Raisins have been revered as a healthy snack for centuries as they contain just the right amount of sugar, vitamins, fiber, minerals, and antioxidants to curb a sweet tooth while offering plenty of health benefits.
Raisins are made from seedless grapes, which have been harvested and sun-dried to turn their skins into the gorgeous shades of caramel and brown that they’re known for. Being a great source of energy and nutrients, raisins are some of the best and most affordable health foods in the world and they’re perfectly suitable for all ages.
Below you’ll find 10 incredible health benefits of raisins.
Raisins contain fiber which swells when eaten and absorbs the natural fluids present in the body. This adds bulk to any food moving through the intestinal tract, ultimately helping to provide relief from constipation. This type of fiber is known as insoluble fiber as it takes in water and gains volume in that way.
2. Promote Weight Gain
Raisins help people gain weight in a healthy way as they’re full of glucose and fructose. They form an ideal part of a diet for bodybuilders or athletes who need a powerful boost of energy, or for those who want to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy amounts of cholesterol.
Raisins contain high levels of catechins that help to prevent cancer. These are polyphenolic antioxidants that destroy any free radicals in the body, which are one of the primary underlying causes of cancer growth. Furthermore, the fiber content of raisins help to promote excretion of bile from the body, thus flushing out any dangerous toxins that can cause cancer.
4. Reduces Hypertension
Studies have shown a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and consumption of raisins. Many of the nutrients found in raisins are beneficial, but experts believe that it’s the high level of potassium that helps reduce hypertension. Potassium is a well-researched mineral that helps to reduce the tension of blood vessels and decrease high blood pressure, and the dietary fiber is also thought to reduce the stiffness of blood vessels which, in turn, reduces hypertension.
Oleanolic acid, one of the phytochemicals present in raisins, plays an important role in protecting your teeth from decay, cavities, and brittleness. This acid helps to prevent the growth of Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, two of the bacterial species that are responsible for cavities. As strange as this might sound, when eating these dried fruits, let them stick to your teeth for a bit as this ensures an extended contact of oleanolic acid with your teeth. Furthermore, raisins are rich in calcium, which strengthens and demineralizes tooth enamel.
6. Heart Health
The high levels of fiber, potassium, phenolic acid, polyphenols, tannins, and antioxidants present in raisins help to burn cholesterol and lower blood pressure, promoting good cardiac health.
In a number of studies, raisins have been shown to lower the postprandial insulin response, which means that they can stabilize the spikes or plunges of insulin after a meal that can be potentially dangerous to those with diabetes. They also help to regulate the release of ghrelin and leptin, which are the hormones that are responsible for telling the body when it’s full or hungry. By keeping a check on these hormones, people who eat raisins can improve their chances of maintaining a healthy diet and prevent overeating.
8. Treat Anemia
Raisins contain a lot of iron, which helps in the treatment of anemia. It also contains a lot of vitamin B which is essential for the formation of new blood. The high copper content also helps in the production of red blood cells.
Raisins contain antioxidant-rich polyphenolic phytonutrients, which are excellent for ocular health. They help to protect the eyes from the damage caused by free radicals, in the form of macular degeneration, cataracts, and age-related weakening of vision.
10. Reduces Arthritis Pain
Raisins constitute a natural source of antioxidants and polyphenols, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Gin-soaked golden raisins are a popular home remedy which helps to relieve chronic and arthritic pain. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people show an improvement in arthritic symptoms between 1-8 weeks of consuming ten of these drunken raisins each day.