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Raisin Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

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What is Raisin?

Raisins are dried grapes, specifically dried white-fleshed grapes. These grapes are initially green in skin colour and darken as they dry, becoming a dense, dark-colored dried fruit containing small seeds and bursting with sweet flavor. Raisins are commonly produced in the U.S., Turkey, Greece, and Australia.

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.

Health Benefits of Raisin

Weight: Raisins, when eaten in proportion and combined with physical exercise, can aid in weight loss. The high fiber content in raisins keeps you full for a longer time. Raisins are particularly beneficial for underweight people who wish to gain weight in a healthy way. They are high in natural sugars, fructose and glucose, which can help in weight gain without raising the cholesterol levels.

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Sexual Dysfunction: Raisins are known to stimulate sexuality. This natural aphrodisiac property is attributed to the presence of an amino acid called arginine, which can stimulate the libido and induce arousal. It is also beneficial in treating erectile dysfunction as well as increasing sperm motility and chances of conception. Regular consumption of raisins can cure issues of sexual endurance.

Fever: Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties, are abundantly present in raisins and can help cure fevers by fighting viral and bacterial infections.

Kidney Health: Since raisins are rich in potassium, consuming them regularly prevents the formation as well as recurrence of kidney stones.

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Healthy Hair: Raisins are a good source of iron, vitamin B complex, potassium and antioxidant, which play an important role in making your hair healthy, shiny and nourished. Consuming raisins regularly can also help reduce hair fall and prevent baldness.

Eye Care: Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties.  These phytonutrients are very good for ocular health, as they protect eyes from the damage caused by free radicals (oxidants), in the form of macular degeneration, age-related weakening of vision, and cataracts. In addition to their antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin A, A-Beta Carotene and A-Carotenoid, all of which are essential for good ocular health.

Uses of Raisin

Raisins are commonly eaten out of hand; mixed into foods like oatmeal, granola bars, and chutneys; and used in cakes, pies, and other baked goods. They’re often soaked in alcohol or other flavorful liquids before being used in baked goods, as they easily absorb liquid.

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Raisin Salad: Raisins can be a nutritious alternative to processed foods like candies, chips. Though they are delicious alone, they can be effectively combined with other nutritious food items in salads. One such salad is carrot raisin salad which is a wonderful combination of crunchy texture and slightly sweet flavor.

Nutritional value of Raisin

Raisins are rich and concentrated sources of energy, vitamins, electrolytes, and minerals. On weight per weight comparison basis, 100 g of dried grapes hold 249 calories, several times more fiber, vitamins, minerals and poly-phenol antioxidants than the fresh grapes. Raisins, however, contain fewer amounts of vitamin C, folic acid, carotenes, lutein and xanthins than fresh grapes.