Health Benefits of a Food Dehydrator

sundried cherry tomatoes on food dehydrator tray
A close-up of sun-dried tomatoes on the rack of a food dehydrator. (Image: elena moiseeva/iStock/Getty Images)

A food dehydrator delivers the vast majority of foods with the same vitamins and minerals as their fresh counterparts, in a remarkable array of concentrated flavors, nutrients and enzymes. According to the Energise for Life website, "The dehydration process retains almost 100% of the nutritional content of the food, retains the alkalinity of fresh produce and actually inhibits the growth of microforms such as bacteria."

Preservation

dried Apple Rings in a Jar
Dried apple rings in a glass jar on a rustic table. (Image: Gutzemberg/iStock/Getty Images)

The modern dehydrator produces basically the same food with about 75 percent of its moisture removed. The only threat to deterioration is the remaining moisture. When dehydrating food, it is better to over-dry than under-dry. Once dehydrated, food must be packed inside airtight moisture-proof jars, bags or containers. It should be stored in a cool, dark area such as a pantry or cupboard. According to the Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food Science at Brigham Young University, rice, corn, wheat and grains that have been properly dehydrated, canned and stored will last 30 years or more. Dehydrated vegetables, fruits, and pastas have a shelf life of up to 30 years. Powdered milks or milk substitutes can last up to 20 years.

Nutrition

Nuts and dried fruits mixed
Dried fruits and nuts in a burlap sack on a wood table with spices. (Image: udra/iStock/Getty Images)

"Living foods are uncooked foods," says The Healing Journal, and "dehydrating food dates back to Biblical times when it was a necessity." Modern dehydrators produce a thin food material with its vitamins and minerals still present. Dried vegetables and sprouts, naturally low in "high-cholesterol" fats, are high in fiber. Almost no Vitamin C is lost in dehydration, and all Vitamin A--Beta Carotene--in plant foods is retained. Such minerals as selenium, potassium and magnesium are preserved. According to the website Life 123, quite a few supporters of the raw foods diet still use dehydrated foods as main food sources due to their rich concentration of nutrition and enzymes.

Cost Effective, Convenient

Variety of dried fruits on display in store
Dried foods for sale in bulk at a health food store. (Image: moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

Dried foods can be rather pricey in a store. A food dehydrator enables you to preserve fresh, nutritious foods in your own home at a fraction of the cost. The shelf lives of dehydrated foods can be decades long. Add your favorite nuts to dehydrated apples, pineapples, grapes, or cranberries for a tasty and healthy trail mix. Make genuine meat jerky from beef, poultry and pork. Banana chips are examples of what can be made by dehydrating to 3-5 percent moisture content. It's usually a good idea to soak dehydrated foods prior to consumption, preferably in distilled water. This promotes the absorption of just enough water for optimal taste. Another popular method is placing dehydrated food in a steamer. Absorbing steam plumps it up beautifully.

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