High sugar foods are tempting, but they also bring along various lifestyle diseases with them. It is hard to choose minimally processed food from the vast list of mouth-watering foods. Are you having a sweet tooth and still want to be healthy? No worries, our saviour raisins are here!
Raisins, also known as dried grapes, are ideal. They have no added preservatives and are minimally processed. However, their high calorie and sugar content are a drawback.
What are raisins?
Raisins are fermented grapes. Reddish-brown colour is their identity, but they are also available in golden colour.
Traditional raisins are usually sun-dried with no added preservatives. The brown colour of the fruit is due to the air-drying process.
Golden raisins are dried in a dehydrator and have sulphur dioxide as an added preservation, giving them the golden shade.
Both these varieties are made from the same type of grape and are healthy. Raisins are a nutrient-dense food despite their small size.
Types of raisins
Regular raisins are generally known as black raisins and are the most common type of dried grape.
It is typically made from seedless Thompson grapes that have been sun-dried for three weeks on paper. It can also be made from grapes of any skin colour.
The raisins turn brown to black during the drying process. They have a sweet and sticky texture.
They can become soggy on the inside from time to time. However, if overdried, they can have a gritty texture.
Zante currants are dark raisins with a distinct, sharp flavour. They are only about 1 cm across.
The name of these raisins comes from an ancient grape variety. They are also known as currants and are frequently used in combination with other raisins in mixed dried fruits.
The history of sultanas goes way back to the Mughal culture. These raisins are made with Turkish green grapes and on rare occasions with Thompson seedless grapes.
Sultanas have a golden colour that sometimes resembles apricots. They are also known as golden raisins due to their colour.
Golden raisins are ideal for people with Diabetes due to their role in regulating blood sugar levels. They also aid in the reduction of inflammation. Sultanas promote digestion due to their high fibre content.
Red raisins are among the most delicious grapes. Larger size flame-red seedless grapes are used to make these raisins.
These delectable grapes are delicious on their own or as an addition to any dessert. They are dark, fleshy, plump and delicious. These grapes reduce the risk of Diabetes by managing blood sugar levels in the body.
Due to the calcium content, red raisins are beneficial to dental and bone health. They also help with vision improvement.
Green raisins are slim, measuring only 2 to 3 cm in length. These raisins originated and are widely manufactured in the Middle East and Central Asia.
They are dense and chewy with slight tartness resembling green grapes.
This dry fruit is typically dehydrated in indoor environments, which preserves its pale green colour. The colour is sometimes enhanced by sulphur dioxide.
Munakka, also known as black grape raisins in English, is a medicinal fruit.
Munakka’s seeds, skin, leaves and entire fruit have medicinal properties. This makes it useful for balancing the Vata and pitta doshas in the body.
Dry grapes is the common name for Munakka. They are high in nutrients as well as calories.
Munakka is green in the beginning and darkens as they dry, resulting in a dried, dark-colored fruit with small seeds.
Nutritional facts of raisins
According to the Indian Food Composition Table (IFCT) by the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and ICMR, the nutritional composition of 100 g of dried black raisins are as follows:
- Energy: 305.68 Calories
- Protein: 2.57 g
- Carbohydrate: 71.29 g
- Fat: 0.34 g
- Fibre: 3.29 g
- Carotenoids: 207 µg
- Folate: 38.30 µg
- Calcium: 73.24 mg
- Iron: 6.81 mg
- Magnesium: 33.76 mg
- Phosphorus: 77.62 mg
- Potassium: 1105 mg
- Fructose: 23.12 g
- Glucose: 16.22 g
- Sucrose: 22.17 g
- Total sugars: 61.51 g
- Linoleic acid: 147 mg
- PUFA: 159 mg
- Total Polyphenols: 286 mg
Nutrient composition of raisins
Though raisins are small and high in sugar, they are also rich in other essential nutrients.
It is hard for vegans to get adequate iron from plant sources, apart from green leafy vegetables. Snacking on raisins benefits them to acquire more iron through diet.
Iron helps with blood flow which has a positive impact on cardiovascular health. Raisins are considered to be a good pre-workout snack.
Since iron requires vitamin C for enhanced absorption, raisins are the best option as they have both nutrients.
Raisins are naturally high in potassium. Studies have also found a link between eating raisins and having lower blood pressure.
Furthermore, raisins have a low-to-moderate glycaemic index (a measure of their effect on blood sugar levels), which may aid in the prevention of type 2 Diabetes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, raisins are an excellent source of copper, an essential mineral involved in energy production, iron metabolism and the production of neurotransmitters.
There are various B vitamins present in raisins. According to the US National Library of Medicine, they are required to convert food into fuel to provide energy and help in red blood cell formation.
100 g or 1/2 Cup of raisins supplies 7% of the daily vitamin B6 recommendation.
Manganese is a vital trace mineral for bone formation and bone health. It stimulates the body’s antioxidant enzyme, which is required to prevent free radical damage.
Benefits of raisins
It’s time to delve deeper into the world of raisins and know more about Raisin’s Benefits!
Aid in digestion
Raisins help prevent constipation by aiding in digestion. This is one of the most significant advantages of soaked raisins. It is best to be consumed early in the morning to keep the digestive system healthy.
The high fibre content in raisins helps maintain smooth bowel movements and keep bloating at bay.
Raisins can help to relieve digestive problems by removing toxins from the body and providing soluble fibre to the digestive system.
Raisins are widely known for their role in preventing iron deficiency due to their high iron content.
Many studies have shown that raisins can help with improved sleep and fight Anaemia. This is due to the fact that raisins contain iron and other minerals that are vital for the formation of red blood cells, helping in blood circulation.
Helps in weight loss
Raisins are low in calories, which makes them satisfy the hunger without adding to the total calorie intake.
They contain natural fruit sugars and leptin, both are appetite suppressants. Leptin kills fat cells by increasing the thermogenesis process in addition to keeping a person satiated for a long time and reducing hunger pangs. This helps in weight loss.
The natural sugars in raisins help satisfy one’s sweet tooth. They are a great sugar substitute, aiding in the weight loss journey.
Lower risk of heart disease
Raisins are good for lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) when consumed on a regular basis.
The low sodium and high potassium content of raisins help to balance the sodium levels and thereby relax the blood vessels.
Fight against cancer cells
Including raisins in the diet is an effective way to prevent the growth of cancerous cells.
Raisins, as a source of antioxidants, protect the body from oxidative damage and free radicals. Premature ageing, cancer and tumour growth are as a result of oxidative damage.
Protect eye health
Antioxidants in raisins provide various health benefits.
Polyphenolic phytonutrients are high in raisins that aid in eradicating free radicals that harm vision and cause eye muscle degeneration.
This helps in improving the vision and overall health of the eye.
Improve skin health
Skin health is yielded by vitamins K and C and omega 3 fatty acids present in the raisins.
A review published in the Indian Dermatology Online Journal states that vitamin C helps in healing wounds and acne scars. This is because of the tissue-healing nature of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is also beneficial in treating hyperpigmentation and reverse photoageing.
According to research published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, the vitamin K in raisins will help heal blemishes, stretch marks, and other skin conditions through their wound-healing properties.
Lower blood sugar
Raisins have been shown to decrease appetite and increase satiety. They are an effective option for incorporating fibre-rich, antioxidant-rich food into the diet. This can help people with Diabetes, along with the natural sugar content in raisins.
Diabetics who take their medications on a regular basis can eat raisins, but they should limit their intake.
How to eat raisins?
Raisins are preferred to be eaten raw by most individuals, but soaking them provides the body with additional vitamins and nutrients.
Overnight soaking of raisins helps the vitamins and minerals in its outer skin to get dissolved. This makes the nutrient more easily absorbed by the body.
The antioxidant content of the raisins is also increased through soaking. It is said that eating a bowl of curd with raisins can help to reduce inflammation in the intestines, keeping the gums healthy and strengthening the bones and joints.
Preparation of raisin water
Raisin water is an effective weight loss drink.
- Heat 1 cup of raisins in 2 cups of water.
- Let this soak overnight.
- Strain the water and re-heat before drinking.
Raisins can be taken as a snack, or a pre-workout food or they can also be included in breakfast cereals and topped in desserts.
Make your own raisins
- Blanch grapes by immersing them in boiling water for about 30 seconds.
- Then, transfer them to a bowl of cold water.
- Remove the stems of the grapes.
- Dry them by patting the boiled grapes with a towel.
- Place the dried grapes on baking sheets in a single layer.
- Place the baking sheets in the oven at 180 degrees and dry for around 18 to 24 hours. Turn the sides after 12 hours to avoid sticking.
- If an oven is unavailable, sun drying can be done. After step 5, place the tray of dry grapes in the sun during hot weather.
- Allow the grapes to dry for 3 to 4 days in the sun, rotating them every now and then.
- Remove from the oven or the sun when dark and wrinkled.
- Cool the raisins and store it in an airtight container.
Benefits of raisins for skin
It is known that raisins benefit overall health and their role in skin health is significant. Consuming raisin and raisin water is advantageous to the skin.
- Raisins help to keep the skin clear and rejuvenated for a long time.
- Raisin water is beneficial for skin hydration and nourishes the skin from within.
- It is also effective for protecting skin cells by guarding against skin damage.
- Regular consumption of raisins helps with premature skin ageing. It aids in the reduction of fine lines, ageing spots, blemishes and wrinkles.
- Raisins are effective at keeping acne at bay.
Raisins fall into the category of dry fruits and are actually dried grapes. They are popular for their natural sweetness and their vast nutrient content.
Soaked raisins are considered to be the best for consumption. It is preferred to consume in the early morning on an empty stomach for better nutrient absorption. Interestingly, these nutrient-rich dry foods can be made with ease at home.
1.What happens if we eat raisins daily?
Regular consumption of raisins can reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It aids in the treatment of Anaemia by helping to meet the daily iron recommendation.
2.What are the side effects of raisins?
Too much consumption of raisins can damage the digestive system, cause allergic reactions, result in weight gain, increase blood sugar levels and can lead to certain diseases.
3.Which time is best to eat raisins?
The best time to eat raisins would be in the early morning after soaking in water for about 8 hours which helps in weight loss. However, consuming at night can also help a person sleep better.
4.Is raisin good for the kidney?
Raisins help to remove toxins from the body which is good for the kidney. Raisin water is said to be useful for kidney stones. Nevertheless, due to the high potassium content in raisins, limiting it can be useful for people with kidney disease.
5.Are raisins good for you?
Raisins are nutritious with low calories and natural sugar content along with other essential vitamins and minerals. Consuming these dried grapes in moderation can be good for you.
6.Can I eat raisins on an empty stomach?
Yes, raisins can be taken on an empty stomach. The nutrients are best absorbed when soaked raisins are consumed early in the morning on an empty stomach.
7.Which types of raisins are best for health?
Golden raisins, also known as sultanas, are the healthiest raisins. It is high in fibre, iron, potassium, flavonoids and other essential minerals that are beneficial to our health.