Benefits of Raisins As Part of a Balanced Nutritional Lifestyle

These days we are often bombarded with information about what we should or rather shouldn’t eat, however seldom does this seem to be of much value. When faced with all this conflicting information, the fads and hypes and ‘wonder-diets,’ all of which is only made worse by the mainstream media, it’s time to go back to basics and look at what the body needs to stay functioning in a healthy, in a natural way, and shift the focus from quick fixes and chemicals, which may well have worse side-effects in the long run and are not desirable; raisins nutrition is certainly a great place to start. It is thus prudent to look at our diets as a whole and how we can eat in order to allow the body to function in the best possible way, in effect, giving our body an optimal foundation for good health and allowing it to fight diseases and other problems in the manner it does best, of its own accord.

We need to give our bodies the greatest opportunity to do this, in order to prevent problems in the first place! Western medicine and general thinking has placed far too great a focus on symptoms rather than causes. Raisins are a great place to start thinking about what our body needs and what good nutrition actually means. Raisins are loaded with many goodies that the body requires on a day-to-day basis and as such they are a good example of a dietary addition which naturally supports the body in its function. We need to look at whole foods and how these contribute and maintain our health, not so much at isolated supplements which can often have undesired effects and which simply do not supply the balance of nutrients that we need. Many vitamin supplements for example, especially synthetic ones, have been found to not even make it into the blood stream or have negative effects due to their concentrations!

Raisins are a whole food which store and can concentrate/enhance many antioxidants, phytonutrients and beneficial minerals etc…The importance of eating enough fruits and vegetables cannot be overestimated and raisins can certainly be described as a good-tasting superfood. There are many elements to a balanced diet, however it is of integral importance that we supply ourselves with the varied array of nutrients and antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables, which, among other things, counter free-radical strain and support our cells to maintain themselves and function at high energy levels. A whole raft of research has shown that it is the phytonutrient and antioxidant and mineral mixes of whole foods acting together, in concert, that truly support our body, our cells to function best.

The World Health Organisation recommends five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Why? Because of these reasons, because we know that our body requires all these nutrients acting in concert if it is to have the best change of avoiding problems into the future. When one is young, one can often eat unhealthy foods on a regular basis (high cholesterol, high sodium, low nutrition and low fresh, natural content, highly processed etc…) without it registering negative effects to any great degree. However, it is what we don’t feel that we must consider. It is important to develop the foresight; we are born with a battery of health and whilst this battery is still relatively full it can act as a buffer against abuses. This however means that one is depleting the body of its strength, at the expense of later periods of life. There will come a time when the body can no longer buffer abuses and that is when problems will start occurring. As an example, younger people are higher in the super-antioxidant glutathione (imperative in a staggering number of biological functions) however this decreases as one ages and the process is greatly accelerated depending on how we live.

The body is constantly under attack by free radicals. The damage this inflicts is called oxidative stress, and it increases especially with physical exertion and stress, as well as many other factors, such as smoking and drug abuse. Our cells must protect themselves from these attacks in order to continue functioning and repair themselves. Antioxidants are the body’s primary defense against free radicals, allowing the cells to protect themselves from degradation and extending their life. As we age oxidative stress goes up, not least because of the depletion of glutathione, and interestingly, oxidative stress has been found to be connected to 74 major diseases and disorders. So as we get older the body requires a good supply of antioxidants in order to counteract one of the main drivers of the aging process; yes, oxidative stress. Antioxidants are important indeed! If the body does not receive these important compounds then it will be rendered far more susceptible to cell damage, and will most likely age faster and be more prone to disease.

Consider the mainstream diet in the West for example. Does it reflect this? Often, sadly, it does not. Mainstream eating habits have gotten a lot worse over the last fifty years, with the rise of cheap, super-processed, ‘fast’ foods. The amount of fatty, chemical-ridden rubbish with very little nutritional value consumed to such a great extent is something that is changing, but it could be a lot faster. This is certainly one important factor of why people encounter so many problems as they grow old, and many previously restricted age-related diseases are on the increase. The aging process is intricate but it is clear that someone who does not take care to observe rich, balanced nutrition is more likely to age faster and be more susceptible to a large range of accompanying problems.

Unfortunately, many people don’t have much of an inclination, often younger people, of such basic nutritional knowledge. This is certainly an awareness and educational problem, at least more positive approaches are to be seen in schools these days; it is so important that people are given the opportunity to learn nutritional basics, especially at a young age. It is not hard to watch what one eats and cultivate an appetite for fresh, whole foods of varying colours; indeed the vast array of different colours we observe in fruits and vegetables are representative of the differing arrays of nutrients which they contain. Grapes are certainly a good example, as touched on above in the introduction to the benefits of raisins.

As well as a good stand-alone snack, raisins make for an excellent addition to so many dishes, whether it is for some extra bursts of flavour in a salad, as part of a nut mix, or as a sauce on meat! There are many possibilities. Raisins are small, easy to store/carry and eat without preparation, they certainly make for a good snack on the go. Looking at the benefits of raisins we see that the array of important substances contained within this small fruit serves many important functions in the body. This just illustrates how vital whole foods are in our diets and raisins are a particular neat example which can play an important and convenient nutritional role.

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