Because raisin is aged-looking with a wrinkled texture it can be confusing to tell if it is a fruit or exactly what food category it is.
Raisin is a kind of dried fruit that goes through the process of drying. During this process, the water content in it drains almost completely to produce a fruit that’s small but full of nutrients.
The interesting thing about this fruit is that it is versatile in use and is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. It’s a healthier substitute for sugary candies and chocolate. You can use it as a topping for your oatmeal, granola, yogurt, or milkshake.
Find out more about raisin as a fruit, its benefits, and its disadvantages in this article.
What are raisins?
Raisins are dried grapefruits. Grapes are formed in the ovary of flowering plants, thus making them fruit. The common grapevine called the Vitis vinifera plant is the major plant source of raisins.
However, the grape used for making raisins varies across different regions of the world. In the US for instance, the Thompson Seedless variety is the major grape used. While Australia makes raisins from Muscat, Lexia, and Waltham Cross.
Depending on the grape type, raisins could turn dark brown, black, or green. Nevertheless, they are sweet, soft, and full of nutrients with a wide range of uses.
They can be eaten raw, and used in cooking, brewing, and baking. For instance, you can use them to bake granola bars, cookies, and muffins.
You can also stuff them into pastries, add them to salad, or use them as toppings for cereals or creamy treats.
Is raisin good for you?
Eating raisins is much better than indulging in candies, chocolate, and packs of sweets. They are a bunch of nutrition, unlike sweets that are merely sugar with no nutritional benefits.
Since raisin is a natural fruit that does not go through artificial processing, it retains most of its nutrients. Raisins are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes.
Because of their ability to boost energy, they are added to high-energy supplements, snacks, health tonics, and compacts for athletes, campers, backpackers, and the likes who need high calories in their diet for better performance.
Benefits of eating raisin
Here are the health benefits associated with eating raisins:
A half cup of raisin contains about 3 grams of fiber, about 10 to 24% of the daily fiber requirement. Fiber helps to regulate bowel movements, thereby improving digestion and metabolism.
Foods with fiber keep the stomach full for longer, thereby reducing hunger pain, and the need to eat over and over. This makes it perfect for healthy weight loss.
Fiber is also associated with lowering LDL cholesterol levels which is responsible for several heart diseases. Therefore, eating raisins in healthy portions helps you normalize your blood glucose and cholesterol level, making you less exposed to life-threatening illnesses.
2. Calcium and boron
Raisins are rich in both boron and calcium which is essential for bone formation, strengthening bones, and maintenance. Boron is also helpful in preventing menopause-induced osteoporosis in women.
Osteoporosis is a disorder that causes bone loss as one age, but the calcium and boron in raisin work collectively with vitamin D and potassium to keep the bones and joints healthy.
A half cup of raisins contains about 40 mg of calcium. A variety of raisins called golden raisin is soaked in gin and taken to relieve chronic pain, including arthritis pain.
Little evidence gathered from real-life sources proves that arthritis witnesses significant improvements in health after taking some amount of these types of raisins every day.
Raisins are an excellent source of antioxidants. They contain naturally occurring chemicals called phytonutrients in the form line polyphenols and phenols.
These compounds help to fight off radicals from entering the blood and damaging DNA and the cells in the body. These radicals cause heart diseases, cancer, and even stroke, but phytonutrients prevent them from getting into the bloodstream.
A half cup of raisin contains about 7 percent of the daily recommended vitamin B6 and B2, and 6 percent of vitamin B1 daily recommendation.
These vitamins help the body use up fats, sugar, and protein properly. They help the brain, nerves, skin, and other parts of the body to develop.
The body also produces and maintains adequate energy for the day’s work through these vitamins. And they act as stress and anxiety relievers.
6. Copper and Iron
Iron is essential for the production of red blood cells for transporting oxygen around the body. Copper also aids the formation of red blood cells and the absorption of iron into the body.
Raisins contain copper and iron in a decent amount. A half cup of raisin has about 1.3 mg of iron which is about 16% of the daily requirement for men and 7% for women.
By indulging in foods that contain an excellent amount of iron, you can reduce the chances of anemia.
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7. Antimicrobial compounds
Certain phytochemicals help to improve teeth and gum health. Raisin contains oleanolic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid which help to ward off bacteria in the mouth.
Taking sugary food like candies and sweets exposes the mouth to these bacteria. In contrast, raisins prevent them from damaging your teeth and gums.
Disadvantages of eating raisin
Although raisins have a lot of benefits, there are some risks that come from taking them in excess which include:
1. Weight gain from excess calories
Even though raisins are healthier than candies and sweets and it has a great amount of fiber that helps to reduce hunger pang, it is still a calorie-dense food, and eating it in high quantities can cause a sugar spike.
It’s best that you watch the portion you eat. A half cup contains about 217 calories and 47 grams of sugar. To be on the safe side, eat only one quarter of a cup per day or one small snack pack which is available in grocery stores.
High fiber foods take time to digest, therefore taking foods that contain high fiber too frequently can stress the digestive tract causing diarrhea and severe gastrointestinal issues.
3. Diabetes risk
Over-consuming anything in excess is bad. One of the effects of eating too much raisin is that it exposes you to diabetics because of the amount of sugar present in it.
If you’re addicted to raisins or can’t stop eating them, I’d advise that you consult a nutritionist so you can ascertain the appropriate raisin that you can consume.
If you’re also looking to lose weight or treat diabetes, then you should cut the portion you consume.
If you’re someone who experiences wheezing, breathing problems, diarrhea, or fever after eating a raisin, then you’re likely allergic to it.
As such, the best advice is to visit a doctor for professional help, prescription, and treatment.
How to eat raisin
Raisins can be included as part of your daily diet in many creative and healthy ways:
- Use them as sweeteners for your oatmeal or smoothie bowl instead of sugar or syrup
- Sprinkle raisin on salads, peanut butter-slathered celery sticks, and fruit bowls, or make them a part of your homemade trail mix for a sweet crunch
- Make it a delightful addition to mashed potatoes, sautéed vegetables, or other side dishes
- Add to muffins and pancakes to sweeten it if you are trying to avoid or cut back on refined sugar
- Use them as energy boosters for athletics or whatever sport you do
Is eating dried fruit the same as eating fresh fruit?
No. Fresh fruits are healthier because the water content in them reduces the calories present in them. Dried fruits, on the other hand, have high fiber and high sugar content that can lead to sugar spikes and weight gain.
How many raisins should you eat per day?
Eat only one-quarter of a cup or a small pack per day.
What type of fruit is a raisin?
Raisins are grapes that have been dried.
Are raisins high in sugar?
Yes. They contain high amounts of sugar.
Does raisin help with weight loss?
Yes. Raisin is rich in fiber, therefore consuming it improves bowel movement and boosts metabolism which is helpful for losing weight.
Raisin is a type of fruit made by drying grapes. Grapes typically develop in the flower of their plant; thus, it is a fruit. Moreso, it contains seeds just like other fruits.
The good thing about them is that they are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The only downside is that they have high sugar which can cause weight gain when taken in excess.
Apart from that, raisins are versatile in use. Whether as toppings, as part of a recipe, or as a snack itself.
I hope this article helped. Thanks for reading.