ASK KOMAL: Must Dry Fruits Be Soaked Before Eating?

The nutritional value and flavour of dry fruits increases when they are soaked for a few hours, says Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani.

Dear Readers, are you worried about your health?

Concerned about what you and your family are eating?

Struggling with weight gain?

Or are you facing other heath issues like diabetes, blood pressure, joint pain or heart problems?

Please mail your questions to Nutritionist Komal Jethmalani (Subject: Ask Komal) for her advice.

Dear Komal
I had omicron for 2 weeks and lost a lot of weight.
How can I look healthy again?
What is the best things to eat?
I am veg.

Any infection lowers immunity, reduces energy levels and creates nutrient deficiencies.

To counteract this, you need to eat nutritious foods which will increase your strength and help you recover from the loss of essential nutrients.

Include high protein foods like milk and milk products, nuts, soya products, legumes and pulses in your diet to build your endurance and gain lean mass. They will also provide the essential vitamins and minerals that you need to boost your immunity.

Include complex carbohydrates — like whole grain cereals, beans, lentils, fruits and vegetables — that are rich in fibre.

Don’t ignore essential fats like ghee, olive oil and mustard oil (use although not more than the requirement) which are necessary for your metabolism.

A healthy diet with some physical activity will help you feel healthy.

Make sure you drink plenty of water, sleep well and have a healthy mind.


Dear Komal,
There is something I wanted to ask.
When people say you should exercise for one hour every day, it is continuous one hour or you can do it at 10-10 minutes whenever you can and the total is one hour at the end of the day?
Thank you for your time.

Exercise is an important component of physical and mental health.

For effective build-up of lean mass and fat loss, aim for a continued exercise of minimum 40 minutes. Yet, 10 minute workouts are better than not exercising at all.

Short bursts of physical activity in terms of mini-workouts can be just as effective as one concentrated session. This will benefit your health, fitness and mood.


Dear Komal,
How good a substitute is jaggery for sugar if one is diabetic? Shouldn’t one avoid jaggery too?

Jaggery may have better nutritional value than sugar but it is still high in carb and hence in calorie content.

Sugar and jaggery have a similar amount of calories.

Jaggery is not processed and has some health benefits like traces of iron, fibre and minerals.

So, although it can be used as a replacement for sugar, it cannot be considered a sugar free option.


Dear Komal,
I often buy ragi bread from reputed suppliers/brands. It tastes just like regular bread. How can I be sure it’s healthy? Maybe they have mixed maida or aata in it?

While purchasing any commercial food product, check its food labels. The ingredients and nutritional values are indicated therein.

It is important to read these as it helps you to understand the amount of fat, sugar, fibre, sodium, etc, contained in the product you are consuming.


Dear Komal,
I recently read somewhere that one should not directly munch on dry fruits because they are hard to digest. Is this true?
Is it a good idea to soak them in water overnight and have it the following day? Does the nutrition value increase when you soak it overnight? Pls guide.

Raw dry fruits contain phytates and oxalates that hinder absorption of certain nutrients. Soaking them will neutralise these inhibitors and aid in digestion. Thus, the nutritional value and flavour of the dry fruits is increased.

It is advisable to soak them overnight and have them the following morning.

  • You can read all of Komal Jethmalani’s columns here. 

Komal Jethmalani is a dietician with over 25 years of experience in food, nutrition and dietetics, with an MSc in food science and nutrition.

A certified diabetes educator and lifestyle coach, specialising in diabetic, cardiovascular, weight loss and various therapeutic diets, she consults under the brand The Diet Mantra.

And she will try and help you achieve your dietary and fitness goals through healthy lifestyle changes.

Do share your complete health details including age, weight, height and health issues if any.

Write to [email protected] (Subject: Ask Komal), along with your name.

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