Every dry fruit should never be skip

(Fatima Wafia, Lahore)

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. Dry fruits like almonds, walnuts, dates, raisins etc. are traditionally known to be a powerhouse of nutrients. They are said to provide us with a host of health benefiting properties, if eaten in moderation. 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.

1. Almonds
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 fibre, proteins and good fats present in almonds makes you feel fuller and thus helps to avoid overeating.
• 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.

2. Walnuts
walnut is loaded with health benefiting properties. These brown and crunchy delights are a treat to the taste buds. Whether you use them in salads or in desserts, walnuts taste good in almost all forms.
• Walnuts also called brain food because they 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 flavonoids in walnuts also help to destroy harmful free radicals that can cause dementia.
• It is also 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. Include it in your daily diet and watch out for results.
ü About 4 – 7 pieces of walnuts is the recommended quantity that can be consumed on a daily basis.

3. Brazil Nuts
This South American nut has a long list of health benefits which make it fit for consumption regularly. Apart from improving digestion, Brazil nuts are also known to boost immunity. If you wish to enhance your skin's overall health, then bring Brazil nuts to your rescue.
• Help in thyroid control Brazil nuts are among the richest sources of Selenium which helps to maintain the normal functioning of Thyroid.
• They also have anti-cancer properties .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.
• Brazil nuts are a rich source of Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium which help to regulate blood pressure.
ü Eating 2-3 Brazil nuts everyday day would be an optimum quantity

4. Dates
Talk about winters and this gooey yet super-delicious dry fruit comes to mind. This wholesome and nourishing delight can be savoured in any form, be it dessert or as a snack as well.
• 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.
• The fibre content present in dates helps to promote digestion and also relieves constipation. It is a very good home remedy to keep constipation at bay. Ripe dates are also rich in Potassium which has been shown to control diarrhea.
ü Have 2-3 dates in the afternoon or whenever you feel a little sluggish to get an instant energy boost.

5. Apricots
The dried version of the beautiful orange fruit is full of antioxidants and good for your skin too. Loaded with the goodness of vitamin A, apricots could help in enhancement of vision. Other than this, it also helps keep the immune system in check.
• 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.
• 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.

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