Raisins and Their Key Health Benefits
Known for their high energy value and low fat qualities, raisins are the first choice among hikers and backpackers. They are nothing but dehydrated grapes with a sweet sugary taste. Raisins come in different varieties and colors. Popular varieties include Sultana or “Golden Raisins”, Monukka, mini raisins like Zante Currants and seedless raisins such as Thompson. Raisins generally come in golden brown or dark brown colors, but you may also find a slight purple or a blue hue in some varieties. Whatever be the color, quality or size, the health benefits of raisins are quite well-known.
The word raisin comes from the French word raisin or raisin sec, which means “dried grape”. Raisins were traditionally prepared using sun’s heat, but today the process of preparing raisins is quite mechanical and often involves oven drying.
Nutrition Facts & Benefits of Raisins
Raisins are rich in antioxidants, fiber and mineral boron. They are a very good source of polyphenolic phytonutrients and compose mainly of fructose. However, raisins are quite low in vitamin C.
Important Health Benefits of Raisins:
Raisins promote better bone health among women because of the presence of boron. Boron is an important trace mineral known to provide protection against osteoporosis. It is also very important for proper bone formation and absorption. Raisins are among the most important food sources that contribute to dietary boron.
Raisins are a very good source of antioxidant vitamins. Adding few raisins to your morning breakfast cereal, yoghurt or fruit salads everyday can be a perfect way to boost good vision. These dried fruits contain
Raisins are very good for athletes and gym goers who crave for high energy foods. They are full of glucose and fructose as well as rich in amino acids, phosphorus, selenium, vitamins and amino acids.
The presence of phytochemicals in raisins inhibits the growth of oral bacterial infections. The harmful bacteria in the mouth lead to caries and gum problems. According to the researchers from the University of Illinois in Chicago, the Thompson seedless variety of raisins is rich in 5 types of phytochemicals, including oleanolic acid. These chemical compounds inhibit the growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which are responsible for causing cavities and gum infection. Since raisins do not contain sucrose, (they contain only glucose and fructose), they are absolutely safe for teeth.
Other health benefits of raisins include cancer-inhibiting properties. Raisins contain Catechin, a phenolic antioxidant, which can prevent colon cancer and tumors.
(image credit: wikipedia)
Raisins: Selection, Storage and Consumption Tips
Proper selection and storage ensures the nutritional properties of raisins be intact and the benefits of raisins are enjoyed to the fullest. Here are few tips on consumption, storage and selection.
Consumption of raisins made from organically grown grapes is the best way to enjoy their taste. Imported grapes contain pesticide residues, which may be very harmful to your health.
Try to buy only those raisins that come in transparent containers. If they are sealed in semi-transparent containers, make sure the container is tightly sealed.
Always store raisins in airtight jars and store them in refrigerator. This will ensure they remain soft and fresh.