated in these ways are the ones that have been available for millenia as dried fruit - raisins, dates, figs, prunes and apricots. Some that are recent additions to the dried fruit group are infused with sucrose syrup or are candied, and will have a much higher sugar content. Check the sugar content of this type of "dried fruit" to avoid excessive sugar. Frequently, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, and cherries have been infused with sucrose, and pineapple is frequently candied.

Although fruits generally have a fair amount of sugar, the traditionally dried fruits have a low to moderate glycemic index. They range from 29 for dried plums and apples to 62 for dates. This slower absorption of the sugar is related to the sugar being in a more bound form than present in a processed food.

Much of the sugar is bound within fiber in the fruit. When the fiber is soluble, it helps retard atherosclerosis. When the fiber is insoluble, it helps speed the food through the intestines, reducing the accumulation of digestive byproducts.

Being in such a concentrated form, the vitamins and phytochemicals that fight free radicals are plentiful. These are additional weapons against the cardiovascular disease and cancer that is more uncommon in populations eating lots of fruit and vegetables. To find a table of dried fruits and their potassium and macronutrient content, visit

Dried Fruits To Reduce Bone Loss And Cardiovascular Disease

Allen Potas is a physician with a decades long interest in nutrition for health and well-being.

high potassium foods

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