The United States Department of Agriculture recommends adults get 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit per day and raisins are an inexpensive, easy and portable food that can help you meet that requirement. Raisins are dried grapes and both provide you with the same nutrients, but the nutrients in raisins are more concentrated. This is a good thing when it comes to vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but a not-so-good thing when it comes to sugar. Top your cereal with raisins or use them as a pick-me-up snack, but don't overdo it.
One small box of raisins contains 129 calories, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 1.3 grams of protein and essentially no fat. They also provide 1.6 grams of fiber and 25.5 grams of sugar. Fiber is beneficial because it helps prevent chronic disease, reduces your risk of obesity, and it helps prevent gastrointestinal disorders. The sugar in raisins provides you with a quick burst of energy, but stick to one serving size so you don't consume too much sugar.
One small box of raisins contains 0.81 milligrams of iron, which is 5 percent the recommended dietary allowance for women under age 50 and 10 percent of the RDA for men. This serving of raisins also provides 322 milligrams of potassium, which is 14.5 percent of the RDA. iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Iron is a part of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout your body. Raisins also contain calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, which help build and maintain strong and healthy bones.
Raisins contain small amounts of several B vitamins. B vitamins convert food into fuel to give you energy. They also keep your nervous system in working order and help you maintain a healthy liver, skin, hair and eyes. One small box of raisins contains about 4 percent of the RDA for vitamin B-1, 4 to 5 percent of the RDA for vitamin B-2 for and 6 percent of the RDA for vitamin B-6 for adults 19 to 50 years. You also get trace amounts of folate, vitamin C and vitamin K from this fruit.
Grabbing a handful of raisins can help protect you from diseases caused by free radicals. Raisins, especially golden raisins, contain antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your body from the negative effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules your body makes in response to everyday metabolism and exposure to toxins, such as cigarette smoke. They can damage your cells and contribute to diseases, such as heart disease and cancer.
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Fruit is Needed Daily?
- FITDAY.com: Raisins vs. Grapes: Which is Healthier?
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Basic Report: 09298, Raisins, Seedless
- Nutrition Reviews: Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Iron and Iron Deficiency
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin B-1 (Thiamine)
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: Antioxidant Capacity and Phenolic Content of Grapes, Sun-Dried Raisins, and Golden Raisins and Their Effect on Ex Vivo Serum Antioxidant Capacity
- Medline Plus: Antioxidants