When to consume dry fruits? & other unanswered questions…

We went to a place in JP Nagar to eat ice-cream. Though I like ice-cream, I seldom visit ice-cream parlors for the simple fact that they are unhealthy no matter at what time of the day we eat them. 

We were there in the area close to this ice-cream parlor that serves great Apricot ice-cream. Until then I had only heard about Apricot. The first time tasting Apricot ice-cream was heavenly. If dried-fruits are so tasty, what would their impact be on health? Thinking about this I researched referring to some books, knowledge banks, websites and consulting my friend doctors.

The below article is an outcome of such research. It talks about most of the common questions that we have towards dried fruits and nuts.

What are the dried fruits?

These are essentially fruits that are either dried naturally or using a dried fruit processing unit. Both of them do one important thing. They dehydrate fruits, which means, they take out the water content from the actual fruits and get them dried.

By doing so, the fruits will last long because of the water content of the fruits being flushed out. Also, the fruits will gain some packed nutrients and saturated fats that are extremely good in terms of nutritional value.

Besides, they are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibers, forming a healthy and tasty snack. But, according to Ayurveda, food is not just confined to the nutritional value that it comes with. Food (and its culture in Indian can be read from this article), in addition to the nutrients, is for the following:

  • Making us realize our consciousness to the core
  • Satisfying the mind in a subtle and Satvik way
  • Enabling the spirit in us and equipping us for the spiritual journey
  • Revitalize the body by awakening and channelizing the energies 

In addition to the above, food must have the following qualities, as they become a part of us and influences our character.

  • Possess pleasant aroma
  • Carry tasty flavors
  • Fresh and warm
  • As natural as possible
  • Energized with divinity

With minimal knowledge of Ayurveda’s concept, we are through to go ahead and discuss the timings of their consumption.

According to Ayurveda, our body has three doshas namely:

  1. Vata
  2. Pitta
  3. Kapha

These three qualities are formed by the basic five elements of nature.

  1. Earth
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Air
  5. Ether

A combination of these five elements makes up the three constitutions.

  • Vata is made up of air and ether
  • Pitta is made up of fire and water
  • Kapha is made up of earth and water

In an ideal situation, a person should have all these combinations balanced.

Now that we know the basics of Ayurveda, we should consume dried fruits based on our doshas or constitution. What this means, is our constitution in collaboration with our body’s metabolism determines who we are.

Apart from that let us also know the six tastes that Ayurveda classifies food into. 

  1. Sweet
  2. Salt
  3. Sour
  4. Pungent
  5. Bitter
  6. Astringent

So based on the tastes, let us see the qualities of Dried fruits on both Ayurvedic and nutrients perspective.

What are the best dry fruits (dried fruits)?

Figs

Properties:
  • Sweet and Astringent
  • Cold
Natural Chemicals:
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Thiamine

Almonds

Properties:
  • Sweet or Bitter
  • Warm
Natural Chemicals:
  • 20% protein
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorous
  • Zinc

Cashew

Properties:
  • Sweet
  • Warm
Natural Chemicals:
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B
  • Folate

Dates

Properties:
  • Sweet
  • Cold
Natural Chemicals:
  • Protein 0.17 g
  • Vitamin B6 0.012 mg
  • Iron 0.07 mg
  • Magnesium 3 mg
  • Potassium 47 mg

Pistachios

Properties:
  • Salty
  • Warm
Natural Chemicals:
  • Protein 5.72 g
  • Vitamin B6 0.482 mg
  • Thiamin 0.247 mg
  • Magnesium 34 mg
  • Phosphorus 139 mg
  • Potassium 291 mg

Walnuts

Properties:
Natural Chemicals:
  • Protein 5 g
  • Calcium 20 mg
  • Iron 0.72 mg

Raisins

Properties:
  • Sweet and Sour
  • Cold
Natural Chemicals:
  • Protein 1.42 g
  • Vitamin C 1 mg
  • Calcium 27 mg
  • Iron 0.77 mg
  • Magnesium 15 mg
  • Potassium 320 mg
  • Phosphorous 42 mg
  • Sodium 11 mg

Apricots

Properties:
  • Sweet and Astringent
  • Warm
Natural Chemicals:
  • Protein 1.42 g
  • Vitamin C 1 mg
  • Calcium 55 mg
  • Iron 3 mg
  • Magnesium 32 mg
  • Potassium 1160 mg
  • Phosphorous 71 mg
  • Selenium 2 mcg
  • Vitamin A 180 mcg
  • Vitamin C 1 mg
  • Folate 10 mcg

How to have dry fruits?

Dry fruits are to be had based on the constitution types:

Vata Constitution:

Since the Vata constitution is a mixture of air and ether elements, the two combined make this type of constitution dry. Besides, the dried fruits are already dry in nature so it is advisable not to consume dried fruits as it is not for this type of constitution. 

Instead, it is advisable to have them soaked in water for some time. They can be rehydrated by soaking them in water overnight and consumed.

Pitta Constitution:

This constitution is a combination of fire and water. They have a strong digestion capacity. Digesting dry fruits might not be a problem for pitta types.

What they have to be careful about is the sour food combinations, because the sour taste does not compliment the pitta dosha. Since the fruits after dehydration lose its sourness, it is not a problem for these body types to consume dry fruits.

Kapha Constitution:

As opposed to the other two types of constitution, this type is a combination of earth and water. This type of constitution has the following qualities.

  • Stable
  • Structured
  • Heavy
  • Dense
  • Liquid

The major taste associated with this type is Sweet. Since this is the case the Kapha dosha types can consume the following dry fruits:

  • Figs
  • Raisins
  • Apricots
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pistachio

It is better to avoid the dry fruits that are sweet in taste.

When to consume dry fruits?

Keeping in mind the previously written points, let us go ahead and see when is the best time to eat what dry fruit.

Almonds

Almonds are full of Vitamin E and Manganese, so it is known for getting us energy throughout the day. While doing this, it also strengthens the immune system along with protecting against infections. It is also good for the improvement of the overall condition of the body. As told earlier, it is best to decide if we have to soak them or eat as is based on our constitution. We should also confine ourselves while eating Almonds to around 5-6 of them a day.

Pistachio and Cashew

The best time of the day to have Pistachio and Cashew is in the evening. These two have fat, manganese, and zinc. They are good to remove bad bacteria from the mouth and ensures strong teeth. They can even relax the muscles, keeping blood pressure at bay. Pistachio is very good for the heart too in addition to increasing memory and will power.

Walnut

This wonder nut has Vitamins and Minerals. It is a great preventer of constipation. Having this in the evening serves two purposes.

  1. It sees to it that there is no constipation the next morning
  2. While at night it fixes skin and body tissues

Dates

Dates are rich in Vitamins and Minerals, in particular, Vitamin A and K. 

  1. It boosts brain activity and enhances concentration. 
  2. It is also cardio defensive in nature
  3. It is known to secure bone’s wellbeing (also check this article to know more about Ashwagandha Powder that helps build strong bones)

In view of all this, it is best to be consumed in the morning to get all the benefits listed above.

Raisins

These are grapes that are dried, which has excess sugar after dehydration. It is best to consume them in the morning not as is, instead, soaking them in water. By doing that, along with consuming in moderate quantity, they help us in the following:

  • The potassium helps regulate blood pressure by balancing the salt content
  • The fiber helps us prevent constipation
  • The natural sugars in them help curb our sweet cravings without loading extra calories
  • Vitamin B and C helps strengthen the immunity
  • Being rich in Boron and Calcium helps increase bone strength

Best time to eat dried fruits to gain weight?

Let us now discuss what dry fruits and when to eat to gain weight. Let us concentrate on one nut and one dry fruit here.

Almond

The best nut to increase weight is Almond, especially when soaked previous night and consumed moderately (of about five to six daily). Soaked in the previous night are safe to consume for any kind of doshas when it comes to almonds. Stripping off the skin will be even more beneficial as the skin would contain the contaminated water that we would have soaked in the previous night. To avoid this it is better to avoid the skin and eat only the inner part of the Almond.

Figs

The dry fruit apart from nuts that are most helpful to gain weight is fig. It is full of natural sugar that has good cholesterol and heavy calories as said earlier. This has to be eaten in the morning, with it soaked in milk overnight. 

This combination is extremely helpful in increasing the weight and the best part is you can eat as much as you want to (only if you want to increase your weight). 

Best time to eat dry fruits in pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time to be really careful about it. Dry fruits apart from some nutrients are loaded with tons of sugar. So, it is always better to avoid the sugar intensive dry fruits and nuts. Even while consuming the dry fruits that have less sugar, we have to keep in mind that they have to be confined to a few of them and not in huge quantities, as digesting this might not be easy.

The same procedures mentioned above are best to be followed even with respect to pregnancy, that is, nuts soaked in water and figs soaked in milk.

After getting to know these basic things about the nuts and dried fruits, I was henceforth careful in consuming them too much at the same time consuming them on a regular basis.