5 Amazing Dried Fruit Benefits for Digestive Health
Dried fruit benefits are most often associated with being a healthy part of a diet for constipation. For those regularly encountering blocked up bowels, dried fruits can provide a healthy dose of regularity and the support that the G.I. tract needs to maintain it. The reasons why they are so often selected for those aiming for good digestive health and battling the occasional bout of constipation may be surprising however, as there is much more than just one reason why they are powerhouses of goodness for the entire gastrointestinal system.
Dried fruits are the literal butt of many butt jokes for their ability to stave off constipation and their occasional ability to accidentally induce diarrhea. But, aside from this blockage busting ability, they have many other ways in which they contribute to good digestive health. We have compiled a list of the top 5 dried fruit benefits that you should consider before you write them off as just another home remedy.
1. Fiber Content: Of course, it goes without saying that the number one amazing health benefit of dried fruit is its enormous fiber content. Essentially, the reason why fruits are so chock full of beneficial dietary fiber is because when dried, the fruit loses little of its nutrition according to Wikipedia. Therefore, the nutrients are simply concentrated into the dried state of the much smaller dehydrated fruits. For those with a diet lacking in fiber, taking advantage of this most prominent of all dried fruit benefits can add to bowel regularity and thus, better overall digestive health with fewer bouts of stomach bloating, cramping and of course, constipation. And, pectin, a specific type of soluble fiber found in prunes, is also thought to reduce cholesterol.
2. Natural Laxatives: Some dried fruits pull double duty in terms of relieving colon distress such as sorbitol, one of the many benefits of prunes. According to WebMD, sorbitol, found in the dried plums, is actually a natural, mild laxative. The combination effect of a healthy heaping dose of fiber combined with the sorbitol found in prunes can easily remedy constipation in most cases.
3. Prebiotic Compounds: Some dried fruit benefits include the inclusion of prebiotic compounds such as fructans. It is thought that these contribute to proper balance within the digestive system and therefore greater overall digestive health. The benefits of raisins for instance, include these prebiotic compounds with the tiny dried fruit boasting inulin, a carbohydrate that is fiber-like that is thought to improve colon health.
4. Weight Management: Fruit is often enjoyed as a part of a healthy weight loss plan, and dried fruits can fit into that plan too and for even more reasons. Recent studies suggest that a diet that incorporates dried fruits can lead to lower body mass index measurements, a reduced risk of obesity and lower body weight. It is likely that dried fruit benefits for weight loss work in two different ways. Their fiber content which in most cases includes both soluble and insoluble fiber can contribute to a feeling of fullness that can help to curb cravings and prevent over eating. Additionally, it has been suggested that dried fruit benefits can have an effect on the actual hormones responsible for appetite regulation, such as leptin.
5. Aid in Nutrient Absorption: Many of the nutrients that the body requires for proper everyday functioning are absorbed through the intestines. Brittanica.com notes that calcium, for instance, is absorbed in the small intestine and how much of it is absorbed there will depend on the conditions of the lumen inside. It is thought that organic acids naturally occurring in some dried fruits like raisins and prunes can contribute to better absorption of essential nutrients like calcium within the small intestine and therefore increasing their bioavailability and lending to better overall digestive health.
Dried fruits have served as home remedies for constipation for thousands of years. It seems that every part of the world has a dried fruit selection specific to combating cases of blocked behinds. In the Mediterranean, the benefits of dried apricots have long been used for this purpose. And, the benefits of dates have been utilized for constipation in the Middle East since ancient times for digestive woes. Of course, stateside, prunes are the go to home remedy for constipation. However, as our top 5 list proves, the amazing dried fruit benefits for health do not stop at simply unclogging a colon. When part of a regular and well rounded diet, they can benefit the digestive system in a very wide variety of ways.