Raisin Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Raisins, annotation

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

Raisins are one of the most familiar, popular, and commonly eaten dried fruits. Like all dried fruit, they're higher in sugar than whole fruit—when compared by volume. It doesn't take many raisins for the sugar to add up fast. However, raisins provide fiber, as well as other health benefits. They are an inexpensive and shelf-stable way to include fruit in your diet.

Raisin Nutrition Facts

The USDA provides the following nutrition information for 1/2 ounce (14g) of dark, seedless raisins. A half-ounce is the equivalent of one miniature box.

  • Calories: 42
  • Fat: 0g
  • Sodium: 3.6mg
  • Carbohydrates: 11g
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Sugars: 9.1g
  • Protein: 0.5g

Carbs

Raisins have 11 grams of carbs per half-ounce (14g), compared to fresh American-type grapes, which have about 2.5 carbs in a similar serving size of 6 grapes (14.4g). Grapes, depending on the variety, have fewer calories than raisins, but also less fiber. The carb, calorie, and fiber counts in golden raisins are similar to dark raisins. Raisins with seeds provide more fiber, with similar amounts of carbs and calories.

While raisins are high in carbohydrates, their sugar is mostly fructose, which has a lower glycemic index. The glycemic index is a ranking of how much a food would raise your blood sugar compared with pure glucose, which has a ranking of 100. The actual amount any food raises your blood sugar has to do with how glycemic it is, how much of it you eat, and what else you eat with it. The glycemic load attempts to combine these concepts, and some diets use the glycemic load for this reason.

Depending on where you look, the glycemic index of raisins is in the low to moderate range. Keep in mind that glycemic index is a complex topic and individuals can have varying responses to foods. Eating too many raisins can result in a large blood sugar rise in people with diabetes because raisins have a significant amount of carbohydrates per serving.

Fats

Raisins have a negligible amount of unsaturated fat.

Protein

With just under 1 gram of protein per 1-ounce serving, raisins are not a good source of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

An ounce of raisins provides 4% of your daily needs for potassium. Raisins also contain iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, magnesium, and calcium.

Health Benefits

Although grapes lose some of their nutrients during the drying process, raisins are still a good source of antioxidant chemicals, including polyphenols and phenolic acids, as well as fiber.

Associated With Better Overall Diet

A study of data from the 2001-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that those who consumed raisins had a higher quality diet overall. They ate more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains than those who didn't eat raisins. The raisin eaters also had lower body weight, lower body mass index (BMI), a lower waist circumference, and were 39% less likely to be obese or overweight and had 54% less risk of metabolic syndrome than those who didn't eat raisins.

Lowers Heart Disease Risk

Eating raisins has also been shown to potentially lower your risk for heart disease.

Supports Gut Microbiome

The dietary fiber found in raisins is both soluble and insoluble, and includes prebiotics, such as inulin. These prebiotics help support the growth of "good" bacteria in the gut, which can help lower cholesterol, improve metabolism, and immune system function.

Provides Quick Energy

Endurance athletes need fuel in the form of carbohydrates during long training sessions and races. Many turn to sports chews and gels, but raisins can work just as well. One small study showed they were as effective as special sports jelly beans in improving athletic performance during moderate to high-intensity exercise.

Improves Dental Health

Some of the nutrients in raisins, including oleanolic acid, linoleic acid, and linolenic acid, have antimicrobial properties that can fight the bacteria that cause dental problems, such as cavities and gum disease.

Allergies

Allergy to both raisins and grapes is very rare, but occasional cases have been reported in the medical literature.

Adverse Effects

Because raisins are rich in fiber, they can cause digestive discomfort in people who are sensitive to fiber (or who aren't used to eating large amounts of it). Raisins are also a choking hazard for kids under 4 years.

Varieties

Typically, you'll find dark, seedless raisins for sale. These are made from seedless red or purple grapes. You can also buy golden raisins, also called sultanas. Occasionally you may also find seeded raisins, which do have more fiber than seedless varieties.

Currants are often sold dried and can look like small raisins, but they are made from a different fruit. Craisins are branded, dried cranberries that usually have added sweeteners; they are not made from grapes and aren't the same as raisins.

Storage and Food Safety

Like other dried fruits, raisins are shelf-stable, which makes them easier to store and transport than some other fresh fruits that require refrigeration. You can keep them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for about a month. After that, they will last longer if stored in the refrigerator.

How to Prepare

Raisins are common in baked goods, cereals, and trail mixes. You can also use them to top a salad or to add a touch of sweetness and texture to savory dishes, like rice pilafs and other grain-based preparations. Look for unsweetened raisins to reduce the sugar content in your dishes.

Recipes

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Article Sources
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