Raisins contain some vitamins and minerals, and they're fat-free. Since they're dehydrated, they're an energy-dense source of carbohydrates. Raisins also contain quercetin, a type of polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant that protects the cells in your body from free radical damage.
One-quarter cup of raisins (about 70 raisins) is equal to a one-half cup serving of fruit. The United States Department of Agriculture suggests you eat at least 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit each day.
Nutrients per one-quarter cup of regular raisins:
- 108 calories
- 28.7 grams carbohydrate
- 1.3 grams fiber
- 18 milligrams calcium
- 0.68 milligram iron
- 12 milligrams magnesium
- 272 milligrams potassium
- 0.08 milligram zinc
- 0.108 milligram manganese
- 0.6 microgram selenium
- 0.278 milligram niacin
- 0.038 milligram thiamine
- 0.045 milligram riboflavin
- 0.063 milligram vitamin B-6
- 2 micrograms folate
- 0.8 milligram vitamin C
- 1.3 micrograms vitamin K
Dehydration doesn't change the nutritional value much - raisins retain most of the nutritional value of grapes, except for the loss of water. If you need to compare nutritional values of grapes and raisins, remember that dried fruits take up less space, so they're going to have more calories and nutrients by volume even though one grape has the same nutritional value as one raisin.
Choosing and Storing Raisins
You'll find packaged raisins in the produce section or the canned fruit aisle in your local grocery store. They're available in single-serving size boxes and larger containers. They'll stay fresh for up to a month if they're stored in an airtight container. If you need to store them for longer, keep them in your refrigerator. You can eat raisins just as they are, add them to trail mix or granola, or sprinkle some on a bowl of oatmeal. Since they're dehydrated, they're easy to pack in your bag or purse for a healthy on-the-go snack. Raisins, like other dried fruits, don't have to be cooked and are often found in raw food diets.
Raisins in Recipes
The sweet flavor of raisins goes nicely with a variety of other ingredients. Raisins can be used in baked goods, side dishes, homemade protein bars and desserts. Here are few healthy recipes that feature raisins:
- Saffron Rice with Cashews and Raisins
- Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
- Low Fat Chicken and Apple Salad
- Raisin and Spice Oatmeal with Almonds
The name 'raisen' comes from 'racemes,' which is a Latin word that refers to a cluster of grapes or berries. They've been around for a long time - depictions of raisins as food or decoration have been found in prehistoric murals in the Mediterranean region. Ancient Egyptians produced and consumed raisins, and eventually introduced them to the western world.Sources:
Agricultural Issues Center, University of California. "Commodity Profile: Raisins (Dried Grapes)." Accessed May 31, 2012. http://aic.ucdavis.edu/profiles/Raisins-2006.pdf.
United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 24. "Nutrient Data for 09298, Raisins, Seedless." Accessed Maya 31, 2012. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2472.
Williamson G, Carughi A. "Polyphenol content and health benefits of raisins." Nutr Res. 2010 Aug;30(8):511-9.