With all the sweet taste and health benefits that raisins have to offer, it’s no wonder they have earned the title of nature’s candy. Raisins are a healthy and delicious way to satisfy any sweet tooth. The best part is that these little dried grapes are packed with essential nutrients like dietary fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium, along with a wealth of others. Raisins may be small in size, but they pack some big health benefits!
Lower Cholesterol Levels
Adding a handful of raisins to your diet can be a heart-healthy choice. Raisins are naturally low in calories and high in soluble fiber, which regulates blood sugar levels and reduces your body’s absorption of cholesterol. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut found that consuming one cup of raisins per day and walking regularly reduced both total and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels and suppressed the appetite of participants.
Calcium is well-known for its ability to build and maintain strong bones, but a lesser known mineral present in raisins is calcium’s trusted sidekick, boron. Boron is a mineral that aids the absorption of calcium and magnesium into the body, and supports bone formation. Preliminary research suggests that boron may play an important role in the prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
Here’s something that will raise your eyebrows. The polyphenolic phytonutrients present in raisins can actually protect your vision. Vitamin A and carotenoids protect the eye’s retina and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. They also act as powerful antioxidants to prevent cell damage by free radicals. Raisins are an excellent food source of the antioxidants that can support normal eye health.
Regulate Blood Glucose Levels
Since raisins are a fairly low glycemic index food with a high fiber content, they are much better at moderating blood glucose levels than refined and processed foods. Research presented at the American Diabetes Association’s 72nd Annual Scientific Session examined the effect of raisin consumption on adults with slightly elevated glucose levels. The participants were split into two groups; the first group snacked on raisins three times a day for 12 weeks, while the second group snacked on other pre-packaged snacks which did not contain fruits or vegetables. The study found that consuming raisins reduced average post-meal glucose levels by 16% whereas the other snacks did not reduce glucose levels.
Reaching for a piece of candy to satisfy that sweet tooth? Consider raisins instead. Raisins contain phytochemicals like oleanolic acid that can fight cavities and gum disease. Research presented at the American Society for Microbiology identified five compounds in raisins that fight several species of oral bacteria related to cavities, tooth loss, and periodontal disease. Raisins just might be the sweetest food your dentist will approve of.
Which health benefits of raisins are most important to you?