Raisins

Do you get your recommended amount of fruit per day….that being 2 cups per day?

If you answered no to this question then why not start adding raisins to your weekly rotation of fruits.

Raisins are fruit…..they are dried grapes. Raisins are seedless grapes that are put on paper trays and allowed to dry in the sun until they become a raisin. The oxidation and carmelization of the fruit during the sun drying process is how the raisins end up brown or yellow. The drying process preserves the antioxidants in the fruit.

Eating a handful of raisins supplies your body with more nutrients than eating a handful of grapes. Of course, because raisins are smaller by volume then plump grapes are, you are getting a more concentrated amount of nutrients from raisins as there are more in a handful. For example a cup of grapes contains 1 gram of fibre where a cup of raisins contains 7 grams of fibre.

The one thing you must be aware of though with dried fruits such as raisins is the natural sugar. You don’t want to overindulge in raisins every day because of the sugar.

Add raisins to your cereal every other morning or top a salad with some raisins to add sweetness to both. Raisins travel well too. They are a convenient snack “on the go” as they are either packaged in little snack boxes or will go into your lunch bag in a little snack bag.

A small box of raisins contains 129 calories. With those calories you get 1.6 grams of dietary fibre, a little protein and no fat. But you are also getting about 25 grams of sugar. The fibre is the most beneficial aspect of that little box of raisins. Fibre is important for all of us to keep things moving, helping to prevent chronic disease, and make for a happy digestive tract.

That little box of raisins supplies your body with iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus….all important minerals for a healthy and strong body.

Raisins are a good supplier of several of the B vitamins which give us energy. The B vitamins are also good for helping the liver function well, strengthening eyes, skin and hair. Other vitamins in raisins include vitamin C, vitamin K and folate.

Golden raisins are a little more abundant in antioxidants than their brown buddies but any antioxidant is a good thing, fighting off damaging free radicals which we want to eliminate at every opportunity as free radicals are our enemies.

Raisins help to lower blood pressure and improve our heart health. Eating them regularly is a natural way help to combat high blood pressure.

Believe it or not, eating raisins, despite the fact that they are sugary, can actually improve your oral health. Research shows that raisins have antimicrobial phytochemicals that suppress growth of oral bacteria related to cavities and gum disease.

The fibre content of a little box of raisins is going to help with digestion. The soluble and insoluble fibre both help keep things flowing smoothly through the digestive process, eliminating constipation at the same time, adding bulk to the digestive tract.

Add raisins to your oatmeal, granola, yogurt, salads, muffins, trail mix, cookies. Remembering the sugar content, don’t overindulge.

Bottom line here…..everything in moderation.

A footnote: raisins have been around for years. They are actually mentioned in the Bible many times.



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