June 24, 2021 by D.Fathia
Updated August 9, 2021
Health benefits of raisins
Who doesn’t like a snack of crunchy nuts after long hectic office hours? Who doesn’t feel energized after cracking some almonds or eating a handful of mixed nuts or trails? Who hasn’t packed some dried fruits for late working schedules or even for a coffee break?
Those tiny crunchy dried fruits are super energy boosters and can be life saviors. You cannot find a better snack than this. But we tend to forget an important ingredient in such options. Though they are not nuts, raisins have been gaining importance along with trial mixes and the like.
Personally, I discovered those tiny colorful fruits during recent years. Now I am grateful for the person who recommended them. I could never think of a better addition to my occasional handful of nuts.
Unsurprisingly, the health benefits of raisins are various and scientifically backed up. If you are interested in healthy foods and trying to adhere to a healthy lifestyle, you surely need to join us on this journey to find out more about those incredible savory fruits.
What are raisins and how to make them?
Raisins are dried fruits. They are originally grapes that have been dried. The word raisin comes from Old French and means a grape. A dry grape is a raisin sec in French, though in English the adjective is discarded.
Grapes date back to 2000 BC in different places in the Middle East, especially in Persia and Egypt. Though the exact date of discovering the first raisin is not known, it is believed that, unlike other fruits, raisins have been first noticed on the grape trees.
Indeed, the first ones were not manmade, they rather were found as such because of high-temperature degrees and scorching sunlight. When the fruits stay too long in the sun they dry. From there came the idea of drying these fruits.
The process is really simple and easy. You just need to leave them in the open facing the sunlight for a few days. Otherwise, you can dry them in the oven or using a dehydrator.
Types of raisins
I like to call raisins colorful treats because they simply come in various colors just like grapes. Just in case you are wondering, the types of raisins are as many as the types of grapes since the formers are dried versions of the latter.
To be specific, here are the types of raisins we know about:
· Black raisins: though there are no black grapes, you can find black dried grapes in the markets. The color becomes darker due to sunlight. This variety can come from eitherJumbo, which is about 2.5cm long, fleshy and chewy grapes, or from Monukka, which is slightly larger and sweeter than the other black varieties.
· Currants: Small in size and made from a variety of grapes called Corinth from Greece.
· Sultanas: they are made from the most common variety of grapes called Thompson seedless. They are usually dark brown or reddish amber.
· Red or flame raisins: they come from red-skinned grapes and they usually become dark when dried. They are large and super sweet.
· Green raisins: they are produced mainly in the Middle East. They are slim but long in shape.
· Golden raisins: these are obtained from Thompson seedless grapes but are dried in the oven and sometimes treated with sulfur to avoid the darkening effect of the sun.
Each variety of raisins has a unique flavor. But mostly they are super sweet because their sugar contents become concentrated once they are dried.
Health benefits of raisins:
Like all fruits, raisins are loaded with beneficial nutrients. They are among the highly recommended foods to consume regularly. If you are a bit skeptical, then take a look at the following information.
Raisins nutrition facts:
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a serving of one hundred grams of raisins contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 299Total fat: 0.5 g
- Saturated fat: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 11 mg
- Potassium: 749 mg
- Total carbohydrates: 79 g
- Dietary fiber: 3.7 g
- Sugar: 59 g
- Protein: 3.1 g
- Vitamin C: 3 % of the daily value
- Iron: 10 % of the DV
- Vitamin B 6: 10 % of the DV
- Magnesium: 8 % of the DV
- Calcium: 5 % of the DV
Those tiny fruits are packed with valuable nutrients even more than you might think. Don’t be deceived by their size.
Raisins are rich in potassium and magnesium. A deficiency in these two compounds might cause severe acidity. Hence, adding raisins to your diets, such as snacks or baked goods can prevent acidity.
They are also rich in iron. One serving provides 10 % of the daily recommended value. This is great news if you are suffering from anemia. Besides, iron deficiency is said o cause insomnia; have a cup of raisins and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
The significant fiber content of these dry fruits can help reduce bad cholesterol and hence prevent blood pressure and ensure good heart health. Besides, fiber is a great constipation fighter; it helps digestion greatly.
Most importantly, raisins are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants fight free radicals and protect cells. Thus, they are excellent fighters against chronic diseases.
If you want to reap the health benefits of raisins order any variety now and add it to your trail mixes or to whatever dish you like.
Consumption and recipes:
Raisins are so sweet that you can add them to whatever recipe you like. You can simply consume them on their own or mixed with other seeds and nuts.
In Tunisia, we use raisins in both sweet and spiced dishes. Habits might differ between the regions, but generally, raisins are adored by all.
Couscous is cooked in different ways across the country. In some parts, it is served with raisins and chickpeas only, unlike other regions where other vegetables are used in cooking couscous. The taste might be weird at first, but once you try it you will definitely like it.
White rice is a dish loved by all. It is a bland dish, unlike the usual hot sauces in Tunisia. This dish is cooked only with spices, meat, and raisins plus other nuts. Spices should not include pepper or tomato sauce.
When it comes to sweet recipes, you can be creative and mix whatever you like. My personal favorites are granola and cookies.
Granola is a morning savor. It is a great source of energy. The best part is it doesn’t take much time to be prepared. You can also make a good quantity and store it. Raisins are a great addition to granola, give it a try.
Cookies for me are either baked with chocolate or with raisins. The savory taste along with the usual sweetness of cookies is irresistible.
Otherwise, you can use raisins in cakes, muffles, biscuits…etc. you can also use it with salads and sizzling dishes if you wish so.