“I heard it through the grapevine…..” is most likely the lyrics many of us think of when we think about raisins. It wasn’t until the mid to late 1980s that raisins suddenly became a fun and popular food to snack on. This was the result of an advertising campaign created by the California Raisin Advisory Board, to find a way to promote the sale of raisins. The campaign consisted of a fictional R&B group of Raisins who sang Motown music called the “California Raisins”. The campaign was so successful that many of the items created for the campaign are actually in the Smithsonian Institution collection. This was a great campaign because not many people, especially kids, thought of raisins as an appetizing snack. With the help of the fictional raisin musical group, raisins became a common and tasty snack in households worldwide. Raisins are definitely tasty, however, there are more than a handful of health benefits raisins offer us, a list that even the “California Raisins” did not sing about.
To learn about the benefits of raisins, we need to understand what they are and where they actually came from first. Raisins are dried grapes, often sugary in taste and have a shriveled appearance. Out of all dried fruits, raisins have been considered to be the most nutritional. They are high in fiber, free of fat and cholesterol, and have a low sodium amount. Raisins also carry a good source of fructose, which in turn, gives us a quick boost of energy after consuming the dried fruit.
Here is a list of several of the benefits that raisins can offer to us:
- For individuals who suffer from anemia, consuming raisins can greatly improve their condition. Raisins are very rich in iron, which is a very important mineral that anemic individuals need to consistently replenish their body.
- Studies have shown that raisins may prevent the growth of cancerous cells as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Raisins are kind on the eyes! Raisins carry certain organic components of plants called phytonutrients and polyphenols. These are similar to antioxidants. These organic components help rid the body of free radicals, which are a major cause of macular degeneration. Consuming raisins regularly can help you maintain healthy eyes as well as reduce your risk of macular degeneration.
- As mentioned earlier, the “California Raisins” campaign helped bring awareness and popularity to the general public in raising health and consumption. The cartoon-like characters in the campaign were liked by children across the world. This resulted in children actually wanting to eat the dried fruit, which of course appeased parents. Not just parents were happy about this, Dentists were too. Consuming raisins, especially when consumed by young children, can actually prevent tooth decay, gingivitis, and cavities!
- Have a fever? Raisin’s Phenolic Phytonutrients can help bring down a fever and help fight viral infections.
Isn’t it amazing that something so tiny and so wrinkled can have so many great health benefits? It also helps that they are so affordable. So throw a few raisins on your morning oatmeal or pack a small bag of them in your lunch. You will enjoy the sweet little snack and see the health benefits in no time!
Amna Sheikh is a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelors in Economics and Statistics. She is also a medical writer working as a freelancer for 10+ years and she is specialized in medical, health, and pharmaceutical writing, regulatory writing & clinical research. All her work is supported by a strong academic and professional experience.