The health benefits of raisins include improving digestion, bone health, and iron levels. They also help treat acidosis, bloating, anemia, fever, and sexual dysfunction. They have also been known for aiding in a healthy weight gain, as well as for their positive impact on eyes, teeth, and hair.
What are Raisins?
Raisins are obtained by drying grapes, either in the sun or in driers, which turns the grapes into golden, green or black gems. They are naturally sweet in flavor and are widely used in cultural cooking around the world, especially in desserts.
Are Raisins Good For You?
Raisins may be tiny in size but they are good for you as they pack a nutritional punch. They are considered part of the fruit group, according to a report by the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy & Promotion. These dried fruits boost energy and are usually added to health tonics, snacks, and compact, high-energy food supplements for mountaineers, backpackers, and campers.
A 43 gram serving of raisins contains around 129 calories. Since they are high in calories, it is recommended that in a day, you should eat ¼ cup of raisins or 1 small snack box (one and a half oz.) which is available in most grocery stores.
As per USDA National Nutrient Database, raisins are a good source of energy, fiber, ash, protein, and carbs. They are high in sugar and calories but have a low glycemic index. Raisins contain zero cholesterol and are also rich in various nutrients that include:
- Vitamins: Vitamin C, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-6,
- Minerals: Potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and sodium
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.54|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||78.47|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||6.8|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||28|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||2.59|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||30|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||75|
|Potassium, K [mg]||825|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||28|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.18|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||5.4|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.19|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||3|
|Vitamin B-12 [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||0|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||0|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]||0|
|Vitamin D [IU]||0|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||0.18|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||0.02|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||0.16|
|Fatty acids, total trans [g]||0|
|Sources include : USDA|
Benefits of Raisins
Let’s take a look at the powerful health benefits of raisins in detail below.
Rich in Fiber – Act as a Laxative
Raisins have an abundant supply of fiber in them, which helps to absorb the natural fluids present in the body. This adds bulk to the food moving through the intestinal tract and ultimately helps give relief from. This type of fiber is considered insoluble fiber because it takes in water to gain volume.
A study by Dr. Gene Spiller, director of the Health Research and Studies Center of the Sphera Foundation in Los Altos, California, confirms that adding just two servings of raisins per day can improve colon function and may decrease the risk of colon cancer.
The fiber in raisins helps sweep out toxins and harmful materials from the digestive tract. This can protect people from intestinal diseases, bacterial growth, and discomfort from bloating.
Raisins rich in potassium and magnesium, are a natural remedy for acidosis. Potassium and magnesium are two of the most common components of antacids because they are considered basic on the pH scale. Acidosis is a state of increased acidity of the blood (also known as toxicity of the blood) or the gases in our respiratory system that may cause boils, skin diseases, damage to the internal organs, gout, and renal calculi.
Rich in Iron – Treat Anemia
Raisins contain a considerable amount of iron, which directly helps in the treatment of anemia. It also contains many members of vitamin B complex that are essential for the formation of new blood. The high copper content also helps in the production of red blood cells.
Promote Dental & Oral Health
Raisins are rich in calcium, which strengthens and demineralizes tooth enamel. Further, boron present in these dried fruits helps curb the growth of oral germs, promoting strong teeth.
Oleanolic acid, one of thepresent in raisins, plays a crucial role in protecting your teeth against decay, cavities, and brittleness. It effectively prevents the growth of mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, two of the bacterial species that are most responsible for cavities.
This is confirmed in a study by Dr. Christine D. Wu, Department of Pediatric Dentistry, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois, Chicago. As strange as it may sound, while eating the dried fruits, the longer they stick to your teeth, the better, because that ensures an extended contact of oleanolic acid with the teeth, increasing the preventive powers of bacterial growth.
Rich in Antioxidants
Raisins have high levels of antioxidants that include catechins and polyphenolic . These antioxidants protect against the damage caused by free radicals which is one of the primary underlying factors linked to growth of cancer cells and other conditions such as macular degeneration etc. However, more scientific evidence is required.
Further, the fiber content helps promote excretion of bile from the body, thus flushing out toxins.
Gin-soaked golden raisins are a popular folk remedy which helps relieve chronic pain and especially arthritic pain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people show improvement in arthritic symptoms between 1-8 weeks of consuming 10 of these “drunken” raisins daily.
Rich in Calcium & Boron – Promote Bone Health
Calcium, the main element of our bones, is present in raisins, and these dried fruits are one of the best sources of boron, a micronutrient (a nutrient required by the body in a very small amount). Boron is vital for the proper bone formation and efficient absorption of calcium.
It is particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis induced by menopause in women and is very beneficial for bones and joints. Potassium is another essential nutrient found in high levels, which can help strengthen bones and promote bone growth, thereby reducing the chances of osteoporosis.
Raisins have long been known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal, primarily due to the presence of an amino acid called arginine, which is beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction. This is confirmed in a research performed on 180 patients suffering from asthenospermia (a condition for reduced sperm motility).
Arginine is a natural aphrodisiac that increases the levels of sperm motility, thereby increasing the chances of conception when engaging in sexual intercourse. Consuming these sweet dried fruits daily also helps increase sexual endurance.
Note: It is a common practice in India to make the bride and the groom drink a glass of milk each, boiled with raisins and a pinch of saffron on their wedding night.
Improve Skin Health
Promote Hair Health
Daily consumption helps promote shiny and thick hair as the vitamin C content prevents cell damage. Their anti- properties help prevent scalp irritation, dandruff, and flakiness.
Iron deficiency anemia can be a cause for your insomnia trouble, and therefore, intake of iron-rich raisins can help ensure a good night’s sleep.
Control Cholesterol Levels
The high levels of potassium, fiber, polyphenols, phenolic acid, tannins, and antioxidants in raisins stimulate the burning of cholesterol as well as lowers, thereby promoting good cardiac health.
Studies show a positive correlation between reduced report by Dr. Horacio Adrogue, a specialist in Transplant Nephrology in Houston, Texas, says that the dietary fiber in these dried grapes is also thought to affect the biochemistry of blood vessels and reduce their stiffness, which in turn reduces hypertension.and consumption of raisins. Many of the nutrients packed into them are beneficial, but experts believe that it is the high level of potassium that helps reduce the tension of blood vessels and decrease high blood pressure. A
Promote Weight Gain
Raisins help gain weight in a healthy way since they are full of fructose and glucose. They form an ideal part of a diet for athletes or who need a powerful boost of energy, or for those who want to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy amounts of cholesterol.
In a number of studies, raisins have been shown to lower the postprandial insulin response, which means they can stabilize the spikes or plunges on the insulin after a meal that can otherwise be dangerous to patients with diabetes. They also help regulate the release of leptin and ghrelin, which are the hormones responsible for telling the body when it is hungry or full.
By keeping a check on these hormones, people who eat raisins can improve their chances of maintaining a healthy diet and prevent overeating.
Promote Kidney Health
Potassium in raisins helps prevent formation and the re-occurrence of kidney stones.
Increase Nutrient Uptake
Raisins have a rich content of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals such as selenium and phosphorus, which facilitate absorption of other nutrients and proteins in the body. Including them in your diet helps improve your overall energy and immune system strength.
Raisins can help to stop loose stools by absorbing its liquid and reducing the frequency and unpredictability of diarrhea.
Overnight-soaked raisins and raisin water are used as part of the liver cleanse diet as the dried fruits are rich in bioflavonoids that protect you from the free radical activity. Raisin water especially promotes good liver health, which helps purify the blood.
Raisins can be included as part of your daily diet in a number of creative and healthy ways:
- Sweet crunch: You can sprinkle them on salads, -slathered celery sticks, fruit bowls, or make them a part of your home-made trail mix.
- Salads: Broccoli salad with raisins and carrot raisin salad are popular recipes.
- Breakfast: Add it to sweeten your oatmeal or smoothie bowl instead of sugar or syrup.
- Dinner: They make a delightful addition to mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, or other side dishes. In the Middle East, they are sprinkled on rice dishes.
- Natural sweetener: You can use it in muffins and pancakes to sweeten it if you are trying to avoid or cut back on refined sugar.
- Snack: The dried fruits, in their raw form, are a healthy snack option for people of all ages. Chocolate-covered raisins, as well as yogurt-covered raisins, are also popular for a quick energy burst.
How to Store?
Raisins once opened, should be kept in a cool, dry area. It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months. They retain their flavor, color, and nutrition value. You can also keep it in refrigerated for a year. In case they dry out, you can make them usable by steaming them over boiling water for a few minutes.
Sultanas Vs Raisins Vs Currants
Many people struggle with knowing the difference between raisins, sultanas, and currants while baking. Let us take a look at the differences below.
- Raisins: They are produced from grapes of all varieties, which are traditionally sun-dried, but they may also be artificially dehydrated. They are mainly Moscatel grapes, which are produced in the US, Turkey, Greece, and Australia. While baking, raisins are mainly used to soak liquor like rum, brandy, or almond-flavored Amaretto.
- Sultanas: Often called golden raisins because of their color, sultanas are dried seedless white grapes. They are plumper, juicier, and sweeter than other raisins. It is mainly produced in Turkey. The most common type in the US is the Thomson seedless.
- Currants: They are tiny dried, dark red, seedless grapes, often the Black Corinth variety. They were originally cultivated in the south of Greece, particularly from the island of Zante; this is why they are also called Zante currants. They have a tart flavor and are usually used in traditional cakes.
There are a few risk factors in excessive consumption of raisins.
- Weight gain: They are quite high in calories, which can increase weight quickly if you are not careful.
- Diabetes risk: The dried fruits 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, says a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. If you have other risk factors, then be careful and don’t add too many raisins to your diet.
- Allergy: Some people have allergic reactions. They range from wheezing, breathing problems, diarrhea, and even fever, in some cases.