Raisins: Benefits and Side Effects

A picture of raisins in a plate

What are Raisins?

Raisins are partially dried grapes packed with vitamins, essential minerals, antioxidants, and loads of other nutrients. You could eat raisins in salads, foods, or just snack on them as they are. They`re easily accessible, and they provide loads of health benefits. Let`s discuss some of the reasons you should eat raisins.

11 Health Benefits of Consuming Raisins

Prevents Anemia

Raisins are rich in copper, iron, and B complex vitamins which ward off anemia and other conditions that occur as a result of iron deficiency.

Prevents Acidity

Raisins contain potassium and magnesium in high amounts, and this is why they reduce acidity and relieve metabolic conditions that result in blood toxicity. What`s more? Raisins regulate the body`s PH level to prevent acidity and its accompanying conditions.

Relieves Fever

Raisins are rich in phenolic phytochemicals, and this makes them antiviral and antibacterial agents. So you can trust raisins to combat fevers caused by viruses, and to relieve bacterial infections.

Improves Eye Health

Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients that protect the eyes from macular degeneration, cataracts, and many other eye diseases. Their vitamin A and beta carotene contents improve eyesight and maintain eye health.

Prevents Cancer

Incorporating raisins in your diet also means that you`re enriching your body with catechin which are polyphenolic antioxidants that combat cancer-causing free radicals. Catechin particularly reduces the risk of colon cancer.

Aids Digestion

Raisins are rich in fiber, hence they treat chronic constipation and complications with bowel movements. Do you want a healthy gastrointestinal tract? Then you should eat raisins regularly.

Boosts Energy

benefits of riceDid you know that eating a handful of raisins can boost your energy levels? Athletes and bodybuilders have, over the years, found raisins quite helpful. Raisins contain fructose and glucose that give a quick boost to energy levels. Raisins also enhance the body’s absorption of essential nutrients such as proteins.

Combats Dental Issues

Raisins contain a phytochemical called oleanolic acid which prevents dental problems such as bacterial growth in the mouth and other issues. People who suffer tooth decay, cavities, and brittle teeth find raisins helpful. What`s more? Raisins are rich in calcium, hence they protect tooth enamel.

Combats Hypertension

Raisins regulate blood pressure levels and reduce the stiffness of blood vessels because they`re rich in antioxidants, potassium, iron, and B-complex vitamins. Raisins are a healthy snack for people who suffer hypertension.

Treats Sleep Disorders

Do you have troubles sleeping? Then you just found a perfect snack. Raisins are effective in treating sleep disorders.

Strengthens Bones

The rich calcium content of raisins is a major reason it is effective at strengthening bones and relieving joint pains. That`s not all, as raisins contain boron, a micronutrient which the body requires in small quantities for calcium absorption and bone formation. Raisins also prevent menopause-induced osteoporosis.

Side Effects of Raisins

Risk of Excess Fiber

Raisins are healthy for the digestive system as a result of their fiber content which is a natural laxative that improves bowel movement and ensures stress-free elimination of stool.
However, it is unhealthy to eat too much of raisins, as that would be the same as excess fiber consumption, which may cause intestinal blockage, intestinal gas, and poor nutrient absorption. Excess dietary fiber also causes absorption of excess fluid from the body, which may cause dehydration and stomach disorders.

Risk of Excess Antioxidants

Raisins are rich in phytonutrients, bioflavonoids, polyphenols, and other antioxidants that protect the cells and tissues from oxidative damage caused by free radicals, hence the prevention of cancer. These antioxidants also eliminate pollutants, toxins, and other impurities from the kidneys, liver, and other body organs. But what happens when we consume these antioxidants excessively? They begin to cause damage to the body system. Excess antioxidants affect healthy cells by causing oxidative damage to them.

Risk of Allergies

Raisins are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and polyphenols, and due to health differences, there are people who have allergic reactions to some of these nutrients. Common allergic reactions to raisins are nasal congestion, difficulty breathing, chest congestion, coughing, wheezing, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, skin rashes, eczema, and bacterial infections. People who experience any of these should abstain from consuming raisins.

Pregnancy Risks

Side Effect of WhiskeyRaisins are nutritious enough to enrich pregnant women and nursing mothers, owing to the vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients in them. The antioxidant content combats free radicals and protects the uterus from oxidative damage; hence helps maintain a healthy pregnancy. However, raisins have their risks after some excessive consumption. They could cause diarrhea, gas, bloating, and other stomach discomforts and digestive problems. If you`re pregnant, you really want to consider eating raisins in moderation, and even speaking with your doctor before doing so.

Risk of Hypoglycemia

Raisins contain a low glycemic index, hence they cause the release of sugar into the bloodstream to go at a slow rate, and this prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level. This makes raisins healthy for diabetics. Also, raisins contain dietary fibers that reduce the rate at which sugar gets into the bloodstream, as this too helps manage diabetes. However, note that raisins are only healthy when you consume them in moderation. Excessive consumption of raisins may cause a drastic drop in blood sugar levels, hence lead to hypoglycemia, which is characterized by fatigue, blurred vision, anxiety, unsteadiness, excessive sweating, and a number of other symptoms.
Also, diabetics who are on medication to manage the condition may need to consume raisins in low amounts, to avoid interference with their medications, as this may also worsen their condition.

Risk of Weight Gain

Did you know that a hundred grams of raisins contain 299 calories? People who don`t eat raisins in moderation are at risk of weight gain. Also, people who already get sufficient amounts of calories from other sources may need to consume little amounts of raisins to avoid weight gain.

Risk of Hypotension

Raisins are effective at relieving high blood pressure, due to the potassium content which acts as a vasodilator and improves blood circulation, relaxes blood vessels, and provides relief from high blood pressure. Raisins also contain low levels of sodium that lower blood pressure levels.
Potassium, however, has its own risks, which manifest when there is excess consumption. This causes an unnecessarily low level of blood pressure, leading to hypotension. This condition is characterized by dizziness, fatigue, blurry vision, nausea, light-headedness, and some other symptoms.
Also, people who are already on medications to treat hypertension are advised to avoid consuming raisins, as this could lead to unhealthily low blood pressure levels.

Tips for Buying and Storing Raisins

  • Buy only fresh raisins from reputable stores.
  • Raisins on purchase should be void of sunburn and insect infestation.
  • Put raisins in a sealed container and refrigerate them to retain their flavor, color, and nutritive value.
  • You may rinse raisins that become dry due to improper storage: this dissolves sugar crystals and restores moisture.

Some Raisin Facts

  • About 50% of the world`s supply of raisins come from Fresno, California.
  • The drying process determines the color of raisins: dark purple/black raisins are sun-dried, while light to medium brown raisins are mechanically dehydrated. Also, green raisins are dried by air in adobe houses, while golden to brown yellow raisins are mechanically dried and treated with sulfur dioxide.
  • April 30th is National Raisin Day.
  • It takes over than four tons of grapes to produce a ton of raisins.
  • Raisins cure renal failure in dogs.