Raisins Nutrition – Powerful Indeed

This article intends to give a general introduction to the benefits of raisins, more detailed and specific information will follow in subsequent posts. Please refer to my home blog for references pertaining to this article. Raisins are dried grapes; dried fruit contains most the benefits of the fresh fruit, whilst gaining others. Additionally to fresh fruit, dried fruit is recommended by all U.S health agencies. Raisins nutrition is very potent, with raisins also being very low in saturated fat, which is a useful trait for people on a low fat diet wishing to spruce up their meals.

Raisins contain generous amounts of potassium, which has been found to maintain healthy blood pressure and heart rate and also counter the adverse affects of too much sodium. 100 grams provide 750 mg of potassium, which amounts to about 16% of the daily recommendation (U.S). Research has found that potassium contributes to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease in general.

Raisins do not contain cholesterol and are very low in sodium (11 mg). Raisins are also gluten free.

Among the other benefits of raisins is their abundance in antioxidants and phytonutrients, as also dietary fibre. Generally the drying process results in the loss of some specific antioxidants, however this varies greatly. Some types of raisins contain resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant which has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-aging and many other potential benefits, however resveratrol content is highly dependent on the method of dehydration and the type of grapes which are used. Grapes can be transformed into raisins either by being sun-dried or otherwise dehydrated. A study conducted at the University of California has shown that subjects eating raisins several (4) times daily over a period of a few weeks increased plasma antioxidant capacity and this decreasing circulating LDL (oxidized low-density lipoprotein); ‘bad cholesterol.’ High levels of LDL are associated with increased cardiovascular disease.

Research has found that sun-dried raisins contain no resveratrol due to oxidation by sun rays. Raisins also contain anthocyanins, another class of polyphenolic antioxidants, with anti-allergic, anti-bacterial and similar properties as above. The majority of the antioxidants contained in grapes are found within their skin, with the specific pigmentation (a product of anthocyanins) being a good indication of some of the types of antioxidants to be found in the grape. For example, red grapes have been found to contain the greatest amounts of resveratrol.

100 g of raisins provide 4 g of dietary fiber.

100 g of raisins provide 1.9 mg, or about 15% of the recommended daily iron requirement.

100 g of raisins contain .5 g of fat.

Unlike standard fruit, when stored in places moderate temperature, raisins can be kept for a long time. When storing raisins for several months it is important that they are kept in airtight containers to prevent drying out. Storing raisins in the fridge will ensure they can be kept relatively fresh over the longest period of time. Raisins are higher in sugar than grapes and contain more carbohydrates. 100 g contain 79 g of carbohydrates and 3 g of protein.

Raisins are a good snack for people engaging in physical activity, in providing an effective, low fat, nutritional energy boost; 100 grams of raisins contain about 299 calories, which is a more than five-fold increase on the same weight of grapes.

Interestingly, research conducted at the University of Illinois concluded that raisins contain compounds including oleanolic acid. These compounds stop the in vitro growth of a major bacteria responsible for tooth decay in the mouth and inhibit organisms associated with periodontal disease.

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