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Raisins (Kishmish): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Smita Barode

By Dr Smita Barode +2 more

Introduction: 

We often get sugar cravings where most of us reach for high-sugar foods like cookies, candies, a fun-size ice cream or a chocolate bar despite knowing its bad effects. However, we bring you a nutritious and healthy snack, which might help with your sugar cravings. Raisins are dried grapes and are considered a traditional dried fruit. Raisins are sweet, consisting of sugar, with high fibre and provide satiety. Raisins are made from Vitis vinifera grapes and are largely produced in the United States, followed by Turkey, China, Iran, Chile, Greece, and Australia. Varieties of raisins are available which include Dark raisins made from Thompson seedless grapes, Golden raisins, Sultanas, and Zante currants raisins processed by sun-drying or dehydrating grapes.1,2 Let us discuss the health benefits of eating raisins, their nutritional value and more. 

raisins benefits

Did you know?

Nutritional Value of Raisins: 

Raisins are rich in sugar, fructose, and glucose. They have an abundance of dietary fibre and bioactive compounds like vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, anthocyanins, and flavonols. One hundred grams of raisins may provide 301 kcal energy, and the water content is 14.9 g.1,3 The nutrients of raisins include: 

Nutrients Value/100 g 
Carbohydrate 80 g 
Protein 3.28 g 
Fibre 3.3 g 
Fat 0.2 g 
Sugar 65.7 g 
Potassium 746 mg 
Calcium 64 mg 
Sodium 24 mg 
Magnesium 35 mg 
Manganese 0.226 mg 
Phosphorus  101 mg 
Iron 0.98 mg 
Zinc 0.37 mg 
Copper 0.228 mg 
Selenium 0.7 µg 
Vitamin E 0.12 mg 
Vitamin C 3.2 mg 
Vitamin K 3.5 µg 
Vitamin B9 3 µg 
Vitamin B6  0.323 mg 
Vitamin B3 1.14 mg 
Vitamin B2 0.191 mg 
Vitamin B1 0.008 mg 

Table 1: Nutritional value of Raisins per 100 grams.3 

Properties of Raisins: 

Raisins may have health-benefitting properties like: 

  • It may act as an antioxidant 
  • It may lower the blood sugar levels 
  • It may have a prebiotic effect (promote good bacteria in the gut) 
  • It may have anti-inflammatory properties 
  • It may reduce the cholesterol levels 
  • It may have antimicrobial activity  
  • It may benefit heart health.1,2 

Let me share an interesting fact with you. Raisins, those little dried grapes, are packed with powerful antioxidants like polyphenols, tannins, and phenolic acids. In an animal study, researchers discovered that feeding ageing rats a diet rich in black raisins may lead to higher antioxidant levels in their bodies. The exciting part is that these antioxidants possibly had a positive impact on the rats’ spatial memory, cognitive function, and motor skills.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: How to Freeze Dry Food: Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Potential Uses of Raisins: 

Including raisins in a daily diet may provide favourable health benefits. The following may be the potential advantages of raisins: 

1. Potential uses of raisins for heart health 

Bad cholesterol may be a culprit for various heart diseases. Raisins are a good source of dietary fibre (fructans) and phytochemicals, which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Studies have found that the benefits of eating raisins with other foods might lower blood lipids (fats) and cholesterol levels in patients suffering from high cholesterol problems. Adding raisins to your diet might provide enough fibre and might reduce the risks of heart disease.1,2,4 However, more studies are needed to suggest the advantages of raisins for fighting heart problems. 

2. Potential uses of raisins for oral health 

Raisins contain antioxidants which might play an antibacterial role against oral bacteria. In addition, raisins may be low in sucrose concentration, limiting the formation of dental plaques. Hence, eating raisins may be beneficial for oral health. The phytochemicals present in raisins may act as antibacterial and may inhibit the growth of oral bacteria that causes dental diseases. 1 However, if you have dental problems visit a dentist and get a clean-up. 

3. Potential uses of raisins for blood pressure 

High blood pressure may cause hypertension. The benefits of eating raisins daily may provide enough potassium and dietary fibre, which may lower blood pressure. Furthermore, raisins may also contain polyphenols which might release nitric oxide and may act to control high blood pressure.1 However, more clinical studies are required to draw a firm conclusion about using raisins against blood pressure. Till then, take doctor’s consultations and do not use raisins to self-medicate. 

4. Potential uses of raisins for weight loss 

Losing weight is challenging and a fibre-rich diet may facilitate weight loss. Eating raisins may make you feel full and reduce hunger. The gut hormones might be altered, feeling satisfied and reducing energy intake. It might limit the absorption of fat and starch in the bowel. Thus, having raisins may lead to lesser absorption of complex carbohydrates, which might help in maintaining correct body weight and may aid weight loss.1,4  So, adding raisins to your weight loss meal might help you lose weight. However, more studies are required to support the true scope of raisins health benefits on humans. 

5. Potential uses of raisins for thyroid 

A high-fat diet may disturb the functions of the thyroid gland. An animal study (Ayuob et al., 2022) found that raisins may contain fibres, polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids, which may be powerful antioxidants. These nutrients might help modulate the levels of thyroid hormones. It may increase the production and action of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in the body.5 However, this animal study is insufficient; more human studies are required to support the uses of raisins for thyroid imbalance. If you have thyroid problems, consult a doctor, and do not self-medicate. 

6. Other Potential Uses of Raisins  

  • Raisins (Kishmish) might be a healthy snack for children. The raisins benefits may increase nutrient intake and enhance the quality of a diet.1 
  • Raisins may have a low glycaemic index (low response to blood glucose), showing a reduction in post-meal glucose levels. It may decrease the risk of developing insulin resistance related to type-2 diabetes.1,4  
  • Raisin fibres and tartaric acids might benefit the gut bacteria. It may enhance bowel functions; help splash out waste matter and reduce the risk of colon cancer.4 

Though studies show the potential uses of raisins in various conditions, these are insufficient, and there is a necessity for further studies to develop the true scope of benefits of raisins on human health. In addition, each person may respond differently to these herbs. Additionally, it is essential to consult a doctor before using raisins for any medical condition. 

I came across a fascinating study that revealed something truly amazing. Black raisins might just be a natural remedy against anaemia! In a study with rats, researchers found that providing anaemic rats with raisin extract potentially improved their blood count and made their red blood cells appear to be healthy and normal. So, if you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious way to boost your iron levels, adding black raisins to your diet might be a wise choice.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Raisins?  

Grapes were dried for storage and travel in prehistoric times. Since then, raisins have been produced as food. Raisins are cherished because of their sweet flavour and do not require refrigeration.2 You may use raisins as 

  • Raw dried fruit in a breakfast meal 
  • Healthy snack 
  • Sweet dish after a meal.1 

You should consult a qualified doctor before using raisins in large quantities. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing modern medical treatment with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation of raisins without consulting an ayurvedic physician. They will guide you with its form and dosage per your health condition. 

Side Effects of Raisins: 

Eating raisins (Kishmish) might be safe. However, a few reports suggest raisin allergies in small children. Raisin allergy is rare and uncommon.6 The raisins side effects might be observed as follows:  

  • Itching of the mouth 
  • Nausea within a few minutes of eating fresh raisins.6 

However, if any allergic reactions are encountered, you must immediately rush to the hospital and consult your doctors to get the proper treatment for your allergies. 

Precautions to Take with Raisins: 

Eating raisins in small quantities might be safe. However, a few precautions are necessary:  

  • Too much fibre in a diet may cause constipation, bloating and gas. Therefore, people must avoid excess eating fibre-rich raisins.4 
  • People must be cautious while giving raisins to small children and the elderly as their immunity is weak, and they might develop raisin allergies.6 
  • No major study reports the safe use of raisins during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, women at this phase should consult their doctors. 
  • People should not use raisins to self-medicate. It is important to take the advice of a doctor and eat it only if recommended. 

Also Read: Anjeer (Dried Fig): Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Interactions with Other Drugs:  

More research and scientific data are needed to state the potential interaction between raisins and other drugs. Therefore, one must take medical consultations with Ayurvedic doctors before using raisins in a regular diet.  

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are raisins? 

Raisins are traditional dried fruit. Raisins are produced from sun drying or dehydrating Vitis vinifera grapes variety. They are sweet-flavoured and consist of fibre, proteins and other phytochemicals which are beneficial for health.1,2 

What are the different varieties of raisins (Kishmish)? 

Different varieties of raisins include Dark raisins made from Thompson seedless grapes, Golden raisins made from Muscat grapes, Sultanas produced from seedless yellow grapes and Zante currants raisins from black Corinth grapes. Today around 95% of raisins are produced from dried “Thompson seedless” grapes.1,2 

Do raisins benefit oral health? 

Raisins contain antioxidants which may have antibacterial activity against oral bacteria. They also have a low concentration of sucrose which limit dental plaque formation. Hence, raisins may benefit oral health.1 However, in case of dental issues, take the doctor’s advice and do not self-medicate. 

Which are the essential vitamins of raisins? 

The essential vitamins in raisins include vitamins E, C, K, B9, B6, B3, B2 and B1.3 

Do raisins have disadvantages? 

A few disadvantages of eating raisins may include allergic side effects such as nausea and itching of the mouth within a few minutes of having raisins.6 

References:  

1. Olmo-Cunillera A, Escobar-Avello D, Pérez A, Marhuenda-Muñoz M, Lamuela-Raventós R, Vallverdú-Queralt A. Is Eating Raisins Healthy? Nutrients. 2020;12(54):1–17. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019280/pdf/nutrients-12-00054.pdf 

2. Williamson G, Carughi A. Polyphenol content and health benefits of raisins. Nutri Res. 2010;30(8):511–9. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0271531710001375 

3. FoodData Central. Raisins, golden, seedless [Internet]. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2019 [cited 2022 Oct 6]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168164/nutrients 

4. Bell S. A Review of Dietary Fiber and Health: Focus on Raisins. J of Med Food. 2011;14(9):877–83. Available from: https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jmf.2010.0215 

5. Ayuob N, Shaker S. Raisins preserve the function and structure of the thyroid gland. J of Micro and Ultras. 2022;10(2):55–62. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9272700/pdf/JMAU-10-55.pdf 

6. Chibuluzo S, Pitt T. Raisin allergy in an 8-year-old patient. Aller, Asth and Clini Immu. 2014;10((Suppl 2): A6):23–6. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4304147/pdf/1710-1492-10-S2-A6.pdf 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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