What are raisins?
Raisins are dried grapes that belong to the dry fruit category. Grapes are dried either in the sun or driers to make raisins. The process turns grapes into golden, green, red, or black dried fruit. The natural sweetness of raisins makes them a wonderful ingredient to add to desserts.
What nutrition do raisins provide?
A half-cup of raisins can provide 216 calories.
Raisins are also a good source of
What are the benefits of eating raisins?
Raisins can be your snacking option, particularly if you have a sweet tooth. You may not find it as fulfilling as grapes. Hence, there is a chance that you may overeat it. Therefore, keep a watch on how much you eat. Incorporating raisins in quantities that suit your daily dietary requirements without adversely affecting any underlying health conditions (such as diabetes) may be good for you. The health benefits of raisins include:
- Digestive health: The dehydration process in making raisins converts part of the grape sugars into fructans, a form of fiber. While fructans are not found in grapes, the fructan content in raisins can reach up to 8%. Being a good source of soluble fiber, raisins aid your digestion and alleviate stomach issues. Raisins also contain phytochemicals, such as triterpenoids and tartaric acid. Research shows this protein may work synergistically with fiber to maintain a healthy digestive system. Along with the prebiotic content (substances that promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut) of raisins, these phytochemicals may also help improve colon function. However, studies in this regard are inconclusive.
- Heart health: Raisins can improve your heart health by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They work through their fiber and antioxidant contents to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the bad cholesterol) levels in your blood. The good content of potassium can help lower the sodium content, and thus, raisins help maintain normal blood pressure. This effect may also help patients with hypertension.
- Lowered risk of diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease: Raisins have a low to moderate glycemic index (GI). It is a measure for evaluating the ability of a food item to increase blood sugar levels after its consumption. Raisins are a healthy choice for patients with diabetes because of their low GI. Their consumption could be linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. You must, however, make sure that you have them in moderation after consulting your doctor. The antioxidative property of raisins is mainly due to the presence of plant-based substances known as polyphenols. This property may help prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Although animal studies are showing this effect, studies on humans are lacking.
- Oral health: Raisins can help maintain good oral health due to their antibacterial activity, low adherence to teeth, and optimum oral pH. They may help reduce your risk of dental cavities.
- Prevention of anemia: Consuming raisins can help increase the hemoglobin levels in your blood and prevent anemia because they are a good source of iron. Low blood hemoglobin levels result in the condition known as anemia. Anemia is characterized by pale skin, reduced stamina, hair loss, tiredness, and, in severe cases, heart trouble.
Resist the temptation of eating raisins more than the recommended amount. Overeating can cause weight gain and throw your weight management efforts off the track. It may also increase blood sugar levels and increase complications for people with diabetes.