Dried fruit: the beneficial properties

by Francesca Soccorsi

It goes di fashion the dried fruit in shell. Nutritionists include it in all food plans, even those who must lose weight. The most popular chefs decline it in unexpected versions: Heinz beck stuffs the veal with almonds and pine nuts, Pietro Leemann seasons the wholemeal risotto with hazelnuts and cashews, Carlo Cracco wraps the celery in chopped walnuts and almonds.

Il Ministry of Health places it among the indispensable foods in the last handbook for the Holidays, entitled Let's give ourselves health. Meanwhile, the turnover of the sector is growing. In the first months of the year it increased by 34,9% compared to the same period of 2015 (source: Fruitimprese based on Istat data processing).

Yet, in the past, the dried fruit it could count on few supporters, due to the high fat content and, therefore, the many calories. How are things?


Dried fruit is a concentrate of useful substances all'organism. Has been fibers, which promote intestinal transit, modulate the absorption of sugars and satiate.

Good amount of proteins, minerals (including calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc), Vitamins (in particular some of group B and E, a powerful natural antioxidant), but above all unsaturated fats, such as linoleic, alpha-linoleic and oleic, important for the heart health, because they regulate the levels of cholesterol», Explains Dr. Cinzia Longobucco, a nutrition biologist in Bari.

The best way to consume it? TO breakfast, with a fruit salad, or as snack in the afternoon, accompanied by a fresh juice.


But it is undeniable that dried fruit has many calories: 100 g provide an average of 500-600. “For this reason it is good do not eat more than 20-30g per day, which correspond, for example, to 4-6 walnuts or 12-15 almondsContinues the expert.

When choosing, the advice is to bet on the unpeeled one (the skin contains fibers and antioxidants), not toasted (high temperatures degrade the quality of fats) and without added salt. “Even better if you opt for the "full" version: the shell protects the fruit and keeps it longer ”, adds Cinzia Longobucco.


There are, then, some categories of people who should greatly limit the consumption of dried fruit: «In case of gastritis and irritable bowel syndrome, munching a lot of it can make symptoms worse, ”says the nutritionist.

Finally, some varieties should be avoided altogether in case of allergy: at the top of the list of potential allergens there have always been peanuts, which can cause hives, asthma, or other ailments.


In Blacklists of the most "polluted" foods, recently drawn up by Coldiretti, some varieties of imported dried fruit appear: hazelnuts from Turkey, which have values ​​above the limit of aflatoxins, peanuts from China and pistachios from Iran and the United States, which are contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals. These are substances that are impossible to identify with the naked eye.

«The advice is therefore to buy only organic country products, to at least avoid the risk of taking chemical pollutants », says Cinzia Longobucco. Avoiding aflatoxins, on the other hand, is difficult. They grow in hot and humid environments: therefore pay attention to the climate of the country of production, but also where you buy them and how you keep them. 

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