Raisin' The Health Bar, A Little At A Time
Just a handful of this dried fruit can improve your nutrient intake
They lend a delicious sweetness to your koftas and kheers, and are an important part of your dried fruit mix and baked foods. They also make for an excellent addition to breakfast bowls and health bars. Raisins may be a tad high in calories but when consumed in moderation, they pack a punch in terms of health benefits. Here’s all you need to know about this popular dried fruit.
1. The world raisin is derived from the Latin word racemus which means a cluster of grapes or berries. They are believed to have been grown as early as 2000 BC in Persia and Egypt. The Greeks and Romans adorned places of worship with raisins. Today, they are also produced by drying grape berries using hot air. However, the age-old method of dehydrating the fruit by sun-drying remains the most popular process.
2. An important part of cuisines ranging from European and English to Persian, Turkish and Indian, raisins can be added to both savoury and sweet dishes. From cookies and cakes to decadent desserts, healthy trail mixes, granolas and breakfast cereals to smoothies and shakes. Or you could just snack on a small handful for big gains.
3. When it comes to raisins, it’s best to take the ‘less is more’ route because you get 24 grams of sugar in a single serving (30 grams). Or, do what Jenny Friedman, a Philadelphia-based dietitian, suggests in a Time article, “I recommend pairing raisins with some protein and fat. The addition of something sweet to this combo results in something as satisfying as it is filling.”
4. These little golden-green or black edibles are a great source of phytonutrients including flavonoids (catechins, kaempferol, quercetin, and rutin) which have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. They can reduce the risk of cancer, tumor growths and heart ailments and are also known to slow ageing.
5. As per the data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2001–2012) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US, raisin consumption was associated with better nutrient intake, diet quality, and weight and metabolic syndrome parameters. The report further stated that while the adults who ate raisins consumed more calories and carbohydrates, their fat consumption was less. Plus, their intake of dietary fibre, iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, β-carotene and vitamins C, E and K increased. Daily intake of raisins can also help strengthen bones and teeth and prevent anaemia.