Raisins are just grapes that have been dried in the sun – kind of shriveled brown or purple morsels. Commonly used as salad toppings or mixed into oatmeal, raisins are wonderful when taken in moderation. They are high in sugar and calories, but they do have their share of benefits. Which is what we will look at now.
Table Of Contents
- How Are Raisins Made? How Do They Benefit You?
- What Are The Benefits Of Raisins?
- What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Raisins
How Are Raisins Made? How Do They Benefit You?
How raisins are made is quite simple. They are made by sun drying different types of grapes. And the drying process concentrates the sugar they contain, making them much sweeter in the process.
And how they benefit us is even simpler. They are packed with nutrients and fiber. While the former can boost iron levels and keep the bones strong, the latter aids digestion. Oh, by the way, there’s more you should know.
What Are The Benefits Of Raisins?
1. Boost Digestive Health
Raisins have healing properties that soothe the stomach. They are easy to digest and promote the health of intestinal bacteria. And given they are high in fiber, they boost digestion as well. Which is why they are a good remedy for constipation and diarrhea. They contain both soluble and insoluble fibers – this helps reduce constipation and facilitates the smooth passage of stools. Adding one cup of raisins to your diet is a quick way to boost your fiber intake (1).
2. Aid Arthritis Treatment
Though we need more research on this, some sources say that raisins soaked in gin can alleviate arthritis pain. You have to fill a glass jar with raisins. Now, pour in the gin (specifically made with Juniper berries) until the raisins are covered. Let the mixture sit for a week – the raisins will soak up the gin. Post this, you can have 10 raisins per day.
Raisins are rich in potassium, catechins, and vitamin C. Catechins and vitamin C are antioxidants that also exhibit anti-inflammatory activity. And the gin, the one made with Juniper berries, also contains anti-inflammatory properties (2).
Raisins contain calcium, and more importantly, they also contain boron that improves calcium absorption.
3. Fight Cancer
A diet rich in antioxidants can cut the risk of cancer – and this is where raisins come into play. The antioxidants in raisins not only kill cancerous cells but also prevent them from multiplying. Raisins also contain phenolic compounds (currants and sultanas) that are known to prevent gastric cancer.
Other studies have also shown how dried fruit can be as good as fresh fruit in combating cancer (3). In fact, one Greek study tells us how the phenolic compounds in raisins can help ward off colon cancer (4).
The anti-inflammatory properties of raisins can also help beat cancer.
4. Raisins Regulate Blood Pressure And Protect The Heart
Reports by the American College of Cardiology tell us how raisins can be a healthy way to lower blood pressure and boost heart health (5). One reason for this could be the high potassium levels in them – the mineral has been identified to regulate blood pressure levels. And the fiber in raisins can reduce the stiffness of arteries, thereby regulating blood pressure.
Raisins are also known to regulate cholesterol levels, another way they contribute to heart health. The soluble fiber in the dried fruit plays a role in this aspect.
5. Are Good For Diabetics
Though raisins contain natural sugars, they have a moderate glycemic index – making them a good addition to a diabetes diet. Just ensure you stick to one serving a day.
In other studies, raisins were found to reduce post-meal glucose by as much as 16%. They are also replete with fiber and antioxidants, which help control blood sugar levels (6).
You can replace highly-refined snacks with raisins – this can help control blood sugar levels, especially if you are diabetic.
6. Boost Energy
Being rich in simple carbohydrates (in the form of fructose and glucose) makes raisins a good source of quick energy. Given the sugars in raisins are already in their simplest form, your body doesn’t have to break them down further. This is where your energy comes from.
Research also suggests the raisins are as good as energy bars in fueling a workout (7).
7. Raisins Treat Anemia
Raisins are rich in iron (8). A small box of the dried fruits meets about 4% of the daily requirement of the mineral. Interestingly, the type of iron in raisins is called nonheme iron – which is the type of iron whose absorption is often influenced by the food you take. Hence, taking raisins with vitamin C can boost iron absorption. And this, in turn, can help treat anemia.
8. Can Strengthen Immunity
Though there is no specific research that talks about this, the presence of nutrients and powerful antioxidants can make raisins good pro-immunity foods. The nutrients in raisins can also help treat fever and other ailments like cold and cough.
9. Raisins Improve Oral Health
Raisins contain antimicrobial phytochemicals that can suppress oral pathogens responsible for cavities and other gum diseases (9).
Another study has also shown how eating raisins can protect one against cavities. The phytochemicals in the dried fruits prevent bad bacteria (like Mutans Streptococci) from sticking to the surface of the teeth – and this also helps prevent oral issues (10).
10. Might Aid Weight Loss
Though there is no direct link between raisins and weight loss, the fiber these dried fruits contain can help in a way. Raisins are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibers, and this aids digestion and promotes the smooth passage of stool. Adequate fiber also keeps you satiated and keeps binging at bay.
11. Enhance Liver Health
Raisins can improve liver health in numerous ways. Free radicals can cause liver injury – and the antioxidants in raisins can fight them and boost liver health. Studies have shown that raisins have more antioxidants than fresh grapes.
Raisins are also good sources of quercetin, an important antioxidant. Quercetin has been found to protect the liver against the debilitating effects of alcohol. And the vitamin C in raisins is another important nutrient that protects the liver. Vitamin C can prevent food additives from damaging the liver.
12. Raisins Can Fight Acne
Oxidation can cause acne. In fact, it is one of the major causes. The antioxidants in raisins can fight the free radical damage and even combat inflammation. And as raisins aid liver health, there is natural detoxification happening in the body – and this also contributes to clearer skin.
Some sources say raisins can also help in skin lightening.
13. Strengthen Hair
Raisins also contain silica, a mineral that is known to increase hair thickness. And the iron in them works in strengthening the hair roots.
These are the benefits of raisins. Now, let’s take a look at the nutrients these dried fruits contain.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Raisins?
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.46 g||1.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||3.7 g||10%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.095 mg||2%|
|Vitamin A||0 IU||0%|
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg||4%|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||3.5 µg||3%|
Raisins sure are tasty snacks. And when we know they are packed with nutrients, eating them becomes all the more fun. Just keep a check on the servings, though.
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Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
How long do raisins last?
Raisins, once out in the open, can last for 6 months. You can also store them in a tightly sealed container and the refrigerator – they will last for a year.
What happens when you place raisins in fresh water?
Since raisins are nothing but dehydrated grapes, placing them in water results in osmosis. Water flows into the raisins and swells them up.
How many raisins can you eat in a day?
About 1.5 ounces (close to 90 raisins) a day should suffice.
What are the side effects of raisins?
When it comes to pregnancy and breastfeeding, we don’t know what taking raisins (or grapes in general) can do. Hence, stay safe and avoid use.
Raisins might also slow blood clotting. Hence, don’t take them at least two weeks before surgery.
- “Increasing fiber intake”. University of California San Francisco.
- “Gin-soaked raisins may alleviate pain”. Fox News.
- “Dried fruit as good as fresh…”. Mirror.
- “Chemopreventive properties of raisins...”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Snacking on raisins may offer a heart…”. American College of Cardiology.
- “Acute effects of raisin consumption…”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Raisin’ a sweat? Why dried grapes…”. Dailymail.
- “Avoiding anemia”. News In Health.
- “Grape products and oral health”. US National Library of Medicine.
- “Does raisins protect...”. US National Library of Medicine.
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