Raisins are basically grapes that have been dried in the sun or in a food dehydrator. In fact, the word ‘raisin’ actually comes from the Latin word ‘racemes’, which translates to a cluster of grapes or berries. It takes more than four tons of grapes to produce one ton of raisins. There are a lot of myths about raisins. But they actually have the same benefits as grapes, as they are the same fruit, just dehydrated.
Raisins may be sweet, but not all sweets are bad. In fact, raisins can be a great alternative to high calorie chocolates and mithai that can help beat sugar cravings. If you've got a sweet tooth, replacing unhealthy, sugary snacks with raisins might be a good idea. That’s not all, this tiny bundle comes with lots of other health benefits too. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Ms. Kavita Devgan – Nutrition Advisor, Tata Sampann, to find out the reasons why you should eat a handful of raisins everyday.
Health benefits of raisins
1. Helps beat constipation
Raisins are loaded with dietary fibre, which is great news for our gut. They help in keeping you satiated (keeps you full longer), works as a laxative, and also plays a role in lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.
2. Gives you energy
Raisins are rich in fructose and glucose, and deliver loads of energy. In fact, they offer a quick source of much-needed carbohydrates for athletes, and can be a surprisingly good pre-workout snack.
3. Prevents anaemia
Raisins are a good source of iron, which can prevent iron deficiency anaemia. Iron is important for making red blood cells and helps them carry oxygen to the cells across the body. They also deliver copper, which again is important to form haemoglobin.
4. Great for bones
Raisins contain some calcium in trace amounts. It also contains the mineral boron. Both are important to keep bones and joints healthy, and to help prevent osteoporosis (thinning of the bones).
5. Keeps the BP in check
Raisins are high in potassium, which is a natural vasodilator. This means that it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and can thus keep our blood pressure stable.
6. Keeps the immunity robust
They contain multiple essential nutrients such as vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants and polyphenols, all of which help in fighting free radicals in our system.
7. Good for oral health
Oleanolic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid - the three main phytochemicals raisins contain are known to fight bacteria in the mouth that can lead to cavities. So, consume raisins in place of sugary snack foods can actually help keep your smile healthy.
Raisins are also full of nutrients like vitamin C, selenium, and zinc, which are valuable for skin health. Moreover, besides potassium, raisins also have a good amount of magnesium; both of these are alkaline minerals that help tame acidity in the body.
How to consume raisins?
•As a salad topping
•Added to chicken salad and pasta
•Mixed into granola, morning oats, porridge
•Sprinkled on yoghurt
•Baked into delicious cookies, breads, and muffins
Like any dried fruit, eating too much of raisins can be bad for you because of their high sugar content and calories. So make sure you practice portion control and to keep it to a handful at a time.
All image credits: Freepik