Raisins are produced in many areas of the world and can be eaten raw or used in cooking, baking, or brewing, which means it can be used to make both regular dishes and desserts. They can be baked in granola bars, cookies, or muffins, and they can also be tossed into salads or stuffed into pastries.
Raisins are a type of grape that has been dried for around three weeks. They are derived from the Vitis vinifera plant, the common grapevine, which is the same one used for wine production. Botanically, raisins are considered fruits because they are formed from the ovary that exists within a flowering plant.
Despite the small size, raisins are packed with calories, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and are an interesting addition to any diet, as long as you consume them in moderation.
Allow me to provide you with more information on raisins, including their nutritional content and health benefits, as well as a few recipes you can follow to easily introduce raisins in your diet.
What are raisins?
Raisins are actually grapes that have been dried out in the sun or a food dehydrator.
They can be used:
- in granola bars
- in salads
- in baked goods like bread, cakes, and muffins
- in oatmeal
- in (vegan) yogurts
You can also use raisins to make delicious cookies like vegan oatmeal raisin cookies.
They are naturally rich in sugar and calories, but they can be very beneficial to your health if eaten in adequate amounts. Raisins can boost digestion, increase iron levels, and maintain bone health.
Instead of going for highly artificial sweets and candies, consider eating raisins as a healthier alternative.
Are raisins good for you?
Eating raisins is far better than indulging in overly artificial candies and sweets, but it’s only healthy as long as you do not consume them in excess.
Below we’re going to look at both good and bad things about raisins.
Raisins are high in calories and sugars
One-half cup of raisins contains about 200 calories and 45 grams of sugar.
Raisins are not a low-calorie or low-sugar product, which is pretty common among dried fruit, hence why they’re often referred to as nature’s candy. You need to mindful not to exaggerate their consumption.
Some places sell prepackaged boxes with small batches of raisins with about 100 calories. This is certainly a better option than buying them in bulk.
They are a wonderful alternative for any athlete wishing to improve their performance in moderate/intense endurance exercise. They’re much more affordable than sports chews or gels.
One-half cup of raisins contains about 3 grams of fiber, which amounts to 10-24% of your total daily needs, depending on different factors like age and gender.
Fiber aids with digestion by normalizing bowel movements, decreasing your chance of constipation, as well as the risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
Fiber is also ideal if you want to lose weight because it leaves you satiated for longer, slowing down the emptying of your stomach, making it ideal for weight loss.
It also plays a role in decreasing cholesterol levels. Dietary fiber is known to decrease the levels of the “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the one responsible for the build-up of plaque in the arteries, which may lead to diseases like atherosclerosis.
Raisins are also a decent source of iron. One-half cup of raisins contains roughly 1.3 mg of iron. That is equal to 7% of the RDA for adult females and 16% of the RDA for adult men.
Iron is crucial for the production of red blood cells which help transport oxygen through the bloodstream. Eating enough iron is important to prevent conditions like anemia.
Calcium and boron
One half-cup of raisins contains about 40 mg of calcium, which is the equivalent of 4% of the RDA.
As you know, calcium is essential for healthy and strong bones and helps prevent conditions like osteoporosis, a disorder that causes bone loss as you age.
Additionally, raisins also contain boron, which works collectively with vitamin D and calcium to keep your bones and joints healthy.
Raisins are an exceptional source of antioxidants.
They contain naturally occurring compounds called phytonutrients that exist in forms like phenols and polyphenols. These compounds are antioxidants.
They basically remove free radicals from the blood to prevent damage to your cells and DNA. In other words, antioxidants prevent heart disease, cancer, and stroke.
A study concluded that raisins contain certain phytochemicals that could promote healthy teeth and gums, including oleanolic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid, which fight bacteria in your mouth.
Eating raisins in place of sugary foods (like candies, etc) may keep your teeth healthy.
How to make raisins at home
Who knew making raisins would be so easy.
Here are the steps:
- Acquire some grapes
- Remove the seeds
- Wash them in cool water
- Place the grapes on a tray and place them to dry under sunny weather.
- Rotate the grapes for even sun exposure.
In a matter of days, you can have your homemade raisins.
Raisins are a type of fruit.
They’re basically grapes that are left out in the sun to dry, or in a food dehydrator. Botanically, raisins (and grapes) develop from the flower of a plant, while the other parts of the plant are classified as vegetables.
Fruits contain seeds, while vegetables can consist of stems, roots, and leaves.
Raisins start as seed-bearing fruits (grapes), but they are typically removed before being dried.