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Food dehydration is one of the oldest methods of preserving food. It’s a healthy alternative to shop-bought foods, and can help to eliminate many of the damaging sugars and chemicals from your diet.
Moreover, they can easily be added to salads, oatmeal and baked goods, and work well in recipes since they rehydrate in liquid.
This guide will take an in-depth look at nine of the main reasons why people often turn to dehydrated and dried foods for a healthier source of energy in their diets.
Natural, Healthy and Nutritious
Dehydrated foods are entirely natural as you use them in their raw form. This enables you to get all the benefits from the dried foods since none of the essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, magnesium and carotene are compromised.
Therefore, meeting your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals is made much easier. On the flip side, when you cook your food it usually loses a lot of its nutrients due to the high heat exposure.
Storing dehydrated foods is a much better option than buying shop-bought frozen foods that aren’t in season. These contain a significant amount of preservatives and also lose some of their nutritional content when frozen.
Absence Of Sugars, Additives and Preservatives
There are no sugars, additives, trans-fats or preservatives when making your own dehydrated foods. This provides you and your family or housemates with preservative-free foods that aren’t packed full of sugars and sodium.
For example, making your own dried fruit is easy enough to do, and differs massively from the shop-bought dried fruit that often includes refined sugars and food coloring which can prove damaging to your health.
Dehydrating your fruit and removing the sugars provides a number of key health benefits, including an improvement in your sleeping pattern.
Less Bacteria And Contamination
In terms of bacteria, fungal growth and contamination, dehydrated foods run a very low risk. This is because almost all bacteria and fungi thrive in environments which are wet and moist by nature. The dehydration process naturally kills bacteria, so you ensure a significantly longer shelf life for your food.
Just make sure that you store and pack your dehydrated foods correctly. Ideally, they’ll be sealed in airtight containers that are fully moisture-proof. Be mindful that it’s often difficult to remove all the moisture, so as a general rule when dehydrating food, always aim to over-dry just to be one hundred percent sure.
Suitable For Plant-Based Diets
For those who follow vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diets, fruit and vegetables are essential. In fact, one of the most effective ways to replace the vitamins, minerals and fibre lost from not eating meat is to consume plenty of dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
Furthermore, there are an endless number of plant-based recipes that you can make with a food dehydrator, including fruit snacks, trail mix and crackers.
Good For Emergencies
Dehydrated nutrient-rich snacks are ideal when you’re on the go, or for a quick boost when stuck in the office or in a traffic jam. They’re a much better alternative to junk food snacks such as candy, chips and doughnuts.
By replacing some of these unhealthier snacks with dried fruit and vegetables, you’ll go a long way to maintaining a healthier lifestyle while still enjoying some tasty snacks.
So, it’s thoroughly worth investing in a good dehydrator to make sure you’re able to get your nutrients and minerals in a stress-free and convenient way.
Fiber And Antioxidants
Dried fruits and vegetables have a high fiber content, so it’s a good idea to have them stored and on hand for your daily required fiber intake. This helps to keep your digestive system healthy and prevents issues such as diarrhea and constipation.
Moreover, fruits such as strawberries, apples, and cranberries all retain their antioxidants and nutritional value when dehydrated.
Increased Energy Levels And Reduced Portions
If you’ve got a busy day ahead, dehydrated fruits are perfect for boosting energy levels. This is because they contain concentrated fruit sugars and a high amount of nutrients, providing energy-packed snacks that can be consumed in small portions throughout the day. This explains why dried foods are such a popular choice of fuel for hikers, backpackers and campers.
Just be mindful not to over-indulge on dehydrated snacks. They still contain a fair amount of sugar, so consuming large amounts of them isn’t the healthiest option.
This benefit focuses more on the environmental side, but will still prove beneficial to you in terms of saving money. As mentioned earlier, the dehydrating process can significantly extend the shelf life of food, so by taking food that’s almost past its expiration date and dehydrating it, you’ve effectively extended its usage for a much longer period.
This not only saves you a fair amount of money over the long-term, it’ll also help the environment in terms of cutting down on waste, as well as keeping your shelves constantly stocked.
Reduced Risk Of Cancer
Dehydrated foods such as dried fruit and vegetables could play a role in reducing the risk of some cancers. While research is ongoing, and this benefit is far from definitive, scientists believe that the drying process can activate certain chemicals in foods that help to prevent cell damage linked to cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Dehydrate Food Without A Dehydrator?
Another effective way to dehydrate food is to use your oven. Just turn it on to the lowest setting, cut up your food (usually fruit and vegetables) into ¼ slices, and place them in the oven for as long as they need. This usually takes between 6-8 hours.
If you haven’t got the time to wait this long, you can bump the oven up to 225℉. Be mindful, however, that this may cause the results to be less dehydrated in the traditional sense.