Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, discusses the latest hot topics in the field of diet, nutrition, and cancer every week in a column called HealthTalk published by The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).
Q: Do fresh fruits that are high in antioxidants keep that antioxidant content when dried?
A: Yes, dried fruits can be very good sources of antioxidants despite losing most of the water-soluble vitamin C (one antioxidant) present in their fresh forms. Research now shows that for most fruits, the majority of antioxidant power stems from their many natural plant compounds called phytochemicals.
Dried cherries and cranberries remain high in anthocyanins, which are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory compounds that, at least in laboratory studies, also slow development of cancer. Dried apricots provide somewhat less beta-carotene in their quarter-cup standard serving than you get in a half-cup of fresh apricots, but both forms are excellent sources.
Furthermore, total content of phytochemicals called phenols are similar. Raisins retain many of the beneficial phytochemicals found in grapes, and studies rate their antioxidant power similar, even considering raisins deliver that antioxidant power in a much smaller serving.
Dried fruits also generally retain the fiber content of their fresh forms.
Just remember that you need to find some other good sources of vitamin C, and because calories become more concentrated, watch that portion control.