RAISINS – A Healthy Diet for Hypertension and Diabetes

Raisins are dehydrated grapes with wrinkled, fleshy and sugary skin. They are easy to carry, easy to store and easy to eat with exceptionally high nutritional qualities. These high energy – low fat, dried fruits have been consumed extensively since prehistoric times. Available throughout the year, raisins are used to complement food preparations by way of garnishing or decorating organic dried apricots. They are used alone or in combination with almonds, cashews and pistachios in various sweets, bakery products, confectionaries and other delicacies.

Curative properties of raisins:

  1. Nutrient-rich: Raisins contain many health beneficial nutrients. They are considered high energy food chiefly because of the high sugar content, which is comparatively more than in fresh grapes. ‘Raisin cure’ is believed to be a popular treatment given to patients suffering from chronic and debilitating diseases. They can be made a part of the diet in febrile conditions like fever. Serving as high energy sources, they can be incorporated during recovery from illnesses (convalescence) or in weight increasing diets. With their high energy density, Raisins can indeed be made a part of a nutrient-rich snack, especially for children. They are also rich sources of potassium and dietary fiber. The potential health benefit of sultana raisins is due to the presence of antioxidants called flavonols. They help prevent cell damage in the body.

  2. Reduces risk of diabetes: Recent research focused on the effect of raisin intake on blood glucose, and insulin response suggests potential health benefits of raisins. In comparison with other foods or snacks, raisins seem to have a low glycemic and insulinemic index. Low post-prandial blood glucose levels on raisin consumption significantly reduce the risk of diabetes.

  3. Reduces blood pressure and risk of heart diseases: Documents of clinical studies on raisin intake point out marked reductions in bad cholesterol or LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and serum triglycerides. Intake of low-fat raisins over some time decreases the blood pressure significantly and thereby the risk of heart diseases.

  4. Prevention of dental caries: Till recently, raisins owing to their high sugar content were suspected of causing dental caries. Low oral pH, sticking of food particles to the teeth and growth of bacteria are the factors responsible for dental caries. Research on raisin strikes out the presence of the above factors on raisin intake. The antioxidant-rich raisins inhibit the growth of streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria leading to caries.

  5. Relieves constipation: High dietary fibre content of raisins makes them helpful in treating constipation. Naturopathy recommends the Intake of raisins soaked in water overnight to facilitate bowel movement. Following this schedule every morning for some time will be beneficial in relieving constipation. Children can be given the crushed and strained mixture of soaked raisins to help regularize bowels.

  6. Reduces acidosis: Raisins with their high alkalinity help maintain acid balance in the body. Production of excess acid in the body leads to acidosis. Chronic acidosis due to excessive consumption of meat may be reduced by raisin intake.

Raisins sweetness makes them a great favourite. A handful of raisins to the breakfast cereal can do wonders. To make a colourful and nutrient-packed snack for children, mix raisins with other fruits and nuts.