If fruit is dehydrated so as to preserve all of its nutritional values it becomes the ideal food for the diet of children, adults, athletes and the elderly. In fact, increasingly more nutritionists recommend it instead of or to supplement fresh fruit.
With the aid of biologist and nutritionist Simona Bifolchi, we tried to understand if the products obtained through our cold anti-oxidative dehydration method called Soft-DRY® meet the expectations of specialists. “Firstly -explains Dr. Bifolchi- we must understand that dehydrated fruit is a very different product category than dried fruit. In fact it is fresh fruit that has gone through a water elimination process, therefore it maintains all of its components except for the liquid part. This makes it possible to have a greater concentration of nutrients, naturally depending on what production method is used. These are very sensitive compounds – the nutritionist specifies – and if they are subjected to high temperatures for example, they might cease their activities or even deteriorate”.
Vitaina dehydrated fruit passed the first test: by removing the liquids at temperatures below 40 degrees and avoiding oxidation, the Soft-DRY® method makes it possible to keep minerals, vitamins and antioxidants intact.
Another important aspect is just how natural the product is, which determines what specific food category it belongs to. To be clear, dehydrated fruit belongs to the ‘Fruit’ category in nutritionist-recommended diets, as long as there is no added sugar.“Dehydration – explains Dr. Bifolchi- brings out the natural sweetness of the fruit, so much so that there is often the doubt as to whether it should be considered fresh fruit or dessert. This is the second aspect that needs to be immediately addressed: dehydrated fruit, in terms of nutritional composition, can be considered fresh fruit and not a sweet. The reason why dehydrated fruit is considered to be fresh fruit is because its sugars are not considered ‘free sugars’ like standard sugar used to make cakes. This has considerable implications in terms of health, in relation to both the glycemic index developed by the consumption of this product, as to its potential cariogenic effect on teeth”.
Vitaina products easily pass this test too: they all come exclusively from organic and controlled biodynamic farming and do not contain any additives, whether chemical or natural sugars or preservatives.
Recognising the quality of our dehydrated fruit
Our packaging offers the maximum levels of transparency. It is important to us to immediately provide all of our fruit’s certifications (like the rectangle with stars in the shape of a leaf, the European Organic logo, or the Demeter marking, which tell us that the food comes from organic or controlled biodynamic farming) and our nutritional tables contain plenty of information. This not only means that we have invested in scientific research to guarantee consumers with the maximum quality, but also how proud we are to convey the value of our products. With these details we hope to earn the trust of choosy and demanding specialists and customers.
According to Dr. Bifolchi, “nutritionists suggest buying dehydrated fruit that ensures specific quality-related guarantees, that take into account the transformation process and the raw material. Reading the label provides us with a lot of information: in a pack of dehydrated apple, if the sole ingredient is apple, we can feel satisfied. There are many brands of dehydrated fruit on the market with added sugar and this makes us think that the fruit in question might not have been processed when it was ripe. Sulphites are used increasingly more often, which are needed to preserve food longer but they can, in people who are sensitive to these substances, cause unpleasant effects”.
The nutritional table deserves a close look:
“The packaging of food intended for human consumption -states Dr Bifolchi- must state the calories, the total fatty acids (of which saturated fatty acids as well), carbohydrates (of which sugars as well), fibres, proteins and salt. But what is not required to be stated on the packaging is what makes this all the more interesting. The inclusion of non-compulsory data is the choice of the manufacturer who, however, in order to declare certain nutritional claims, must observe what is expressly stated in Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 and (EC) No. 1924/2006. This means, for example, that if you want to say that a product has a high vitamin E content, it is necessary to ensure, through specific analyses, that it contains a real amount equal to at least what is required by the regulations of the European parliament and council. Otherwise it is equivalent to food fraud”.
Vitaina fruit in functional food
The characteristics of Vitaina dehydrated fruit are excellent for what nutritionists refer to as functional food. Because, like Dr. Bifolchi says “dehydrated fruit is particularly suited for people who are looking for the type of food that creates benefits for the body. Firstly because it maintains high nutritional values by concentrating fibres, vitamins and mineral salts that are essential to health. Fibre in particular has multiple functions: it nourishes the positive bacterial flora of our gastrointestinal system making it possible to produce substances that are helpful to our body and that help regular bowel movements (a clean gut is less prone to inflammation and when it is healthy you can feel it throughout the entire body). Mineral salts strengthen the body and help prevent many illnesses. Without leaving out the concentrated values of polyphenols, compounds which are known to science for their antioxidant properties, capable of preventing various diseases. The capacity to assimilate nutrients – the doctor concludes – depends on the health of the person consuming them, as there are conditions that partially or completely prevent nutrients from food from being absorbed. When we want to get the most out a food, we also have to understand that we need to be healthy. This means paying attention to everything we eat, because gut health also depends on a correct diet”.
Who should eat dehydrated fruit
Our dehydrated fruit is suitable for every type of person. According to nutritionists, only the recommended amounts change. “With children -according to Dr. Bifolchi- it helps to get them used to eating fruit, as it is important to them as people in developmental stages. The shape and variety of the colours, the sweet taste and the practical portions are elements that make this food much more appealing than the ‘hydrated’ version. Naturally this also applies to adults. Then there is the aspect that concerns athletes. Anyone who does a certain level of exercise needs a lot of energy and dehydrated fruit provides the advantage of getting a lot in a small volume, with less strain on the digestive system. For example, if the recommendation is 10 portions of fresh fruit per day, this amount can be translated into the equivalent of dehydrated fruit. The ratio is usually 10:1, therefore if I eat 30 grams of dehydrated apple, it is the same as eating 350 grams of fresh apple. Lastly there is the practical aspect: dehydrated fruit occupies less space and it can be eaten faster than fresh fruit, which is a big deal for people who need to eat quickly or immediately after a workout.
The factors mentioned above represent clear advantages, “even if – the nutritionist recommends – it is necessary to maintain a basic balanced diet”. In this sense, Vitaina specifically developed the portions, and therefore the quantity contained in the packages, to fulfil the nutritional and energy needs in the various times of the day.