Raisins are obtained by drying the grapes. During this period they turn into golden, green or black gems. The raisins are favourite of almost everyone. They are widely used in cultural cooking around the world especially in desserts and are also added to health tonics, snacks and high-energy food supplements for mountaineers, backpackers and campers.
Like dried apricots, figs and prunes, raisins are dense source of energy, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are packed with many health benefitting polyphenolic antioxidants, dietary fibre, and other phytonutrients.
Raisins contain phytochemical compound resveratrol. Resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant, has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, blood cholesterol lowering activities. Resveratrol has been found to have protective action against cancers like melanoma, colon, and prostate and diseases such as coronary heart disease, degenerative nerve disease & different types of infections.
As per Ayurveda, dried grapes are helpful to relieve excessive thirst, burning sensation, fever, asthma respiratory disorders, bleeding disorders, chest injury, tuberculosis and other such emaciating conditions, dryness of mouth and urinary tract infections. It improves nourishment, is aphrodisiac and has unctuous properties.
Health Benefits of Raisins
1. Weight Gain
Like all dried fruits, raisins are very good tools for gaining weight in a healthy way. They are full of fructose and glucose and contain a lot of potential energy. They form an ideal part of a diet for athletes or body builders who need powerful boosts of energy or for those who want to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. Many vitamins, amino acids and minerals such as selenium and phosphorus present in raisins facilitate absorption of other nutrients and proteins in the body.
Findings of studies have shown a positive correlation between hypertension and consumption of raisins. High level of potassium, in addition to many of the nutrients packed into raisins are beneficial that help in hypertension. Potassium is a well-researched way to reduce the increased tension of blood vessels and decrease blood pressure. The dietary fibre in raisins is also thought to affect the blood vessels and reduce their stiffness which in turn is helpful in reducing hypertension.
Raisins are packed with huge amount of iron which is required for the formation of Haemoglobin, and therefore it directly helps in the treatment of anaemia. It also contains many members of the vitamin B complex that are essential for the formation of new blood. In addition to the Iron and B complex Vitamins, high copper content in raisins also helps the formation of red blood cells.
4. Eye Care
Polyphenolic phytonutrients present in the raisins have antioxidant properties. These phytonutrients are very good for ocular health as they protect eyes from the damage caused by free radicals in the form of macular degeneration and cataract. In addition to their antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amount of vitamin A, Beta Carotene and A-Carotenoid. These all are essential for good health of the eyes.
5. Sexual Dysfunction
Consumption of raisins is also good for the sex life. Raisins have long been known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal and treat erectile dysfunctions primarily due to the presence of an amino acid called Arginine. Arginine increases the sperm motility, which subsequently can increase the chances of conception. Regular consumption of raisins can cure issues of sexual endurance.
6. The Hair
Raisins contain plenty of hair-friendly nutrients like vitamin B, iron, potassium, and antioxidants which are required for health of the hair. Deficiency in iron can cause dull hair and severe hair loss. Iron improves the blood circulation in the body and stimulates the hair follicle cells. This makes the hair strong. A handful of raisins daily is enough to get the dose of iron for healthy hair. The antioxidants in raisins also prevent hair damage by stimulating healthy hair follicles. They also promote healthy cells essential for hair growth. Vitamin C in raisins maintains the follicle’s connective tissue, also known as collagen. This promotes hair growth. Vitamin E strengthens the cell membranes and prevents the free radicals from attacking the hair follicles.
High contents of potassium and magnesium in raisins help reduce acidity. Potassium and magnesium are important components of antacids. Considered as base on the pH scale, they help in neutralizing the acids thus preventing acidity.
8. Bone Health
Calcium is the main element of our bones. It is present in raisins in plenty. In addition to calcium, raisins are also one of the best sources of Boron, a micronutrient. Boron is vital for proper bone formation and efficient absorption of calcium. Boron is particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis induced by menopause and has been shown to be very beneficial for bones and joints. Potassium is another essential nutrient found in high levels in raisins which can help strengthen bones and promote bone growth thereby reducing the chances of osteoporosis.
9. Dental Care
Oleanolic Acid plays an important role in protecting teeth against decay, cavity and brittleness. Oleanolic Acid effectively prevents the growth of Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis, two bacterial species which are most responsible for cavities and other dental problems. This highly effective Oleanolic Acid is one of the phytochemicals present in raisins. Moreover, raisins are rich in calcium which is good for preserving dental strength as it prevents breaking or peeling away of teeth and enamel and makes teeth stronger. When eating raisins, the longer they stick to your teeth, the better, because that ensures extended contact of Oleanolic Acid with the teeth, increasing the preventive powers against bacterial growth.
Raisins seedless (Vitis vinifera), Nutritive Value per 100 gm.
Principle Nutrient Value %age of RDA
Energy 299 Kcal 15%
Carbohydrates 79.18 g 61%
Protein 3.07 g 5.5%
Total Fat 0.46 g 1.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 3.7 g 10%
Folates 5 µg 1%
Niacin 0.766 mg 5%
Pantothenic acid 0.095 mg 2%
Pyridoxine 0.0174 mg 13%
Riboflavin 0.125 mg 10%
Thiamin 0.106 mg 9%
Vitamin A 0 IU 0%
Vitamin C 2.3 mg 4%
Vitamin E 0.12 mg 1%
Vitamin K 3.5 µg 3%