Your grandmother may have offered them to you as a snack when you were a kid. If you didn’t eat them, she may have snuck them into her fresh-baked oatmeal cookies, which you probably gobbled up. Whether you hate them or love them, raisins have been used for centuries around the world in a variety of ways from flavoring culinary dishes to promoting fertility.
But, did you know that these small, dried-up grapes pack a powerful dose of health benefits when consumed in moderate servings on a regular basis? The following ten health benefits of eating raisins may just surprise you.
1. Raisins Deliver a Punch of Powerful Nutrients
Raisins might be little pieces of fruit, but they pack a whole bunch of antioxidant-rich vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that provide many benefits to the overall health of your body and immune system. Take a look at all the following nutrients that you can get from a 1/4 cup of raisins:
• Vitamins B-6, C, K
2. Raisins Help You Go Easier
If you suffer from constipation, eating a diet high in fiber is recommended by many health experts. A great way to add fiber to your diet is by snacking on raisins, which contain insoluble fiber that absorbs the body’s natural fluids and helps move food through the intestinal tract more easily. Eating half a cup of raisins provides you with approximately 2.7 grams of fiber.
Moreover, the fiber in raisins promotes good digestive health because it sweeps through the digestive tract, flushing out toxins and bacteria that cause uncomfortable bloating and other intestinal disorders.
3. Raisins Can Keep You Away from the Dentist
Eating raisins on a regular basis may keep you out of the dentist’s office more often. The reason for this is because raisins are loaded with phytochemicals such as oleanolic acid and linolenic acid, which fight the bacteria in your mouth that are responsible for cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. Don’t be in a hurry to brush your teeth after eating raisins, because the longer these phytochemicals stay in contact with your teeth and mouth, the more potent the benefits you receive from them. Furthermore, raisins are also rich in calcium and boron, which together, strengthen tooth enamel and suppress the growth of oral germs.
4. Raisins Boost Energy and Weight Gain For Athletes
Because raisins are high in sugar, munching on these little fruit bits is a healthy way to gain weight for athletes, bodybuilders, and underweight individuals without consuming unhealthy foods that are high in cholesterol.
If you don’t wish to gain any extra weight, you can keep your sugar intake to a minimal by purchasing your raisins in the small, prepackaged boxes that are available in most grocery stores.
Additionally, raisins are also high in carbohydrates, which produce energy for you when you want to exercise or just need a pick-me-up.
5. Raisins Promote Fertility
Did you know that in India, it is a traditional wedding custom for a bride and groom both to drink milk on their wedding night that has been boiled with raisins and saffron? The theory behind this custom is that raisins are believed to stimulate the libido and promote fertility.
Science confirms that raisins contain L-arginine, an amino acid that is often used to treat erectile dysfunction. L-arginine is also considered a natural aphrodisiac that boosts sperm levels and increases the chances of conception.
6. Raisins Can Prevent and Fight Against Cancer
Raisins contain high levels of polyphenolic antioxidants that roam through your bloodstream, scavenging free radicals that encourage the growth of cancer cells.
Even if you already have cancer, the polyphenolic antioxidants in raisins can fight against cancer cells, inhibiting the further progress of cancer. However, it is important to note that a high sugar consumption can promote cancer cells, so be sure to limit your raisin servings to about a ¼ cup per day.
7. Raisins Can Reduce High Blood Pressure and Prevent Kidney Stones
Raisins are also high in potassium, which studies have shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure. Researchers say that potassium relaxes blood vessels, allowing for proper blood circulation, which in turn decreases high blood pressure.
In addition to reducing hypertension, potassium is also known to prevent the formation and reappearance of kidney stones. For anyone who has ever experienced the intense pain of kidney stones, this is reason enough to eat more raisins.
8. Raisins Can Prevent Anemia
Everyone needs enough iron in their blood to form red blood cells, carry oxygen to all your body cells, and prevent anemia so that you don’t feel like a walking zombie. A good way to get more iron into your blood is by eating raisins. A half cup of raisins packs about 1.4 milligrams of iron, providing women with about 7 percent of the recommended daily amount and men with about 17 percent.
9. Raisins Can Reduce Heartburn and Acid Reflux
People who suffer from heartburn, acid reflux and indigestion could benefit from eating raisins. Two of the most common elements found in antacids are potassium and magnesium, minerals found richly in raisins. Combining your raisins with bananas will combat the acid in your stomach even better.
10. Raisins Keep Your Bones Healthy and Strong
Making raisins one of your favorite snacks could go a long way in keeping your bones strong. Calcium and boron are essential nutrients that are vital for healthy bones and for the prevention of osteoporosis that is often propelled by menopause in women. Both of these important minerals are present in raisins. A half-cup serving of raisins provides about five percent of the recommended daily amount of calcium.
Creative Ways to Use Raisins
If you want to make raisins a part of your daily diet without getting burned out on them, you could try mixing them up with these fun uses for raisins:
• Include raisins in a homemade trail mix.
• Add raisins to oatmeal and baked goods like muffins, cookies, and bread as a natural sweetener.
• Mix raisins in with spreads like butter, cheese, and cream cheese spreads.
• Toss raisins into a variety of vegetable salads, fruit bowls, and chicken salad.
• Sprinkle raisins over a celery stick slathered with peanut butter.
• Include raisins in your sauteed vegetables.
• Mix a few raisins with your favorite rice dishes for a dash of Indian flavor.
• Chocolate-covered and yogurt-covered raisins make a tasty energy snack.
While it’s true that raisins are high in calories and sugar, they offer a host of health benefits when eaten in moderation. In addition to the health benefits discussed in this article, regularly eating raisins can also decrease levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulate diabetes, cure fevers, relieve arthritis pain, treat insomnia, and promote good liver, eye, skin, and hair health. So, go ahead and stock up on raisins and have fun creating ways to add them into your diet so that you can reap the many benefits of raisins.