Dry fruits are a must during winter in Pakistan. They are usually consumed in winter as they can keep you warm and strengthen your immunity against common winter diseases. Dry fruits provide your body with energy, protein, vitamins, and essential nutrients.
Some nuts are also known as dry fruits as they have similar properties. Dry fruits are a healthier alternative to fried foods, so it is recommended to add a portion of dry fruit to your daily meals if you want to lose weight. Some health benefits of these nutrient-packed dry fruit are that they improve digestion, strengthen immunity, benefits skin health, and fights against diseases.
Luckily, Pakistan produces many dry fruits. The areas with abundant dry fruit production are Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan. Pakistan also exports dry fruits to many countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and many more.
They are readily available in the market and are eaten raw or used in dishes. Remember, moderation is vital because consuming too much dry fruit can lead to problems such as digestive issues, weight gain, etc.
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8 Best dry fruits for winter
Following are the must-have dry fruits for this winter:
1. Walnuts (Akhrot)
Walnuts are full of nutrients that make them a healthy, tasty snack. They have a supple amount of antioxidants that reduce damage from bad cholesterol and benefit skin health. Fatty acids in walnuts can be beneficial for your heart and aid in reducing the risk of heart disease.
They also increase the good bacteria in the gut and improve gut health. Good gut health can prevent many diseases. Walnuts also contain Vitamin E and polyunsaturated fats, which makes them beneficial for your brain by decreasing inflammation and supporting brain health.
A one-fourth cup of walnut contains about 190 calories, often used in salads, desserts, stir-fry, and yogurt. Some people may be allergic to walnuts and should avoid them, and walnuts can cause digestive issues if taken in excess.
2. Almonds (Badaam)
Almonds are known for improving memory. After soaking them overnight, consuming them in the morning can help with cognitive function. They contain abundant Vitamin E that, can improve memory and reduce the risk of dementia in older people.
They can also prevent plaque development in your arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease. Almonds have high magnesium too, which can help manage your blood sugar levels. As they have fiber, healthy fats, and protein, they may aid weight loss.
A one-fourth cup (23 almonds) have 162 calories. They can be eaten raw or roasted, and Almond milk and flour have many uses. You can also use them as a garnish for desserts, such as kheer.
3. Cashew nuts (Kaju)
Cashews are nuts that are full of nutrients and have many benefits for your health. They are rich in magnesium, copper, and manganese, which promote brain function, bone health, and the immune system. It also contains antioxidants that help protect against diseases.
Cashews may also improve heart health by increasing good cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. They are also a good source of energy. Cashew is a versatile nut that you can use in many dishes, such as soups, salads, and stews. Many traditional Pakistani sweets, such as Barfi and Laddu, use cashew nuts.
One-fourth cup of cashews contains 170 calories, which makes them a low-calorie nut that can help with weight loss. It can be eaten as a snack or with salads. However, it is essential to note that raw cashews have high salt and oil, and you can roast them to decrease the oil and salt content.
4. Pistachios (Pista)
Pistachios are famous in Pakistan for their fantastic taste. Pistachios are high in potassium and healthy fat, which are beneficial for your heart and have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Pistachios are advantageous for gut health as they increase good gut bacteria.
It can also heighten the ratio of good bacteria to harmful bacteria, making it helpful for your heart health. They also keep you full for longer due to their fiber and protein content, helping you lose weight.
A one-fourth cup of pistachios contains 173 calories, which makes it an enjoyable snack for weight watchers. Eat them in moderate amounts as they contain sodium. Consuming sodium in large quantities can harm your health. They are used in sweets, icecreams and as a dressing for sweet dishes.
5. Dried dates
Dates are a superfood found in most houses in Pakistan. They are eaten raw or used in desserts, and dates contain magnesium, potassium, iron, and calcium that can improve your health. Dried dates are a rich source of polyphenols that can aid in managing diabetes, improving digestion, and preventing cancer.
They also reduce inflammation in the body and detox it. It is also helpful for pregnant women as it can resolve digestive issues and induce labor successfully and naturally. Dates are also a rich energy source and are found in protein bars.
A one-fourth cup of chopped dry dates contains 125 calories. Even though it is high in calories, it has a low glycemic acid due to its high fiber content. You can consume two to three dates on a diet, which can satisfy your sweet tooth when you are on a diet.
6. Dried apricots (Khushk khubani)
Dried apricots have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals as they are dehydrated during production. They are supple in vitamins A and E, which can promote eye health, along with the antioxidants in them.
They also have a low glycemic index, which can check your blood sugar levels. Dry apricots can also improve bone mineral density and strengthen bones. The prevalence of vitamins, especially A and C, have an anti-aging effect on your skin and can prevent damage to the skin. They also contain dietary fiber that helps bulk up the stool and prevents constipation. It is also rich in iron which lowers.
A one-fourth cup of dry apricots has 78 calories, with only two calories from fat. You can eat them raw or add them to dishes and desserts. Chutney made from dry apricots is also a favorite for many Pakistanis.
7. Fox nuts (Makhana)
Fox nuts have a solid nutritional value, which makes them a worthy addition to your diet. They are potent in magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, and potassium. High protein and fiber content can give you the energy to go about your day without significantly increasing your calorie intake.
Fox nuts are also helpful for your teeth and bones as they provide high calcium. It has low fat, which makes it a suitable snack for people with diabetes. They may also prevent inflammation in the body and save you from various diseases. They are great for your kidneys too.
A one-fourth cup of fox nuts has 21 calories, which makes it a fantastic snack for people trying to lose weight. You can roast them and add spices before eating as they have a neutral flavor.
8. Raisins (Kishmish)
Raisins are dried grapes filled with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. They are naturally sweet and have high calories, which makes them a delight for those with a sweet tooth. It aids digestion and has dietary fiber that limits bad cholesterol in your body.
It also has sufficient iron, calcium, and boron levels that help prevent osteoporosis and keep your bones strong. Iron also helps prevent anemia and promotes the production of red blood cells. They contain antioxidants that help you avoid diseases like heart disease and cancer.
A one-fourth cup of seeded raisins has 122 calories, and it is vital to eat them in moderation due to their high sugar and calories. You can use them with oatmeal, yogurt, cookies, bread, and cereal.
Potential risks of eating dry fruits
Dry fruits are generally safe to add to your diet. You can take them as a snack or use them in sweet and savory dishes.
While adding dry fruit to your diet, consider the quantity and keep moderate consumption. Some dry fruits may contain high levels of sodium and calories, which can harm your health and result in weight gain if you overeat them.
Some people may also be allergic to dry fruits, especially nuts. If you are allergic to dry fruits, it is better to avoid them, or they can make you sick. While many of them may benefit gastric health, the high fiber content in dry fruits can have the opposite effect if you overeat.
Dry fruit is a must in winter in almost all households. It is readily available in the market, and many Pakistanis enjoy eating them. They can keep you warm and provide great nutritional value. Dry fruits are also a healthy and nutritious snack for people trying to watch their weight.
Besides being a yummy snack, dry fruits provide many appealing health benefits. They are a good source of energy and nutrients that keep you active during the day. It is crucial to be mindful while eating dry fruit; eating it in large quantities can be harmful.
Frequently asked questions
Here are some common questions and answers regarding dry fruits:
1. How long can dry fruits be stored?
Dry fruits have a long shelf life and can last between four months to a year if stored properly.
2. How many dry fruits should you eat daily?
Two tablespoons of dry fruit are ideal for everyday consumption; however, try to stay within that limit.
3. Can dry fruits cause weight gain?
Dry fruits can cause weight gain if taken in excess as they may have high sugar.