Most of us, in our school days, were told to munch on a handful of soaked almonds to improve our memory or eat a few dates for breakfast. Mothers and grandmothers would religiously soak, grind and blend a combination of dry fruits to be added to milk and fed to toddlers. These would be based on recipes passed on to them through generations for achieving weight gain and immunity for young children. Dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, dates, raisins etc. are traditionally known to be a powerhouse of nutrients. However, they should not be confused with the candied fruits that are less fruit and more of a sugar bomb. Here is a list of five commonly available and super-nutritious dry fruits that should be consumed every day for all the health benefits that they possess.
An everyday dry fruit you should never skip. One of the most commonly consumed dry-fruits, almonds have several health benefits for people across age-groups. Here are a few reasons on why you should munch on a handful of almonds every single day –
Being naturally high in monounsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E, almonds help in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Presence of Magnesium and Potassium also help to maintain normal blood pressure and heart function
High dietary fiber, proteins and good fats present in almonds makes you feel fuller and thus helps to avoid overeating. Studies have shown that those on an almond-enriched diet had greater reductions in weight, waistline circumference and body fat.
Blood Sugar Control
Experts believe that when almonds are had along with a meal, the monounsaturated fatty acids in almonds helps to slow down the release of glucose into the blood stream and thus prevents sudden spikes in the blood sugar levels.
Instead of consuming almond on its own, you could combine them with your meals as this would help lower the glycemic index of the accompanying food. Add sliced or chopped almonds to salads, pasta or a vegetable gravy.
A powerhouse of goodness. Including walnuts in your diet everyday can have several health benefits.
Walnuts have a number of neuroprotective compounds such as vitamin E, Omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants which help to enhance cognitive function. They help to fight stress and promote a sense of calm. According to studies, vitamin E and flavanoids in walnuts also help to destroy harmful free radicals that can cause dementia.
Cancer Fighting Properties
Regular consumption of Walnuts can help to reduce the risk of pancreatic and breast cancer as well as reduce the proliferation of cancer cells. Research has shown that its high ALA (Alpha Linolenic Acid, which is an Omega 3 Fatty acid) and melatonin content maybe responsible for its chemo-preventive properties.
Good for Skin and Hair
Walnuts are rich in B-vitamins and antioxidants that fight free radical damage thus delaying and helping prevent wrinkles and other signs of ageing. Further, the presence of Biotin helps to strengthen hair and reduces hair fall.
About 4 – 7 pieces of walnuts is the recommended quantity that can be consumed on a daily basis. Grind them and mix it with chapatti dough or use it in thicken soups, gravies, sauces, and stew.
3. Brazil Nuts
This South American nut has a long list of health benefits which make it fit for consumption regularly.
Brazil nuts are among the richest sources of Selenium which helps to maintain the normal functioning of Thyroid. Selenium serves as a catalyst in the production of the Thyroid hormone and thus regular consumption of Brazil nuts helps to improve the hormone level in patients with reduced levels.
Studies have shown that Brazil nuts can help in preventing the development of cancer. This is due to their high Selenium and Ellagic acid content. They enhance the effect of antioxidants which in turn can inhibit cell growth and thus prevent the formation of malignant tumours.
Brazil nuts are a rich source of Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium which help to regulate blood pressure. The unsaturated fats present in these nuts also help to increase the HDL or good cholesterol levels and thus helping reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Eating 2-3 Brazil nuts everyday day would be an optimum quantity. Mix these to your trail mixes or sprinkle over your porridge or daliya.
Don’t miss your date with this Iron-rich dried fruit
Dates are an excellent source of Iron and hence extremely beneficial for people suffering from Anemia.
Being naturally high in sugars such as glucose, fructose and sucrose, dates can give an immediate boost of energy. It is often used for breaking fasts since it helps to revitalise the body instantly.
The fibre content present in dates helps to promote digestion and also relieves constipation. Ripe dates are also rich in Potassium which has been shown to control diarrhea.
Have 2-3 dates in the afternoon or whenever you feel a little sluggish to get an instant energy boost.
The dried version of the beautiful orange fruit is full of antioxidants and good for your skin too.
Good for Eyes
Apricots, owing to their rich Pro-vitamin A and beta carotenoid content, are known to prevent age related loss of sight in older people. It also helps to strengthen the optic nerves.
Antioxidants and Iron Rich
Apricots have a very high level of antioxidants which helps to fight the negative effects of free radicals. They also have anti-cancer properties and inhibit cancerous growths. Apricots are a good source of Iron so regular consumption helps to prevent the development of anemia.
Healthy Skin and Bones
Apricots help in maintaining healthy bones due to their high calcium and potassium content. Calcium is required for bone formation and development while potassium is instrumental in the absorption, distribution and excretion of Calcium in the body. The presence of antioxidants and Vitamin C help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and gives the skin a smooth appearance. It also enables faster cell regeneration to replace the dead skin cells.
Include apricots in your daily meals by adding them to your morning breakfast cereal or a smoothie.