As a rule, the feeling of hunger between main meals most people quench is not very useful junk food. Meanwhile, there is a healthier solution. A handful of raisins will perfectly solve the problem, and in addition, 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 hard 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 grape varieties are best for raisins, however, almost 3 thousand years ago, people began to pick berries and dry them in the sun. The modern drying process is much like the way our ancestors made raisins, although furnaces are more often used for industrial purposes.
Historians believe that the first steps in viticulture were made by the Phoenicians and Armenians. The Phoenicians founded their plantations in Spain and Greece, and the Armenians grew vineyards in the territory of modern Turkey, Iran and Iraq. These areas were ideal for raisins. And in ancient Greece and the Roman Empire at about the same time the first markets for raisins were created. In ancient Rome, dried fruit was used for different purposes: during religious rites, as money or prizes in sports. At one time in the Roman Empire for 2 banks of raisins you could buy a slave.
What is raisins
Raisins are dried sweet grapes.
Until the Middle Ages, this product was used as a sweetener, and its popularity in those days was second only to honey. Today, many manufacturers make raisins by drying in direct sunlight. Some, however, preliminarily mechanically dehydrate fruits to speed up the drying process. After that, the process of harvesting dry grapes is from 2 to 4 weeks. In a properly prepared fruit, the amount of moisture should not exceed 16% of the total weight.
Often on the packages of raisins you can see the designation "seedless". 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's 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 - this is the most common dried fruit variety, usually seedless, despite the dark color they are made from green grapes;
- golden, it is also nutmeg, made from white nutmeg grapes, which are dried not in the sun, but in a special cabinet, due to which the light color is preserved. Usually, they are dried without seeds, 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.
|Calorie content||229 kcal|
|Pantothenic acid||0.09 mg|
|Folic acid||5 mcg|
|Vitamin C||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.12 mg|
|Vitamin K||3.5 mcg|
Raisins are dried grapes, but unlike fresh grapes, they have a higher calorie content and concentration of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. But vitamin C, folic acid, carotene, luteins and xanthines are a little less.
Raisins, like prunes, figs or dried apricots, are a rich source of calories. Due to its 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 countering various types of cancer, such as the colon, prostate gland, 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 grape varieties contain a lot of anthocyanins. These antioxidants have antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antimicrobial and anti-cancer properties.
Fiber provides another side of the beneficial properties of raisins. Studies have shown that moderate consumption of foods rich in this substance helps reduce body weight, prevents constipation and certain types of cancer, and lowers cholesterol.
Being a gluten-free product, raisins are suitable as a healthy diet for people with gluten intolerance.
100 g of raisins contains approximately 23% of the daily dose of iron, which makes this dried fruit useful for people at risk of anemia. Perhaps few 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 useful minerals. Benefits for people with heart disease will provide potassium, which in 100 g of raisins contains almost 750 mg.
Effect on the body
Due to fiber, raisins, swallowing, enter the body. At the same time, the product works as a means that accelerates the process of digesting food, regulates the removal of toxins and the absorption of nutrients.
Raisins - a product that is useful for people who want to gain weight without the risk of increasing cholesterol. The energy reserves of the product are very high, which makes it useful for bodybuilders and other athletes. Another aspect is important, in addition to extra kilocalories, dried fruit food contains many vitamins, amino acids, minerals, in particular, important ones such as selenium and phosphorus (contribute to a more efficient absorption of other beneficial components).
For many years, people believed that dried grapes can lower blood pressure and protect the heart muscle. Not so long ago, scientists began to laboratory test this assumption. The first results obtained showed a direct relationship between hypertension and consumption of raisins. Scientists believe that such an 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 the vitamins of the B-complex and copper, it helps to form new blood cells.
Acidosis is a condition accompanied by increased acidity of the blood, and the roots of this problem lie in the digestive system. Over time, acidosis can lead to boils, skin diseases, diseases of internal organs, arthritis, gout, kidney stones, hair loss, heart disease, and even cancer. But to prevent acidosis by the power of ordinary raisins. It is a good source of potassium and magnesium - minerals effective in neutralizing acids.
It is known that phytonutrients contained in raisins 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 its antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin A, which is also important for acute vision.
Dried grapes contain a high level 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.
The benefits of this product are felt by people with diabetes.
Raisins in moderation (we must not forget that this is a very sweet and high-calorie product) prevents hypo- and hyperglycemia.
In addition, it promotes the production of hormones that prevent weight gain (a common problem with diabetes).
Dental and bone health
This dried fruit is an excellent source of calcium, boron and many nutrients important for maintaining healthy bones. In particular, boron plays an important role in bone formation and the effective absorption of calcium. Boron is useful in preventing osteoporosis, especially in women after menopause. Potassium contained in dried fruits also contributes to the formation of healthy bone cells, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
Oleanolic acid present in raisins plays a crucial role in protecting teeth from tooth decay and brittleness. In addition, it protects against streptococci and bacteria that cause tooth decay. In addition, raisins are rich in calcium, a substance indispensable for teeth, as it prevents enamel exfoliation and makes it stronger. And now an interesting detail: the longer you chew raisins, the better the beneficial substances contained in fruits come into contact with tooth enamel. In particular, this also applies to oleanolic acid, which cleans bacteria from the oral cavity.
Benefits for Men's Health
For centuries, raisins have been known as a product that stimulates sex drive and causes arousal. Researchers attribute this effect to the presence of arginine in dried fruits, which is useful for treating sexual dysfunction. Arginine increases sperm motility, increases the chances of conception. In India, there was an interesting practice: the bride and groom on a wedding night drank a glass of milk in which raisins and a pinch of saffron were brewed.
In addition, raisins increase sexual stamina and add energy.
Dried grapes are also useful in many other cases:
- helps to eliminate bile from the body;
- burns cholesterol;
- promotes heart muscle health;
- removes toxins;
- protects against intestinal disorders;
- It has an antiviral, antibacterial effect.
Raisins, especially golden flowers, are usually treated with sulfur dioxide.
This substance can 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 has a rather long shelf life, it does not lose its freshness for a long time in a sealed 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 sugar to precipitate. But the sweet crystals that appear easily dissolve in boiled water, into which raisins are immersed for several minutes.
In most recipes, different varieties of raisins can be used interchangeably, except when a particular variety is important for the dish. In extreme cases, dried grapes in cooking recipes can always be replaced with prunes or cranberries.
People with an allergy to sulfites are important to study the list of ingredients used to make dried fruit. Sulphites are commonly found in golden dried grape varieties.
You can improve the taste of dried fruits if you fill them with warm or cold water for 10-15 minutes before use. Blot slightly swollen berries with a paper towel and can now be safely used to prepare different dishes.
If you want to add raisins to the dough, it is important to pre-roll the berries in the flour - this will prevent the settling of dried fruits to the bottom of the mold during baking.
If the recipe involves the use of small raisins, then it is better to choose just such a variety, and not cut the berries of larger varieties.
To separate raisins that stick together, just put them in a colander and rinse with hot water.
You can enhance the taste of dry grapes in confectionery if you soak raisins in rum, cognac or liquor.
It’s more common for most people to add raisins to desserts and pastries, but these dried fruits also combine well with cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables (for example, chard, cabbage, broccoli, green salad), and they are also added to sauces, pasta dishes.
These small dried berries are real gems in the food world. They contain more nutrients than many other foods. Nutritionists say it’s enough to eat 100-150 g of these dried fruits per day to maintain a healthy balance of vitamins and minerals.