Dry fruits, the specialty of winter, are a good source of fibre that helps to keep the digestive system smooth and functional. Health experts said that dried apricots contain 6.5 grams fibre per cup, while fresh apricots contain just 3.1 grams. A recent study report from Harvard School of Public Health pointed out that fibre helps prevent obesity, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
It stated that dry fruits contain more fibre than the same-sized serving of their fresh counterparts and is a great source of antioxidants, especially polyphenols which are associated with health benefits such as improved blood flow, better digestive health, decreased oxidative damage and reduced risk of many diseases. Dry fruits also help lower the blood pressure, improve blood sugar control, decrease inflammatory markers and blood cholesterol level, it added. All of these factors should contribute to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
With the temperature dropping, the demand for dry fruits has witnessed a surge in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Various varieties of dry fruits from Balochistan and Northern Areas are attracting customers due to their nutritious value and taste. Peanuts, cashew nut, wall nuts, almonds, pistachios and roasted black chickpea are in demand at the local dry fruits shops and vendor stalls.
Asad Hussain, a customer, said, “My children like peanuts with `Ravari’ and `Kishmish’ while having the evening family chats”. He said that dry fruits are a blessing of winter and contain a good source of energy.
Zahid Shah, a dry fruits seller, said, “Peanuts are always in demand and the Pinus Gerardiana (Chilgoza) sale has decreased since many years due to its high price, adding that around 50 kg peanuts alone and 25 to 30 kg cashew nuts, wall nuts, almonds and pistachios are sold at his shop daily, but hardly 2-3% customers demand Chilgoza.
He said that December and January are the peak points of the dry fruits seasons as the demand starts reducing in February with the changing weather.
Asif Khan, a vendor at Jinnah Super market said that he brought dry fruits from the Northern Areas and said that people were ready to buy these at high rates as long as the quality was good enough.