Dried Fruits: Bioactives, Effects on Gut Microbiota, and Possible Health Benefits—An Update


Dried fruits contain many bioactive compounds broadly classified as phytochemicals including phenolics, flavonoids, carotenoids, proanthocyanidins, stilbenes, chalcones/dihydrochalcones, and phytoestrogens. These compounds have antioxidant effects that may benefit health. Dried fruits are also a diverse group of foods with varying fibre contents. The evaluation of the biological activity of these bioactive compounds, including their bioaccessibility and bioavailability, may contribute to the understanding of the health effects of dried fruits. Limited evidence suggests that dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, dates, and prunes) affect human gut microbiota composition in a potentially beneficial manner (in terms of effects on Bifidobacteria, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Lactobacillus, Ruminococcaceae, Klebsiella spp., and Prevotella spp.). There is little epidemiological evidence about the association of dried fruit consumption with cardiovascular disease incidence and mortality, as well as the risk of type 2 diabetes or obesity. Clinical trial evidence for the effects of dried fruit consumption on cardiovascular risk factors, including glycaemic control, is mixed. Clinical trial evidence suggests prunes might preserve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. Consumption of dried fruits is associated with higher-quality diets. Studies are needed to increase our understanding of the health effects of dried fruits and the underlying biological mechanisms.


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bone health, cardiometabolic diseases, dietary guidance, dried fruits, gut health and microbiome


Alasalvar, C., Chang, S.K., Kris-Etherton, P.M., Sullivan, V.K., Petersen, K.S., Guasch-Ferre, M., & Jenkins, D.J.A.. 2023. Dried Fruits: Bioactives, Effects on Gut Microbiota, and Possible Health Benefits—An Update. Nutrients, 15(7). https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15071611