Raisins – benefits
The health benefits of raisins include relief from constipation, acidosis, anemia, fever and sexual dysfunction. Raisins have also been known to help in attempts to gain weight in a healthy way, as well as its positive impact on eye health, dental care, and bone quality.
Raisins are irreplaceable as a healthy snack. They are great as a convenient and compact, high-energy food for athletes, mountaineers, backpackers, and campers.
Raisins are obtained by drying grapes either in the sun or in driers, which turns the grapes into gems. In fact, when their nutritional values and health benefits are considered, “gems” is a rather accurate name for them! Yellow raisins are from green grapes and only have the yellow colour when preserved with Sulphur dioxide also known as sodium metabisulphate or SO2. This preservative can cause asthma, hives, urticarial, bronchitis and in fact any breathing problem or making an existing skin or breathing problem worse. It is also know to enhance the action of carcinogenic factors – basically encouraging cancer t be formed!
All raisins are oiled with processed and refined vegetables oils – this stops them clumping together and keeps any bugs away – in other words preserving them.
We make a point of only sourcing raisins that are free of preservatives and not oiled. Our famous Non-Oiled Raisins are in stock at our store in Gordons Bay and available on line from www.naturalway.co.za – we ship all over the world!
Herev are some reasons to make our non – oiled raisins part of your healthy choices.
Health Benefits of Raisins
Constipation: When ingested, raisins swell because the fibre present in the dried raisin is water soluble or gentle health promoting fibre, which will begin to swell due to the body’s natural fluids and fluid consumption. This adds bulk to the food moving through the intestinal tract and ultimately helps provide relief from constipation. Besides reducing constipation, raisins can also help to stop loose stools, again by absorbing the liquid of loose stools and reducing the frequency and unpredictability of diarrhea.
Weight Gain: Raisins, like all dried fruits, are very good tools for gaining weight in a healthy way. Since they are full of natural glucose and contain a lot of potential energy, raisins 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 tissue and weight. Their role as a healthy addition to the diet is further boosted because of the many vitamins, amino acids and minerals in raisins, such as selenium, iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, which facilitate absorption of other nutrients and protein in the body. Raisins also stimulate the efficient absorption of other proteins, vitamins, and nutrients gained from food, which improves your overall energy and immune system strength.
Keep to less than a handful a day if you don’t want to gain weight.
Cancer Prevention: Raisins have high levels of catechins, which are polyphenolic antioxidants in the blood. Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals that float around the body and wreak havoc on the organ systems and cells. Free radicals are one of the primary, underlying factors that lead to the spontaneous growth of cancer cells, as well as the substance that can spur on metastasis. Therefore, by including raisins in your diet and increasing the level of these powerful antioxidants in your system, you can prevent cancer from forming, or slow down and even reverse its progress .
Make sure your raisins contain no added oils or preservatives as they may cancel out these benefits! The yellow raisins below are treated with a preservative; without it the raisins would be a light brown.
Hypertension: For many years, some people have believed that raisins have the power to reduce blood pressure and prevent heart disease, but it was only recently that experts began intensive studies on these claims. The findings, although still not absolutely definitive on how raisins reduced blood pressure, did show a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and consumption of raisins. Many of the nutrients packed into raisins are beneficial, but experts believe that it is the high level of natural potassium and that water soluble fibre in raisins, that helps with this condition.
Diabetes: In a number of studies, raisins have been shown to lower the postprandial insulin response, which means that after eating a meal, raisins can help the prevent spikes or plunges in blood sugar.
Raisins also help to regulate the release of leptin and ghrelin, which are the hormones responsible for telling the body when it is hungry or full. By keeping these hormones in check, people who eat raisins can improve their chances of maintaining a healthy diet and prevent overeating, which further improves chances of living comfortably with diabetes!
Anemia: Raisins contain a considerable amount of iron which directly helps in the treatment of anemia. It also contains many members of the vitamin-B complex that are essential for the formation of new blood. The high copper content in raisins also helps the formation of red blood cells.
Fever: Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties, are abundantly present in raisins and can help cure fevers by fighting viral and bacterial infections.
Eye Care: Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties. These phytonutrients are very good for ocular health, as they protect from the damage caused by free radicals (oxidants), in the form of macular degeneration, age-related weakening of vision, and cataracts. In addition to their antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin-A, A-Beta Carotene and A-Carotenoid, all of which are essential for good ocular health.
Acidosis: Acidosis is a state of increased acidity of the blood (This increased acidity can be very harmful for the body as it may lead to a number of health problems related to a weakened immune system and loss of calcium from the bones and teeth.
Raisins are good source of alkaline minerals like potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. These minerals are very effective in neutralizing the acidity in the body.
Sexual Dysfunction: Raisins have long been known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal, primarily due to the presence of an amino acid called Arginine, which is beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction.
Arginine also increases the levels of sperm motility, which can increase the chances of conception.
It is also recommended for those suffering from issues of sexual endurance to consume raisins regularly.
Bone Health: Calcium, which is the main element of our bones, is present in raisins, and these dried fruits are also one of the best sources of the micronutrient Boron also needed for healthy bones. Micronutrients are nutrients required by the body in very small amounts and essential for specific chemical reactions in the body. Boron is particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis. 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 in all.
Dental Care: Oleanolic Acid, one of the phytochemicals present in raisins, plays a crucial role in actually protecting your teeth against tooth decay, cavities, and teeth brittleness. It effectively prevents the growth of Streptococcus Mutans and Porphyromonas Gingivalis, two of the bacterial species that are most responsible for cavities and other dental problems. In addition, it is rich in calcium which is good for promoting dental health, as it prevents breaking or peeling away of teeth and enamel while making them stronger.
As strange as it may sound, 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 preventative powers against bacterial growth. In addition its role in bone health and osteoporosis treatment, the boron present in raisins plays a very important role in curbing the growth of oral germs as well as in promoting strong teeth.
Other Benefits: The fibers in raisins also help promote excretion of bile and cholesterol taken in from animal products from the body thereby promoting good cardiac health. Furthermore, the amount of fiber in raisins helps to literally sweep out the toxins and harmful materials in the digestive tract, which can protect people from additional intestinal diseases, parasites and bacterial growth