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Sweet Solutions: How Dried Fruit Can Improve Our Mental Wellbeing | Soul Fruit News


Laura jennings, nutritionist

Article written by Laura Jennings | Nutritionist

I am Laura Jennings, a Registered Associate Nutritionist and academic researcher. My focus lies in exploring the intricate relationship between nutrition and mental health. I am passionate about informing people on the profound impact that diet can have on our mood, motivation, and energy levels and will share with you today how dried fruit can improve your mental wellbeing.



Harry Styles may have been onto something when he wrote the lyrics “watermelon sugar high”. A study published in the Nutrients Journal showed that fruits offer benefits beyond just boosting vitamin C; they also seem to enhance mood and increase levels of self belief*.  In a study spanning 2007 to 2013 with 12,385 adults, it was found that increasing fruit consumption led to higher levels of happiness, life satisfaction, and overall wellbeing*.


dried fruit benefits on mental health


So, what is it about fruit that enhances our mood?  

Fruit Contains Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties

Fruits house polyphenols, plant-derived compounds known for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties*. Polyphenols reduce brain inflammation and improve mental health by calming down inflammatory processes*. They also act as antioxidants, protecting cells from stress-related damage, promoting a sense of calmness and contributing to reduced anxiety*.


Do these advantages apply to dried fruit as well?

Drying fruit at low temperatures, such as through infrared or freeze-drying processes, helps protect crucial nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This gentle method minimises nutrient losses, ensuring that dried fruits maintain the same nutritional value as whole fruit. Dried fruits, particularly tropical varieties, are abundant in polyphenols. Take dried dragon fruit, for example; its vivid red colour arises from a high polyphenol content.


Dried Fruit Contributes to Blood Sugar Regulation

Fluctuations in blood sugar levels, whether too high or too low, are linked to mood disorders like depression and anxiety, impacting mental wellbeing*. Specific mood behaviours, such as anger and sadness, are associated with high blood sugar, while nervousness and anxiety are tied to low blood sugar*. The fibre in natural sugars, like those found in dried fruit, aids in slowing the sugar release into the bloodstream, maintaining a steady glucose level and avoiding sudden spikes and drops*.


Catechins, found in tropical fruit trees like Jackfruit, function as anti-diabetic compounds, reducing blood sugar levels and overall cholesterol*. Dried fruit makes for an excellent snacking choice, supporting a gradual ebb and flow of blood sugar. For a well-balanced blood sugar-friendly snack, consider pairing Soul Fruit's Crunchy dried Jackfruit Chips with homemade hummus. The protein and fats in hummus further slow glucose digestion, resulting in a satisfying, stress-resistant snack that enhances mental clarity and overall balance. 


Dried Fruit is Packed with Gut-Loving Fibre

The fibre in whole fruits is often lost in fruit juice processing or when heated at high temperatures for pureeing. Drying fruits at low temperatures not only preserves nutrients but also helps maintain the fibre content. Fibrous dried fruit helps promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which contributes to a well-nourished and diverse microbiome, which has been linked to improved mental health*. This increase in beneficial bacteria leads to an increase in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including butyrate. SCFAs play a role in regulating the release of gut-derived serotonin, influencing gut-brain communication and enhancing mental wellbeing*


Do you find yourself consistently overwhelmed, attempting to balance work, parenting, workouts, and maintaining a social life? In times of stress, cortisol levels rise, impacting a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)*. BDNF safeguards against stress-induced neuronal damage, playing a crucial role in determining our brain's overall health*. Increased levels of butyrate in the gut, influenced by fruit consumption, are recognised for elevating BDNF levels, serving as a protective measure for our brain and contributing to enhanced happiness and wellbeing*.


Fruit For Thought

Dried fruit isn’t simply ‘just a snack’ - its multifaceted benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, blood sugar regulation, and positive impact on the gut microbiome, collectively contribute to an improvement in our mental wellbeing. Dried fruit becomes a deliberate choice to give our brains a meaningful boost. Who wouldn't opt for a nutritious snack such as dried mango that fortifies their mental resilience?






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