Raisins may appear all dry and wrinkly but they are super delicious and healthy. They were accidentally discovered centuries ago as dried grapes on the vines. Raisins are considered to be a very important food discovery and are used in multiple cuisines all over the world till date. In India, Raisins are known as Kishmish and they are an integral ingredient in hundreds of dishes both sweet and spicy. They are used in kheer, barfis, kachoris, samosas, and even certain types of South Indian Biryanis! Apart from the fact that raisins are yummy, there are many other reasons that will prompt you to include them in your daily diet. They are rich in natural sugar which means that they are true energy boosters.
Raisins are mostly seen in golden, green, and black variants which not only look different but also taste quite different. But the one thing that’s common among all of these varieties is the presence of a high amount of iron, potassium, and calcium that are extremely beneficial for our health. Eating raisins are healthy but if you want to get the most out of it, soak them in half a glass of water overnight and drink it (along with the raisins) when you wake up the next day (1). This is considered nutritious because the water dissolves the nutrients and makes it easily accessible for our body to absorb. Here are a few reasons why you should follow this practice every day.
Lowers Blood Pressure
If you have blood pressure that’s slightly higher than normal, you’re suffering from hypertension. According to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology, the consumption of raisins on a regular basis will help in lowering blood pressure. The researchers found that raisins helped significantly in bringing down the blood pressure and can be a very good alternative for regularly munched snacks like crackers or chocolate chip cookies. While it is clear that raisins lower blood pressure, researchers are yet to find out how they do it. However, many believe that it may be because of the rich potassium content in raisins as potassium is known to lower blood pressure (2).
Helps With Digestion
Raisins are packed with soluble fibers. These fibers give body to the stool and help in passing them through the intestines easily. This helps in better digestion and will save you from constipation and similar issues (3). Now you know what to snack on if you’re having tummy troubles, right?
Aids Weight Loss
It’s not very easy for people who are on strict diets to control their sugar cravings. Well, raisins are a healthy and “sweet” alternative to your sugar snacks that contain tonnes of calories. The natural sugars in raisins help you curb your sugar cravings and this helps you maintain a healthy weight. However, remember to eat them in moderation and not to go overboard because too much of anything is not healthy.
Fights Gastric Inflammatory Diseases
The burning sensation that you feel when you’re suffering from such issues can be quite painful. The long term consequences of this inflammation include damage to the inner lining of your stomach and dangerous ulcers. According to research, the consumption of raisins will help in curbing the symptoms of gastric inflammatory diseases. This is true only for certain varieties of raisins and not all of them. The more potent varieties include the one with seeds like the Turkish raisins (4). So, if you want to start consuming raisins to improve your gastric issues you know which ones to purchase.
Protects Oral Hygiene
We often think that sweet and sticky food items like raisins get stuck in between our teeth and lead to cavities. Well, hold your breath because a study conducted by the USA Department of Food and Nutrition found that raisins can actually improve oral hygiene and protect us from cavities! This is because raisins contain phytochemicals and plant antioxidants like oleanolic acids that fight against the bacteria that invade our mouth and cause dental cavities. Scientists explain that raisins not just prevent bacterial attacks, but they can also proliferate microbes that are stuck to our teeth. Hence, it’s a great idea to include organic raisins in your breakfast (5).
Prevents Anemia And Dementia
Raisins are packed with iron which helps you stay away from anemia. Anemia occurs due to the lack of red blood cells or hemoglobin in your blood. This condition can make you weak and lead to many other illnesses like dementia in the longer run. A study conducted by the American Academy of Neurology found that the people who had anemia were at a higher risk of dementia. The institute lists raisins among the food items that can prevent anemia and thereby dementia in the future (6).
When purchasing raisins, always go for the healthy and organic ones. Your breakfast cereals may have raisins in them but they are mostly processed. If you’re suffering from a particular health problem, buy the variety of raisin that will help you with it. What is your favorite dish that includes raisins? Share the recipe with us in the comments below!