The word raisin dates back to Middle English and is a loanword from Old French; in French, raisin means “grape”, while a dried grape is referred to as a raisin sec, or “dry grape“.
Raisins are obtained by drying grapes, either in the sun or in driers, which turns the grapes into golden, green or black gems. In fact, when their nutritional values and health benefits are considered, “gems” is a rather accurate name for them!
Raisins are irreplaceable as a healthy member of the dry fruits category. These golden, green or black delicacies are favorites of almost everyone, particularly children. Raisins are widely used in cultural cooking around the world (especially in desserts), and are also added to health tonics, snacks and compact, high-energy food supplements for mountaineers, backpackers, and campers.
Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used, and are made in a variety of sizes and colors including green, black, blue, purple and yellow. Seedless varieties include the sultana (also known as Thompson Seedless in the USA) and Flame grapes. “Golden raisins” are treated with sulfur dioxide after drying to give them their golden color. Black Corinth or Zante currant are miniature raisins that are much darker in color and have a tart, tangy flavor. They are often called currants.
13 Reasons Why Raisins Are The Best Energy Food For Workouts.
- Energy Booster: Raisins are rich in carbs, especially natural sugars, and provide a quick boost of energy making it an excellent pre or post workout snack especially during high-intensity endurance exercise.
- Fight Heart Disease and Diabetes: Eating raisins regularly is associated with lower blood glucose levels, reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, reduced triglycerides, increased satiety and lower overall food consumption, decreasing your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes and possibly obesity.
- Aphrodisiac: Raisins contain an amino acid named Arginine which increases libido and induces arousal and has been used to treat erectile dysfunction in men. It also acts as a instant energy source that helps your conjugal life.
- Digestive Support: Raisins are a good source of dietary fiber that starts to swell in the presence of water and provide a laxative effect that relieves constipation. Also daily intake of raisins keeps the bowel movement regular and the fibres help to keep toxins and waste products out of the system.
- Nutrients Superstore: Raisins are concentrated natural sources of energy, vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals and one of the few plant-based foods rich in dietary iron, potassium, poly phenolics anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, and other phyto-nutrients.
- Eye Care: Raisins have abundant vitamin A, beta carotene and A-Carotenoid, all vital nutrients for eye health. The polyphenolic phytonutrients (anti-oxidants) protect eyes from free radical oxidation, responsible for weakened vision, muscular degeneration as well as cataracts.
- Bone Care: Calcium, in raisins, boosts bone health and helps prevent arthritis and gout.
- Oral Care: Oleanolic acid (a phytochemical) helps keep your teeth safe from brittleness, decay and cavities. Its anti bacterial action along with boron keeps germ buildup in check and maintains healthy oral hygiene. Calcium, in raisins, provides density and prevents the teeth from breakage.
- Weight Gain: Raisins are rich in fructose as well as glucose and give you loads of energy as well as help you gain weight. It also contains enough calories for your weight gain diet without increasing bad cholesterol.
- Acidity Regulator: Raisins contain potassium and magnesium in good levels that help reduce acidity and remove the toxins from the system preventing diseases like arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart diseases.
- Fights Anemia: Raisins is a rich source of Iron, as well as B-Complex Vitamins, which help to treat anemia. Also its copper content boosts the production of red blood cells.
- Anti Cancer: The antioxidant- catechin (a natural phenol) present in raisins helps to protect against free radical activity responsible for tumours and colon cancer.
- Fights Infections: Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients known to act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. It also contains anti-bacterial properties which kill the bacteria responsible for cold and other common infections.
Side Effects and Precautions:
Calorie Dense: Raisins are quite high in calories, nearly 500 calories in a typical single-serving box, which can increase weight gain quickly if you are not careful.
Not a Diabetic Food: Raisins also have high levels of triglycerides due to their high content of fructose which increase your chances of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, and fatty liver cancer.
Allergies to Sulfur: Raisins, especially golden variety, are treated with sulfur dioxide that may aggravate asthma and other allergic reactions in sulfur sensitive people.