I was hoping this post on dried fruit would enlighten why dried fruit is not a healthy snack.
While it’s true that dried fruit is potentially not a healthy snack for some people as the sugar content in dried fruit is quite high, Ayurveda provides us deeper insight into who dried fruit is good for, who it is not good for, and how to prepare it.
Like most everything in Ayurveda what you call ‘healthy’ depends on who you are (your constitution), how the food is prepared and the manner in which it is eaten.
Dried fruit is convenient. Alone it’s the go-to snack for campers, hikers, day trippers and travelers. It’s also found in granola cereals and trail mix, added to hot cereals and baked into desserts.
The fruit sugar content of dried fruit is higher than that of fresh fruit, as the water content is removed. And dried fruit is well, dry. It lacks moisture.
When considering what foods to eat and which to avoid, look at the qualities of the foods and your ability to digest them. Consider your Ayurvedic constitution and which qualities you need to create balance within your system.
The qualities of dried fruit are dry (lacking water and moisture), generally sweet in taste or maybe astringent, rough and heavy.
Vata Dosha & Dried Fruit
If you’re a Vata dominant individual or have a Vata imbalance then dried fruit should be avoided, unless it is soaked and re-hydrated.
Why? Vata dosha is the air and ether element of the body. When in excess, Vata creates dryness, constipation, fear, anxiety and insecurity. When Vata dosha is in balance, it expresses as creativity, mobility, flexibility.
Reducing excess Vata dosha involves reducing our intake of air, which dries. Avoid carbonation (air bubbles), dry foods like dried fruit, granola, crackers, popcorn, chips, and an excess of rough, raw foods like salads (also drying). Choose foods with moisture like juicy fresh fruit, soups and stews and grounding cooked root vegetables.
Rehydrate dried fruits and vegetables by soaking them in water or oil overnight.
This Breakfast Recipe is a great example of how Vata dosha can prepare and enjoy dried fruit. Pin it to your Pinterest recipe board or Vata dosha board.
Dried Fruit & Pitta Dosha
Pitta dominant individuals are intelligent, firey individuals with a strong digestion. They may be prone to bouts of anger, irritability, judgment and criticism.
Dried fruits and other dry foods may be easy for Pitta to digest. If digestion is not a problem, Pittas should consider tastes to avoid and tastes to favor which may affect Pitta dosha.
If you’re a Pitta dominant individual, avoid the sour taste or use in moderation. Apples, apricots, bananas, berries, cherries and green fruits may be sour.
Favor sweet and bitter foods. Sweet fruits may include apples, dates, berries, grapes, mangoes, prunes and raisins.
Dried Fruit & Kapha Dosha
Kapha dosha is sweet in itself. It is the earth and water elements in the body and mind, and is stable, structured, heavy, dense and liquid.
Kapha dosha can enjoy dried and astringent fruits like cranberries, figs, prunes and raisins. Kaphas should avoid sweet fruits and moist, watery, heavy fruits like bananas, avocados, coconuts, melons, papaya, figs and watermelons.
Best fruits for Kapha include apples, apricots, cranberries, grapes, persimmons and pomegranates.
Our sugar intake is certainly something to be mindful of, and dried fruits are certainly high in sugar.
Yet we must also consider the qualities of the foods we eat and our own unique constitution when making decisions about what is healthy for us, and what is not. Balance opposite qualities in the system for a positive affect on emotional, physical and mental health.