One of the most well-known, well-liked, and frequently consumed dried fruits is the raisin. When compared by volume to whole fruit, they have a higher sugar content than all other dried fruit. Not many raisins are necessary for the sugar to quickly accumulate. However, raisins offer fiber in addition to other health advantages. They offer a low-cost, shelf-stable method of consuming fruit.
What are raisins?Dried grapes are raisins. Raisins are nutrient- and calorie-dense due to the drying process's concentration of the nutrients and sugars found in grapes.
Prior to arriving in Europe, where they were particularly well-liked by the Greeks and Romans, raisins were originally developed in the Middle East. In the past, raisins were used as money, as prizes for sporting competitions, and as a remedy for illnesses like food poisoning.
Nowadays, most supermarkets carry raisins. They can be produced using a wide range of grape varieties. The flavors and textures of raisins vary depending on the grapes used.
Various techniques can be used to dry raisins as well. Raisins that have been naturally dried in the sun have a dark color. The drying process takes about three weeks. In a commercial or residential dehydrator, they can also be dried.
They should be consumed in moderation because they are high in calories and naturally occurring sugar.
What are sultans?Different grape varieties or different drying techniques may result in different-sounding raisins. Three different varieties of dried grapes are raisins, sultanas, and currants. Even though they are very similar, they also have their own distinctive characteristics.
Sultanas are sometimes referred to as "golden raisins." Sultanas are produced from Thompson seedless grapes, like the majority of raisins in the United States. These green grapes are typically grown in California and are of medium size.
The grapes go through a different drying process to make sultanas. To stop them from fading, they are first dipped in a sulfur dioxide solution. Then, rather than allowing them to dry naturally, they are processed through sizable dehydrators. Unlike the natural raisins, which take a few weeks to dry, these only take a few hours.
What Are Currants?Not to be confused with the black currant, which is a type of berry, what we call currants in the U.S. are raisins made from a specific type of grape: Black Corinth. They’re also called Zante currants or Corinth currants.
Black Corinth grapes are seedless and quite small. They were originally grown in the Mediterranean region and have been used to make raisins for a long time. Today, Greece is the largest producer of currants. California, Australia, and South Africa also produce currants.
Like raisins, currants are naturally dried and have a dark color.
Raisin Nutrition Information
Raisins, sultanas, and currants have similar nutritional qualities. All are rich in antioxidants – substances that help your cells fight harmful molecules called free radicals. And they’re all good sources of:
- Vitamin B6
Raisins also contain boron. This mineral helps maintain good bone and joint health, can improve wound healing, and may improve cognitive performance.
A quarter-cup of standard raisins contains:
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 32 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Sugar: 26 grams
- Calcium: 25
- Iron: 1 milligram
A quarter cup of sultanas contains:
- Calories: 130
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 31 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Sugar: 10 grams
- Calcium: 20 milligrams
- Iron: 1 milligram
A quarter-cup of dried currants has:
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 30 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Sugar: 27 grams
- Calcium: 40 milligrams
- Iron: 1.5 milligrams
5 Health Benefits of Raisins Nutrition
Aside from being a popular snack food based on taste alone, raisins contain polyphenols, antioxidants, flavonoids and nutrients that can benefit overall health. Here are some of the top ways consuming raisins can help you live a healthier life.
1. Decrease Likelihood of Cavities & Gum Disease
Contrary to what you might expect from a sweet and sticky dried fruit, raisins can actually improve oral health. In fact, they’re one of the best ways to naturally reverse cavities and heal tooth decay. Research published in the Phytochemistry Letters revealed that raisins can benefit oral health because the fruit possesses antimicrobial phytochemicals that suppress the growth oral bacteria associated with dental cavities and gum disease.
One of the five phytochemicals the study identified in raisins is
oleanolic acid. In the study, oleanolic acid inhibited the growth of two
species of oral bacteria: Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease — aka gum disease. So even though raisins satisfy your sweet tooth, they actually help to keep that tooth free from cavities!
2. Excellent Digestive Aid
As a high-fiber food, raisins are an excellent digestive aid. Anything that aids your digestion is going to make you less likely to have common bathroom issues like constipation or diarrhea. Raisins contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which both help keep things moving through the intestinal tract in a healthy way by reducing constipation but discouraging loose stools as well.
Dried fruits might have more calories than fresh, but they also have a
higher amount of fiber. For example, one cup of grapes has one gram of
fiber while one cup of raisins has seven grams of fiber. By adding
raisins to your snacks and meals, you instantly up the fiber content of
your culinary creations quickly and easily.
3. Lower Blood Pressure & Reduce Stroke Risk
Data presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual
Scientific Session in 2012 suggests that individuals with mild increases
in blood pressure can benefit from the routine consumption of raisins
(three times a day). The researchers found that this daily consumption
may significantly lower blood pressure, especially when compared to eating other common snacks.
In addition, raisins are rich in the heart-healthy electrolyte potassium, helping prevent low potassium — a common issue in the standard American diet. Potassium is a key mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues and organs in the human body. People who get a lot of potassium in their diets have a lower risk of stroke, especially ischemic stroke.
4. Help Manage Diabetes
A randomized study in 2015 evaluated the impact of routine
consumption of dark raisins versus alternative processed snacks on
glucose levels and other cardiovascular risk factors among patients with
type II diabetes. In this study, compared to alternative processed
snacks, those who consumed raisins had a 23 percent reduction in glucose
levels after a meal. Those who consumed raisins also had a 19 percent
reduction in fasting glucose and a significant reduction in systolic
blood pressure. Overall, research supports raisins as a healthy snack
choice for patients with type II diabetes.
When you eat raisins, the fiber content also helps your body to process the raisins’ natural sugars, which helps prevent insulin spikes manage diabetes naturally.
5. Aid in Preventing Cancer
Studies show that dried fruits, especially dates, prunes and raisins, contain high phenolic components that have stronger antioxidant powers than those in some fresh fruits. Antioxidants are extremely important to our health because they prevent free radicals (highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm cells) from causing cellular damage inside our bodies.Free radicals are one of the primary, underlying factors that lead to the spontaneous growth of cancer cells as well as the spread of cancer, which is why high-antioxidant foods like raisins are such great natural cancer treatments. By including raisins in your diet, not only can you can increase your antioxidant levels, but you can also decrease cellular damage and ward off cancer.