Raisin

As a rule, most people satisfy the feeling of hunger between main meals with not very healthy fast food. Meanwhile, there is a healthier solution. A handful of raisins will perfectly solve the problem, and in addition, it will saturate the body with useful nutrients. And paradoxically, these dried fruits are healthier than the fresh grapes from which they are made.

Interesting facts from history

It is difficult to say when the first raisins appeared. But most likely, the first dried grapes appeared on a dried vine in a natural way. And although it took several hundred years before it became clear which of the 8,000 varieties of grapes are best suited for raisins, nevertheless, almost 3 thousand years ago, people began to pick berries and dry them in the sun. The modern drying process is very similar to how our ancestors made raisins, although ovens are more often used for industrial purposes.

Historians believe that the first steps in viticulture were taken by the Phoenicians and Armenians. The Phoenicians established their plantations in Spain and Greece, while the Armenians grew vineyards in what is now Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. These areas proved to be ideal for raisin production. And in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire around the same time, the first raisin markets were created. In ancient Rome, dried fruit was used for various purposes: during religious ceremonies, as money or prizes in sports. At one time in the Roman Empire, for 2 cans of raisins, you could buy a slave.

What are raisins

Raisins are dried sweet grapes.

Until the Middle Ages, this product was used as a sweetener and was second only to honey in popularity in those days. Today, many manufacturers make raisins by drying them in direct sunlight. Some, however, mechanically dehydrate fruit to speed up the drying process. After that, the process of harvesting dry grapes is from 2 to 4 weeks. In a properly harvested fruit, the amount of moisture should not exceed 16% of the total weight.

You can often see the designation “seedless” on raisin packages. As a rule, this means that the dried fruit is not made from a seedless variety of berries, and the seeds were removed before or after drying. But what is important, in both cases, the taste of raisins will be slightly different. But dried fruits with seeds are a little harder to find today, but still possible.

In the markets (especially on the eve of the New Year and Christmas holidays) you can find different varieties of raisins:

  • dark is the most common variety of dried fruit, as as a rule, seedless, despite the dark color, is made from green grapes;
  • golden, aka muscat, is made from white muscat grapes, which are dried not in the sun, but in a special cabinet, due to which the light color is preserved. Usually dried already pitted, and sometimes sulfur dioxide is used to preserve a beautiful color ;
  • Kishmish – popular in Europe, made from seedless yellow grapes, usually softer than other types of raisins.
Nutritional value per 100 g
Calories 229 kcal
Carbohydrates 78.2 g
Proteins 3.08 g
Fats 0.5 g
Fiber 3.7 g
Niacin 0.77 mg
Thiamine 0.1 mg
Riboflavin 0.13 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.09 mg
Pyridoxine 0.02 mg
Folic acid 5 mcg
Vitamin C 2.3 mg
Vitamin E 0.12 mg
Vitamin K 3.5 mcg
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 759 mg
Calcium 50 mg
Copper 0.32 mg
Iron 1.9 mg
Magnesium 7 mg
Manganese 0.3 mg
Selenium 0.6 mcg
Zinc 0.22 mg

Useful properties

Raisins are dried grapes, but in unlike fresh, it has a higher calorie content and a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants. But vitamin C, folic acid, carotene, luteins and xanthines are slightly less in it.

Raisins, like prunes, figs or dried apricots, are a rich source of calories. Due to the high content of antioxidants, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and cholesterol-lowering abilities. Studies show that thanks to resveratol (an antioxidant substance), these dried fruits are useful in resisting various types of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and melanoma. The same substance is useful for the prevention of coronary heart disease, degenerative diseases, Alzheimer's disease, viral and fungal infections. Resveratol has a beneficial effect on vascular health, as a result of which it is able to prevent coronary heart disease. And raisins made from red or purple grapes are very high in anthocyanins. These antioxidants have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties.

Another side of the beneficial properties of raisins is fiber. Studies have shown that moderate consumption of foods rich in this substance helps to reduce body weight, prevents constipation and some types of cancer, and lowers cholesterol.

Being gluten-free, raisins are suitable as a healthy food for people with gluten intolerance.

100 g of raisins contain approximately 23% of the daily intake of iron, which makes this dried fruit useful for people at risk of anemia. Perhaps few people know that raisins contain about as much iron as boiled beans or ground beef. In addition, a handful of dry grapes will provide calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper and other beneficial minerals. Benefits for people with heart disease will provide potassium, which in 100 g of raisins contains almost 750 mg.

Influence on the body

Due to fiber, raisins swell when they enter the body. At the same time, the product works as a means of accelerating the process of digestion of food, regulating the removal of toxins and the absorption of nutrients.

Weight Gain

Raisins are a good food for people who want to gain weight without the risk of high cholesterol levels. The energy reserves of the product are very high, which makes it useful for bodybuilders and other athletes. Another aspect is also important, in addition to additional kilocalories, dried fruit food contains many vitamins, amino acids, minerals, in particular such important ones as selenium and phosphorus (contribute to more efficient absorption of other useful components).

Circulatory system

For many years, people believed that dried grapes could lower blood pressure and protect the heart muscle. Not so long ago, scientists began to test this assumption in the laboratory. The first results obtained showed a direct relationship between arterial hypertension and raisin consumption. Scientists believe that this effect gives potassium contained in dried fruits. After all, this element, as you know, is able to relax blood vessels, reduce their stiffness, and lower blood pressure.

Being a rich source of iron, raisins protect against anemia, thanks to B-complex vitamins and copper, it promotes the formation of new blood cells.

Acidosis is a condition in which the blood is too acidic and has its roots in the digestive system. Over time, acidosis can lead to boils, skin diseases, internal diseases, arthritis, gout, kidney stones, hair loss, heart disease, and even cancer. But ordinary raisins can prevent acidosis. It is a good source of potassium and magnesium, minerals that are effective in neutralizing acids.

Role for the eyes

Phytonutrients found in raisins are known to have antioxidant properties. These substances are good for eye health: they protect them from damage caused by free radicals, including macular degeneration and cataracts. In addition to their antioxidant properties, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin A, which is also important for sharp vision.

Anti-cancer product

Dried grapes contain high levels of catechins, polyphenolic antioxidants. These substances are, so to speak, an "antidote" against free radicals. The latter are dangerous components that in the human body cause pathogenic degeneration of healthy cells (this leads to spontaneous growth of malignant tumors and metastases). Raisins, being rich in antioxidants, prevent this process.

Benefits for Diabetes

People with diabetes also benefit from this product.

Moderate amounts of raisins (it should not be forgotten that this is a very sweet and high-calorie product) prevent hypo- and hyperglycemia.

In addition, it promotes the production of hormones that prevent weight gain (a common problem with diabetes).

This dried fruit is an excellent source of calcium, boron and many nutrients important for bone health. In particular, boron plays an important role in bone formation and efficient absorption of calcium. Boron is useful in preventing osteoporosis, especially in post-menopausal women. Potassium contained in dried fruits also contributes to the formation of healthy bone cells, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

The oleanolic acid present in raisins plays a critical role in protecting teeth from caries and brittleness. In addition, it protects against streptococci and bacteria that cause caries. In addition, raisins are rich in calcium, an indispensable substance for teeth, as it prevents flaking of enamel and makes it stronger. And now an interesting detail: the longer you chew raisins, the better the beneficial substances contained in fruits are in contact with tooth enamel. In particular, this also applies to oleanolic acid, which cleans the oral cavity from bacteria.

Men's Health Benefits

For centuries, raisins have been known to stimulate sexual desire and induce arousal. Researchers attribute this effect to the presence in dried fruits of arginine, which is useful for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. Arginine increases sperm motility, increases the chances of conception. In India, there was an interesting practice: on their wedding night, the bride and groom drank a glass of milk in which raisins and a pinch of saffron were boiled.

In addition, raisins increase sexual stamina and increase energy.

Also, dried grapes are useful in many other cases:

  • promotes the excretion of bile from the body;
  • burns cholesterol;
  • promotes heart muscle health;
  • detoxifies;
  • protects against intestinal disorders;
  • has an antiviral, antibacterial effect.

Possible Hazards

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Raisins, especially the golden ones, are usually treated with sulfur dioxide.

This substance may aggravate asthma and other allergic reactions in people sensitive to sulfur.

How to choose the right

Today it will not be difficult to buy raisins of various varieties and types. When buying a product, pay attention to its appearance and aroma - they will be far from ideal for low-grade raisins. It is important to give preference to dried fruits without burns, scars, cracks and other mechanical damage, mold and insects.

Raisins have a fairly long shelf life, they do not lose their freshness for a long time in an airtight container, away from sunlight. It can be stored in the refrigerator or in another cool dark place.

But an important note: prolonged storage in the refrigerator can cause precipitation of sugar. But the sweet crystals that have appeared are easily dissolved in boiled water, in which raisins are immersed for several minutes.

Raisins in cooking

In most recipes, different varieties of raisins can be used interchangeably, except when a particular variety is essential for the dish. In extreme cases, dried grapes in culinary recipes can always be replaced with prunes or cranberries.

For people allergic to sulfites, it is important to review the list of ingredients used to make the dried fruit. Sulfites are commonly found in golden dried grapes.

You can improve the taste of dried fruits if you soak them in warm or cold water for 10-15 minutes before use. Slightly swollen berries get wet with a paper towel and now you can safely use it for cooking different dishes.

If you want to add raisins to the dough, it is important to roll the berries in flour beforehand - this will prevent the dried fruits from settling to the bottom of the mold during baking.

If the recipe calls for small raisins, then it is better to choose this variety, rather than cut the berries of larger varieties.

To separate raisins that have stuck together, simply place them in a colander and rinse with hot water.

You can enhance the taste of dry grapes in confectionery by soaking raisins in rum, cognac or liquor.

Most people are more accustomed to adding raisins to desserts and baked goods, but they also pair well with kale, dark green leafy vegetables (eg chard, kale, broccoli, green salad

206]), and they are also added to sauces, pasta dishes.

These small dried berries are real gems in the world of food. They contain more nutrients than many other foods. Nutritionists say that it is enough to eat 100-150 g of these dried fruits per day to maintain a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals.