Raisins nutritional value

Proper nutrition plays a key role during childhood as it helps both the physical and mental development of kids and at the same time encourages them in adopting healthy eating habits. It also contributes to good health and wellness and it is extremely important in preventing obesity and chronic diseases.
 
Nutritional education is an issue that every parent should concern, as eating choices in early and middle childhood is crucial for the subsequent eating behavior of a person. It is also an issue for scientific community for the reason that childhood obesity and overweight rates in recent years have increased dramatically.
 
Particularly important is that children’s nutrition has to be based on a great variety of foods, in order to meet their high nutrient and energy needs. And their energy requirements are high, due to their rapid growth and their vigorous physical activity. Therefore, it is perceptible that no food should be excluded from child nutrition.
 

 

To sum up, a good and balanced diet is characterized by the consumption of:

 

  • To sum up, a good and balanced diet is characterized by the consumption of:
  • proper serving sizes and food portion control,
  • enough carbohydrates (approximately 50 – 60 % of daily energy intake),
  • at least 5  servings of fruits and vegetables in a day,
  • low fat milk,
  • healthy snacks,
  • less sugary beverages and
  • limited amounts of sodium, sugar and saturated fat

 

Raisins are considered to be of the finest and healthiest foods, containing highly beneficial ingredients and eating them in proper serving sizes can be an easy and excellent daily snack. They are the dried form of grapes and belong to the food group of fruits. They are rich in fiber, carbohydrates, antioxidants and several micronutrients, all precious for life. 

 

Raisins contain simple sugars, such as fructose and glucose, which are a direct energy source for the human body and a very valuable “fuel” of our brain. Finally, they have a small amount of protein and nearly no fat of cholesterol. Dietary fiber is essential for normal bowel function and increase satiety. It is also important during the sensitive age of childhood, when kids learn to eat fruits and vegetables at the daily recommended serving sizes. Moreover, it is proved by scientists that children, who consume proper amounts of fiber tend to face significantly lower risk for cardiovascular and other chronic diseases later in adulthood. Fiber in raisins ease bowel function by combating constipation, help in lowering cholesterol and reduce risk of rectal cancer.

 

Raisins are rich in iron, potassium, selenium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, while containing vitamins A and C, as well as vitamin B complex. Iron helps in preventing and treating iron – deficiency anemia and potassium is a metal, that regulates sodium levels in human body, thereby reducing symptoms of fluid retentions and keeping blood pressure levels normal.

 

The B vitamins are necessary to several functions of our body, such as metabolism, energy production and red blood cells production and they help improve our memory, concentration and spirit. Vitamin A is crucial for vision, growth and reproduction and still serves multiple functions of human body. Antioxidants contained in raisins strengthen the immune system and protect cells from degeneration caused by the physical oxidation process.
It is notable that raisins contain antibacterial and antimicrobial substances that fight mouth bacteria, which are responsible for dental caries and gingivitis. These substances have the ability to suppress the growth of oral bacteria, fight dental plaque formation and prevent from food adhesion to teeth and gums.
This contrasts with common perception that raisins are harmful to oral hygiene, because they are sweet and they stick on teeth, but science proves otherwise. It is known that sugar is responsible for acidification and formation of dental plaque, but raisins contain mainly glucose and fructose, which do not contribute to dental plaque composition.
 

RAISINS IN MEDITERRANEAN DIET

 

Raisins are eminently produced in the Mediterranean Region and to a great extent in Greece. This makes them an integral part of Mediterranean Diet Pyramid, which suggests that receiving 3 – 5 fruit servings a day is ideal. A raisins serving equals an amount of 2 tablespoons of them or an amount of 18 grammars.
Raisins can be eaten as they are or even cooked in various recipes. They are very soft because of the high concentration of sugars and when stored for a long period of time, sugars crystallize inside the fruit. This makes them harder, but does not affect them by being delicious and edible.

 

Consequently, it is clear that raisin consumption can be rather beneficial for kids, as well as for adults. It is a healthy snack, which can fill us up with energy and particularly an ideal snack choice for kids at school or at the rest of their extracurricular activities. Sugars, nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and fiber make raisins a really perfect food by nutritional aspect.
 
CHRISTINA SIAKANTARI
NUTRITIONIST-DIETICIAN
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