Raisins are one of the healthiest foods for your organism. These dried fruits are very healthy and beneficial for anyone, regardless of whether they have health problems or not.
Raisins pack more nutrition than their small size might indicate. When grapes are dehydrated to produce raisins, the nutrients become more concentrated, making a handful of raisins a snack rich in B vitamins, iron and potassium. Besides nutrients, raisins are also a good source of carbohydrates for energy.
One of the biggest benefits of eating raisins is that they’re a quick, easy and tasty way to get some of your daily recommended fruit servings. Women should eat at least 1.5 cups of fruit daily and men should have 2 cups, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov. One small box of raisins, which is 1.5 ounces and holds about 90 raisins, fills one-half cup of your daily fruit requirement, plus it only has 129 calories and no fat. The same portion has 1.3 grams of protein, which gives men 2 percent and women 3 percent of their recommended daily intake.
The health benefits of raisins include relief from constipation, acidosis, anemia, fever, and sexual dysfunction. Raisins have also been known to help in attempts to gain weight in a healthy way, as well as its positive impact on eye health, dental care, and bone quality.
Raisins are irreplaceable as a healthy member of the dry fruits category. These golden, green or black delicacies are favorites of almost everyone, particularly children. Raisins are widely used in cultural cooking around the world (especially in desserts), and are also added to health tonics, snacks and compact, high-energy food supplements for mountaineers, backpackers, and campers.
Looking for another power-treat to add to your diet? You may be surprised that the unassuming raisin has a few health benefits that could improve your quality of life. You’d think that the process of dehydrating grapes would remove nutrients, but actually, the opposite is true. “When grapes are dehydrated to produce raisins, the nutrients become more concentrated,” Healthy Eating reports.
Next time your sweet tooth starts nagging, reach for a handful of raisins instead and reap a few of these benefits:
Excellent Digestive Aid
As a high-fiber food, raisins are an excellent digestive aid. Anything that aids your digestion is going to make you less likely to have common bathroom issues like constipation or diarrhea. Raisins contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which both help keep things moving through the intestinal tract in a healthy way by reducing constipation but discouraging loose stools as well.
Dried fruits might have more calories than fresh, but they also have a higher amount of fiber. For example, one cup of grapes has one gram of fiber while one cup of raisins has seven grams of fiber. By adding raisins to your snacks and meals, you instantly up the fiber content of your culinary creations quickly and easily.
Raisins are a rich source of iron and copper as well as B complex vitamins which are vital for the formation of red blood cells. Regular consumption of raisins helps cure iron deficiency anemia and promotes blood clotting during wound healing.
Raisins contain potassium and magnesium in good levels. These help reduce acidity and help remove the toxins from the system, preventing diseases like arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart diseases .
When ingested, raisins swell because the fiber present in has shrunk in a raisin’s dried form, but it will begin to swell due to the body’s natural fluids. This adds bulk to the food moving through the intestinal tract and ultimately helps provide relief from constipation. The type of fiber in raisins is considered insoluble fiber, because it takes in water and gains volume in that way. Besides reducing constipation, raisins can also help to stop loose stools, again by absorbing the liquid of loose stools and reducing the frequency and unpredictability of diarrhea.
Help Treat Infections
Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients, which are well known as anti-inflammatory antioxidants (5). They exhibit antibacterial properties that help lower the risk of fever and kill the bacteria. Thus, having a few raisins a day can keep you safe from cold and other such infections.
Lower Blood Pressure & Reduce Stroke Risk
Data presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session in 2012 suggests that individuals with mild increases in blood pressure can benefit from the routine consumption of raisins (three times a day). The researchers found that this daily consumption may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared to eating other common snacks.
In addition, raisins are rich in the heart-healthy electrolyte potassium, helping prevent low potassium — a common issue in the standard American diet. Potassium is a key mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body. People who get a lot of potassium in their diets have a lower risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke.
Raisins contain high levels of polyphenolic antioxidants called catechins. These antioxidants scavenge the free radicals that cause the development of tumours, especially colon cancer. Thus, including raisins in your diet is an effective way of preventing the formation of cancer cells.
Raisins help improve sexual dysfunction
They may not be a typical aphrodisiac, but raisins have been linked to an increased libido in men and women. This may be due to the Arginine content, which is used to aid in erectile dysfunction, Organic Facts reports.
Raisins, like all dried fruits, are very good tools for gaining weight in a healthy way, since they are full of fructose and glucose and contain a lot of potential energy. Raisins form an ideal part of a diet for athletes or body builders who need powerful boosts of energy or for those who want to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. Their role as a healthy addition to the diet is further boosted because of the many vitamins, amino acids and minerals in raisins, such as selenium and phosphorus, which facilitate absorption of other nutrients and proteins in the body. Raisins also stimulate the efficient absorption of other proteins, vitamins, and nutrients gained from food, which improves your overall energy and immune system strength.
For many years, some people have believed that raisins have the power to reduce blood pressure and protect the integrity of heart health, but it was only recently that experts began intensive studies on these claims. The findings, although still not absolutely definitive on how raisins reduced blood pressure, did show a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and consumption of raisins. Many of the nutrients packed into raisins are beneficial, but experts believe that it is the high level of potassium in raisins that helps with this condition. Potassium is a well-researched way to reduce the tension of blood vessels and decrease blood pressure, and the dietary fiber in raisins is also thought to affect the biochemistry of blood vessels and reduce their stiffness, which also reduces hypertension.
For Good Bones
Raisins also contain good amounts of calcium which is good for bone health . They help you from arthritis and gout.
Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties, are abundantly present in raisins and can help cure fevers by fighting viral and bacterial infections.
Help Manage Diabetes
A randomized study in 2015 evaluated the impact of routine consumption of dark raisins versus alternative processed snacks on glucose levels and other cardiovascular risk factors among patients with type II diabetes. In this study, compared to alternative processed snacks, those who consumed raisins had a 23 percent reduction in glucose levels after a meal. Those who consumed raisins also had a 19 percent reduction in fasting glucose and a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. Overall, research supports raisins as a healthy snack choice for patients with type II diabetes.
When you eat raisins, the fiber content also helps your body to process the raisins’ natural sugars, which helps prevent insulin spikes manage diabetes naturally.
Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties. These phytonutrients are very good for ocular health, as they protect eyes from the damage caused by free radicals (oxidants), in the form of macular degeneration, age-related weakening of vision, and cataracts. In addition to their antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin-A, A-Beta Carotene and A-Carotenoid, all of which are essential for good ocular health.
Other Benefits: The fibers in raisins also help promote excretion of bile from the body, and it stimulates the burning of cholesterol, thereby promoting good cardiac health. Furthermore, the amount of fiber in raisins helps to literally sweep out the toxins and harmful materials in the digestive tract, which can protect people from additional intestinal diseases, and bacterial growth that is eliminated when the toxins are swept out.
All of that being said, there are a few risk factors in excessive consumption of raisins. Raisins are quite high in calories, which can increase weight gain quickly if you are not careful. You need to factor in extra caloric intake in your diet, regardless of the other benefits that small amounts of raisins can give you. Raisins also have high levels of triglycerides due to their high content of fructose (triglycerides are byproducts of the body metabolizing fructose). High levels of triglycerides can increase your chances of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, and fatty liver cancer. If you have other risk factors, than be careful adding too many raisins into your diet!
Selection and storage
Several brands, grades, varieties of raisins can be available. While buying, look carefully for authentic brands, and always choose high-quality raisins since substandard berries have thin flesh, and poor taste and flavor.
Buy raisins that are full-fleshed, and plump in appearance. It is perfect to have fine wrinkles. Avoid old stocks as well as those with excess moisture, mold, or affected by sunburn, scars, insect injury, mechanical injury, which may seriously affect their appearance, edibility, and keeping quality.
Being a dry fruit, raisins have a long shelf life. They keep well when stored in airtight containers and placed away from moisture, humidity, sun light and high temperature. They can also be stored inside the refrigerator.
Prolonged cold storage may results in precipitation of their sugar contents. However, this should not offset their quality. It can be reversed by just soaking them in boiled water for few minutes in order to dissolve sugar crystals.
Preparation and serving method
Raisins are one of the most sought-after items used in the confectionary.
Here are some serving tips;
They can be enjoyed as a snack, all alone without any additions.
Sprinkle over to enrich fruit salads and ice creams, desserts…etc.
Add to bakery items like chocolates, cookies, muffins, bread, puddings, biscuits, cakes, waffles…etc.
In Iran, India, Pakistan and other South Asian region where they are popular as kismish (sultanas), added to various sweet delicacies.
They can be enjoyed with other dry fruits (apricots, dates, prunes) and nuts like almonds, cashew, macadamia… etc.
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This article is not intended to take the place of a competent nutritionist or doctor. It is solely intended to educate people on the vital and perhaps underestimated importance of this nutritional element.
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