Properties and Benefits of Raisins: Although they may not seem too appealing at first sight, raisins are actually sweet and savory, and make a wonderful alternative to traditional candy. Most dry fruits such as raisins, dry plums or figs are actually full of nutrients and boast many impressive health benefits. Both raisins and dry plums, for instance, are an efficient natural remedy for constipation and other common gastrointestinal problems. They can be eaten as such, added to baked sweets or even salads for a more chewy texture and sweeter flavor.
But the most important thing is that they are healthy, provided you chose organic brands. Raisins are often recommended as a healthier substitute for regular sugary candy. Whenever you crave something sweet, you can choose a handful of raisins to lollipops, cake or muffins. Because they contain fructose and glucose naturally, they can easily satisfy your craving for something sweet, not to mention they are a lot healthier.
Depending on the variety of grapes used to make them, there are 3 main types of raisins:
1) Sultanas are made from seedless varieties of dried white grapes. They produce rather plump light or dark brown raisins.
2) Currants or Black Corinth are raisins made from dried, dark red, usually seedless grape varieties. They lack the sweetness of the former.
3) Golden raisins are also made from dried white grapes, but they are also treated with a food preservative called sulfur dioxide to give them a golden tint.
These 10 health benefits might make you want to choose raisins over regular candy:
1) Raisins improve energy levels. Raisins are loaded with simple sugars such as fructose and glucose, which the human body absorbs easily. Because they are easily assimilated, they provide almost instant energy. Moreover, the vitamins and minerals found in raisins are absorbed along with the two sugars as well, meaning raisins supply our body with both energy and nutrients.
2) Raisins aid digestion naturally. Basically, raisins are dried grapes, meaning all the water has been extracted from them. When they reach our intestines, the fiber present in them begins to absorb water. This favors the passage through the intestines and facilitates one’s trips to the toilet. What this basically means is that constipation can be prevented naturally by ensuring an adequate fiber intake.
3) They maintain healthy teeth. While regular candy causes tooth decay and jeopardizes oral health in general (when consumed on a daily basis and in large amounts), raisins are actually good for our teeth. Because they contain oleanolic acid, a powerful anti-inflammatory, raisins prevent the growth of harmful bacteria responsible for cavities and gum disease. Olean(ol)ic acid is also known to be a powerful hepatoprotective, antiviral and anticancer agent.
4) Raisins promote bone health. Because they contain calcium, raisins contribute to maintaining strong, healthy bones and teeth. They also supply 15% of the recommended daily intake of phosphorus for every 100 g, further aiding in preserving a strong bone frame.
5) Due to their potassium content, raisins help reduce acidity in the body. Abnormal metabolic acidosis is a condition that leads to toxins accumulating in the body and may cause arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart disease. Moreover, potassium regulates the levels of fluid in the body, an effect with a direct, beneficial action on blood pressure.
6) Natural treatment against infections. Raisins contain polyphenolic substances with potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which help fight off infections.
7) Polyphenols found in raisins boast impressive antioxidant properties with great impact on eye health. Antioxidants scavenge harmful free radical molecules and prevent them from causing serious damage to cells throughout our body.
8) Anemia prevention. Raisins provide good amounts of iron (23%) and copper (35%). Iron supports red blood cell production and prevents anemia. Copper promotes blood coagulation and fast wound healing.
9) Anticancer properties. Catechines are potent antioxidant substances found naturally in raisins. They are believed to offer anticancer protection.
10) Last but not least, raisins stimulate libido. Being rich in arginine, an amino acid also found in nuts and cereals, raisins appear to efficiently stimulate libido.
As with all things, moderation is the key. So whenever you crave something sweet, you can enjoy some raisins. Not only are they sweet, but they also provide a wide range of health benefits. How high do raisins rank in your ‘favorite-foods chart’?