We know that food dehydration means drying out the water from the food. Usually, dehydration is a slow process that we carry out for a long time at a very low temperature. There is a common question among dehydrated food lovers – does dehydrated food lose its nutrients? In this article, I am going to answer this question.
Impact of dehydration on the nutrition contents
In this section, I will discuss the impact of food dehydration on different types of nutrition contents. All kinds of food content do not have an equal impact while you dehydrate them. Therefore, I would like to discuss it separately.
Does dehydrated food lose fiber and sugar?
Fiber and sugar do not diminish while dehydrating the food. In fact, the same volume of dehydrated foods contains more fiber than before. Therefore, people who are suffering from constipation are often suggested to take dehydrated foods.
Carbohydrates and sugar have also little impact on low temperature. Therefore, dried fruits taste sweeter than raw fruits as the sugar content increases in the same volume.
Do vitamins go away during food dehydration?
Vitamins are very temperature sensitive. They are sensitive to air and light in some cases. Therefore, when you cut fresh fruit, it starts to lose vitamins only because of the exposure to the air. But the degradation of the vitamins depends on the temperature.
Higher temperature increases the degradation rate. Vitamins degrade at a very slow rate if the dehydration is carried out at a temperature of 120F or less.
Vitamin C and A are more sensitive to heat compared to the others. For example, if we heat the food at 140F for 5 minutes, then 11 to 16% Vitamin C goes away. Vitamin C is water-soluble. Therefore, it goes away from the food with the water if the temperature is high.
Vitamin A and B are sensitive to UV light. Therefore, if you are dehydrating the food in sunlight, then direct exposure to UV coming out from the sun may damage some vitamins.
Does dehydration remove minerals?
If you dehydrate properly at a lower temperature, then there will be no significant loss in the mineral content of the food. Minerals such as sodium, magnesium, iron, copper, selenium, zinc, and so on, are not easily degraded even at high temperatures. That’s the reason why we get the same amount of sodium in milk whether it is cold or boiled.
However, there is some exception such as potassium that can be washed out with water. Therefore, we advise you not to wash the fruits and vegetables after you cut them into slices.
Enzyme and antioxidants
Dehydration retains these valuable food nutrients the most compared to other cooking methods. However, to minimize the loss, you need to maintain the right temperature.
How to reduce the loss of nutrition of dehydrated foods?
You can not stop the degradation of some of the nutrition facts such as vitamins. But still, you can minimize it. Below are some tips on how you can reduce the loss.
- Maintaining the right temperature is the best way of preventing the nutrition facts from degradation. I will advise dehydrating any kind of food below 120F. However, it may take a longer time. But if you do not want to compromise the quality of the result, then you should keep patience.
- Sometimes people dehydrate with an air fryer at the wrong temperature. Read this article about air fryers that dehydrate.
- Blanching the food before dehydration is good practice. It will help preserve the carotene of the food.
- Make the slices even while placing them on the tray of the dehydrator. Try to use a sharp knife or a mandoline. It will make the dehydration process faster and reduce the degradation of nutrition facts.
- Try to use a rotating dehydrator tray. If the tray moves, it may ensure even cooking and prevent overexposure to heat.
- Do not dehydrate in direct sunlight. It will destroy the vitamins.
My final words are that the food dehydration process loses a very insignificant amount of nutrition contents except for some vitamins. We can prevent the degradation further if we can lower the temperature. Dehydrated foods do not have any toxicity that is harmful to our health. These are on the contrary, healthier than consumed in fresh condition.
- Read our article on the best dehydrators for beginners.