DIY food at home is growing in popularity as people realize the health benefits of dehydrating food that come with home-made dried foods, and as a wider range of domestic food dehydrators become available in the market.
With the options of frozen foods, canned foods and freeze-dried foods, and the convenience of store-bought dried foods, why is it that home food dehydration is becoming more popular?
Home-dehydrated foods, like beef jerky have a number of health benefits and an increasing number of people are purchasing their own food dehydrators in order to enjoy the health benefits of home-dried foods.
One of the obvious benefits of dehydrating food is that it allows for longer storage than fresh food, especially when it relates to garden produce such as fruits and vegetables like eggplants that may not freeze well.
So, first off, it means that you can eat produce over a longer period than its harvest season, and you won’t be eating food that is beginning to deteriorate.
In this article:
What Are the Benefits of Dehydrating Food?
1. Concentrated Energy
Dehydrating fruit concentrates some elements such as fruit sugars, which will have a higher volume per weight in dried fruit than in fresh fruit (dehydrated plums are a good example). So you don’t need to eat as much dried fruit to get the same amount of energy as that in fresh fruit. This is great if you are out hiking, but one needs to be careful not to overeat on dried fruit if you are in a more sedentary mode, because the concentration of sugars and calories in the dried food can lead to weight gain.
2. Additives Free
Commercial dried fruits, however, often have added sugar and sulfites, so using your own food dehydrator will enable you to cut out these additives, producing a healthier snack for you and your family.
3. Fiber and Antioxidants
Dried fruit also tends to have higher concentrations of fiber and antioxidants than the equivalent weight of fresh fruit. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “dried fruits should be a greater part of the diet as they are dense in phenol antioxidants and nutrients, most notably fiber.”
Medical professional Shane Hennig recommends it because of its overall benefits to long term health.
Health benefits that polyphenol antioxidants are associated include decreased oxidative damage, better digestive health and improved blood flow.
Dried vegetables and sprouts, naturally low in “high-cholesterol” fats, are high in fiber.
4. Vitamins and Minerals
Research shows that food dehydration does lead to a certain degree of loss of some vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin A and vitamin C, which are destroyed by light and air. Using a sulfite treatment to reduce oxidation and preserve the vitamin C, however, will destroy the thiamine and riboflavin, as well as producing other side effects, for example triggering adverse reactions in asthma-sufferers.
Steam-blanching prior to dehydration will reduce the loss of thiamine and vitamins A and C, while dipping of fruit in citrus juice will reduce oxidation and preserve more of the vitamin C in the food.
With all these health benefits, it really makes sense to invest in a home food dehydrator, and to enjoy healthy, affordable treats instead of expensive, additive laden commercial snacks.
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