Raisins originated in the Middle East before making their way to Europe, where they were especially popular among the Greeks and Romans. Historically, raisins were used as currency, as awards in sporting events, and to treat ailments like food poisoning.
Raisins are a good source of:
- Raisins also contain boron. This mineral helps maintain good bone and joint health, can improve wound healing, and may improve cognitive performance.
- Raisins are a great snack option that can add a range of nutrients to your diet. As a dried fruit, however, raisins don’t have the water content of regular grapes. This makes them less filling than whole fruit and easy to overeat. Stick to small portions to avoid adding too many calories to your diet.
- Research shows that raisins can lower your risk of heart disease by reducing blood pressure and blood sugar. The fiber in raisins works to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, which reduces strain on your heart.
- Raisins are also a good source of potassium. Studies have found that low potassium levels contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. The amount of potassium our bodies need increases if our sodium intake is high, which is common for many people's diets today. As a low-sodium food, raisins are a great way to ensure you’re getting enough potassium.
Raisins have higher levels of antioxidants compared to other dried fruits. The drying process also preserves these antioxidants, promoting greater activity than in fresh grapes.
Antioxidants prevent cell damage caused by natural factors like aging and lifestyle behaviors. Some of the more potent antioxidants in raisins are called phytonutrients. These plant-based compounds have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Research suggests that phytonutrients may also have anti-inflammatory, pain relief, and brain-protective properties.