10 Important Health Reasons to Enjoy Raisins

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10 Important Health Reasons to Enjoy Raisins

Sweet and juicy raisins have long been a favorite choice when you need a tasty snack. They’re dried seedless grapes that are usually removed from the stalks before being dried (though it’s possible to find raisins that have been dried on the vine). In addition to being delicious, a handful of raisins can also provide fabulous health benefits. These fruits are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Weight for weight, they are higher in these nutritional benefits than fresh grapes.

Here are ten of the most significant reasons why raisins are great for your body.

1. Source of energy

Fruit sugars (e.g. fructose and glucose) make raisins a superb source of energy. Because this energy is released slowly, you avoid the type of sugar spike that is not so good for your metabolism, making raisins ideal a snack for athletes. They’re also easy to carry and can be eaten on the move. Your high-energy snack will be even more effective if you combine raisins with other low-glycemic ingredients such as oats and nuts, but beware of overdoing it—100g of raisins contains 250 calories.

2. High in fiber

Many people don’t have enough fiber in their diet, which can lead to problems like constipation, hemorrhoids, colon conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer. 100g of raisins contains 10% of your recommended daily fiber intake, which makes them a wonderful way to add fiber into your daily diet. The flavonoids found in raisins also contribute to keeping your digestive system functioning smoothly.

3. Lower blood cholesterol

Raisins contain the polyphenol antioxidant resveratrol, which has many fantastic health benefits. In particular, resveratrol plays an important role in lowering LDL cholesterol, thus reducing blood pressure and helping you maintain a healthy heart. It also inhibits the build-up of cholesterol deposits on your artery walls, helps keep your heartbeat steady, and relaxes your blood vessels so your heart doesn’t have to work so hard at pumping your blood around the body.

4. Reduced risk of strokes

The effects of resveratrol also reduce the risk of suffering a stroke. This antioxidant makes the blood vessels less susceptible to constriction, which is an important factor in preventing high blood pressure (and therefore strokes). Resveratrol also works with the nitric oxide in raisins to help the blood vessels to relax, reducing blood pressure even further.

5. Protection against cancer

Studies have also shown that resveratrol may be beneficial in fighting some kinds of cancers, including malignancies of the colon, breast and prostate.

6. Healthy blood

The high levels of iron and copper in raisins makes them important for maintaining good blood health. Low iron levels can cause anemia, a condition that causes chronic fatigue due to a decreased number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.

7. Improved bone health

Raisins are rich in calcium, which we need for several reasons. For one thing, calcium affects the blood’s clotting ability, so we need good levels of calcium to help wounds heal quickly and effectively. Calcium also builds a well-functioning nervous system and assists muscles in working properly. Perhaps most importantly, however, we need calcium for strong bones and teeth—a lack of calcium in the diet can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis, which makes us vulnerable to fractures. Raisins also contain boron, which aids calcium absorption and bone formation.

8. Oral health support

The oleanic acid in raisins helps protect against tooth decay, preventing cavities and keeping teeth strong. It also limits the growth of oral bacteria that can cause problems like gum infections.

9. Infection-fighting properties

Raisins also contain polyphenolic phytonutrients, which have anti-bacterial properties that help the immune system to ward off infections.

10. Reduce inflammation levels

The anti-inflammatory ingredients in raisins can help to tackle chronic autoimmune conditions such as arthritis and some skin disorders. Although research into this is at an early stage, some studies indicate that that patients can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet.

As well as tasting delicious on their own, raisins are incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed in cakes, cookies, preserves and salads. With so much to gain, why not make raisins a regular part of your healthy diet?

Sources

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/raisins.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2083123/

http://www.3fatchicks.com/10-health-benefits-of-raisins/

http://www.optiderma.com/articles/anti-inflammatory-foods-diet/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/425144-is-resveratrol-good-for-blood-pressure-cholesterol/

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/nutrition/anti-inflammation-diet/

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