The humble raisin...it may be small but for what it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in substance
At first glance, raisins may be overlooked due to their dark, wrinkly dried appearance. However, looks aside, they are nature’s healthy alternative to sweets. Initially, raisins have been found to be very effective in the treatment of stomach complaints, specifically constipation. More research also shows that certain substances in raisins have beneficial effects on almost every system in the body. So, the next time you crave for something sweet try eating raisins instead.
But why California raisins in particular?
Grown in the San Joaquin Valley within a 70 mile radius of a town called Fresno, this is Southern California but with more of a Mediterranean climate. Temperatures are often over 38 degrees for weeks on end and the soil is rich in potash – ideal conditions for growing grapes and quality raisins. They are harvested in August/September and left in the baking sun on paper sheets at the base of the vines for three weeks. During drying, the heat forms the sun bakes the vineyard floor, producing intense ground temperatures that caramelize the sugars in the grapes and gives California raisins their distinct flavor and colour.
And here are ten reasons why you should eat more of them:
1. Increases Your Supply of Energy
If you are an athlete or a bodybuilder who needs a good source of energy and something to bulk up your body to a certain weight, raisins are good for you because they are loaded with sugars, specifically fructose and glucose. Eating raisins also promotes the efficient absorption of vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients in your body. Therefore, they also help in building up your immune system.
2. Aids Digestion
Upon ingestion, fibres in raisins swell as they absorb water, thus promoting a laxative effect, and thereby relieving constipation. Regular intake of raisins helps in maintaining regular bowel movement, with the fibres sweeping away the toxins and waste materials from the gastrointestinal tract.
3. Enhances Mouth Health
Unlike sweets, raisins contain oleanolic acid, which provides protection against cavities and tooth decay, and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria that can cause gingivitis and other teeth problems.
4. Enhances Bone Health
Raisins are a rich source of calcium, which is necessary to strengthen bones and teeth. A micronutrient that is abundant in raisins–boron–aids in calcium absorption and bone formation. If you are a postmenopausal woman, raisins are a good snack for you because the calcium and boron present in them help prevent the development of osteoporosis.
5. Body Acidity Reduction
The potassium and magnesium contents of raisins help reduce acidity (an abnormal metabolic condition known as acidosis) and remove toxins from the body, which may cause diseases such as arthritis, gout, kidney stones and heart disease.
6. Treats Infections
Raisins contain substances called polyphenolic phytonutrients that have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. These polyphenols have been found to lower fevers by killing the bacteria that causes existing infections.
7. Protects Eyes
The polyphenolic phytonutrients in raisins also possess antioxidant properties that protect the eyes from harmful free radicals that may cause the development of cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness, and other visual disorders.
8. Treats Anemia
Many women suffer from low iron levels but guess what? Yep, raisins are rich in iron and copper, which are necessary in the formation of red blood cells, making them an ideal snack. Raisins also help to correct iron deficiency anemia and promote blood clotting during wound healing.
9. Cancer Prevention
The polyphenolic antioxidant in raisins, known as catechin, provides protection against free radicals, which causes the development of tumors, specifically colon cancer.
10. One Of Your 5-A-Day
We all know that we should be eating more fruit and vegetables, but most of us aren’t eating enough. One heaped tablespoon of California Raisins is equal to one of your 5-a-day.
For some great ideas on how to use California Raisins in your daily diet visit www.californiaraisins.co.uk