HEALTH BENEFITS OF DEHYDRATED FOODIntroductionDehydrated Food or Food Drying is a method of preservation where food is dried (dehydrated) to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus.This method has been followed since ancient times to preserve food where they had to store food during shortage.Food was dehydrated in the form of evaporation, smoking, sun drying or air drying but now there are several food driers available in the market which uses freeze drying, sublimation or evaporation by using preservatives like potassium, BHA or BHT.There are many benefits of dehydrated food like they taste great, natural, less expensive, portable and reduces waste. Several foods can be dried by dehydration method dry fruits are one such good example of dehydrated food which has been consumed historically due to their high sugar content and rich taste. Meat, Fruits and Vegetables all can be dehydrated.Benefits1. Health BenefitDehydrated food is far better than other form of preservation like cooking or preservation of food using chemicals. Dehydration retains 100% of nutritional value of the food. Dried sprouts and vegetables are low in cholesterol during live and once dried they are rich in fibre. Drying process retains vitamins as such and minerals like potassium, selenium are also retained within them.2.Cost wiseDehydrated foods in the market can be expensive or cheap depending on the food value and the method of dehydration used. Home drying can be done by using electric dehydrators or sun drying which is cost effective but the industrial food dehydrators uses freeze drying where food is flash frozen causing the food to sublimate directly from the solid to gaseous phase. The appliances used in freeze drying are expensive hence the dehydrated food you would want to buy from market might make holes in your pocket.3. Easy to store and preserve.As dehydration removes moisture from the food it inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi. When you dehydrate the food shrinks allowing you to preserve it easily. They also have long life time period.4. No chemicalsThe best part of dehydrated food is that they contain just one ingredient that is the food itself. They don’t have any preservatives or chemicals as dehydration can be easily done at home.5. Reduces wasteSometimes you end up buying extra fruits and veggies from the grocery which is just left unused and later thrown out, instead of doing this you can just dehydrate it and use it in the future.6. EmergencyWhen there is an emergency condition like flood or earthquake where you will have to relocate away without having any food with you dehydrated food is the one thing that can come to your rescue7. PortableWe prefer fast food over healthy food as they are easily accessed. But when you have dehydrated nutritious food why do you need to munch on those ugly fast food? These dehydrated food can be accessed at any place like car, plane ,camping etc.FAQ1. Is food drying difficult? No. Food drying is the easiest method of cooking, all you need to do is dry the food by using different dehydration method.2. Does drying affect the nutritional value? Drying adds more nutritional content to the food as dehydrating foods results in compacting of nutrients within the food.3. What equipment is required in dehydration of food? several dehydrating appliances are available in the market which can be used in dehydrating food. Beside that sun drying is the cheapest method of food preservation.4. What all foods can be dried? Most of the vegetables like potato,tomato,onions, carrot, beans, mushroom, peas, corn, pumpkin, sprouts, greens, broccoli etc. Commonly dried foods include pineapple, apple, pear, plum, apricot, grapes, berries, banana,figs, cherries, peaches etc. other foods like bread, bagels, meat by applying citrus or yoghurt are also dehydrated.5. How do I know the food is dried well? When you touch the food and seems sticky and having moisture then the dehydration is yet to be completed and once it feels that it has completely dried with no moisture left then it is ready to be stored.6.How to store dried food? Store dried foods in an air tight container as exposure of dehydrated food into the air leads in accumulation of moisture which allows the growth of fungi and bacteria. Therefore always store them in a dry dark place tightly packed in container.7. How long can dried foods be stored? Dried foods can lasts up to one year to two years. Their shelf life depends on the storage.