Raisins are widely recommended as good foods and preferred snacks because of their nutrient content. They are rich in dietary fiber, potassium, and many health-promoting phytonutrients and antioxidants. Raisins have a high dietary fiber score. Laboratory studies document that raisins rank in the upper quartile of foods for antioxidant content. Clinical research related to the potential health benefits of raisins has intensified over the past 10 y. Much of this research has focused on blood glucose and insulin responses to raisins compared to other foods or snacks. Meal studies indicate that raisins have a low to moderate glycemic index and a low insulinemic index. Longer term studies suggest that customary intake of raisins is associated with lower postprandial blood glucose values than with equicaloric control foods. Cross-sectional studies suggest that higher levels of dried fruit consumption are associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure than seen with minimal dried fruit use. One clinical study documents that raisin intake over 12 wk is accompanied by a significant reduction in blood pressure. Preliminary results indicate that raisins are associated with increased satiety and decreased food consumption over an 8-h period, but the potential benefits of raisins for weight loss have not been assessed. Raisin intake is accompanied by reductions in serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and oxidized low-density cholesterol values. Thus, raisins have the potential to significantly reduce the risk for developing diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
© 2013 Institute of Food Technologists®