The Benefits of Raisins

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Historians have it that raisins were discovered by man when he found them accidentally fried out on vines. However, the ancient Phoenicians and Armenians were the first to take steps in perfecting viticulture, the process of grape – growing and selection between 120 – 900 B.C. The Phoenician started the first vineyard in Malaga and Valencia (Spain) and in the Corinth (Greece), while Armenians founded their vineyards in Persia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. These areas, aside from having the climate in making perfect raisins, were also close to Greece and Rome, the very first markets for raisins.

For all their popularity however, raisins were not exported to Europe due to poor shipping methods. But in the 11th century, knights returning from crusades brought raisins back to Europe with them. By the middle of the 134th century, raisins became an important part of English cuisine.

Nutritional value

Raisins contain many Phenolic compounds, several of which function as antioxidants. Recent studies indicate the potential value it plays in reducing the risk of both heart disease and cancer. Research also indicates that when raisins are consumed at a level of 84 g/day, a favorable lipoprotein change occurs.

Raisins, which contain nearly 6 grams of dietary fiber per 100 gram serving, are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibers – integral to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases due to its effect on blood cholesterol levels. Fiber, when combined with tartaric acid, helps the colon get rid of waste more efficiently.

Uses of Raisins

  1. Raisins, just as they are, are a great snack.

  2. Raisins add flavor to almost any favorite recipe.

  3. In baked goods, raisins act as a natural preservative.

  4. Ready-to-eat cereals become more appetizing when added with raisins.

  5. Raisins maybe used in sundae style yogurt ice creams and frozen novelties as a swirl or as a filling.

  6. When used in sauces and condiments, raisins enhance the flavor of the spices used in sauces and bring out flavors in prepared meals.

  7. Raisins are an excellent confectionary filling.

  8. Raisins can be used as a substitute to refine the sweeteners in sugar-free products because of its ability to sustain blood sugar level, they are used in diabetic food products.