Indian Raisins

Raisins :

    You don't have to be a backpacker or hiker to appreciate raisins as a convenient, high energy low fat snack; they are easy to pack, easy to eat and almost never go bad. Like other dried fruits, raisins are available throughout the year.
    Raisins are made by dehydrating grapes in a process using the heat of the sun or a mechanical process of oven drying. Among the most popular types of raisins are Sultana, Malaga, Monukka, Zante Currant, Muscat and Thompson seedless. The size of small pebbles, raisins have wrinkled skins surrounding chewy flesh that tastes like a burst of sugary sweetness. While the colors of raisins vary, they are generally a deep brown color, oftentimes with hints of a purple hue. 
    Raisin varieties depend on the type of grape used. Seedless varieties include the "Thompson Seedless” and Flame. Raisins are typically sun-dried, but may also be "water-dipped," or dehydrated. "Golden raisins" are made from "Thompson Seedless" variety, treated with Sulfur dioxide (SO2), and flame dried to give them their characteristic color. 
    Several varieties of raisins are produced in Asia and in the west, but in India, Maharashtra is the major state for raisin production. Green raisins are also produced in Maharashtra. Raisins have a variety of colors (green, black, purple and yellow) and different sizes. The same process use for Mahafruit raisins making at our processing plant.

History of Raisin :

   It's probably safe to say that raisins were discovered by man the first time he found them accidentally dried out on the vine. But it took several hundreds of years before he determined which of the 8,000 varieties of grape genus would produce the best raisins.
     In 1490 B.C. - History books first note raisins were sun-dried grapes. Between 120 and 900 B.C. , the first vineyards were developed. Muscat raisins, which are over sized with seeds and full of flavor, were grown in southern Spain. Farmers of Greece grew tiny, seedless, tangy raisins called currants.
    11th century - Crusader knights first introduced raisins to Europe when they returned home from the Mediterranean. Packaging and shipping techniques were good enough to ship raisins throughout northern Europe.
  14th century - Raisins became an important part of European cuisine. Spaniards perfected viticulture, or grape growing. Roman physicians prescribed raisins to cure anything from mushroom poisoning to old age. Eventually, they became so valuable that two jars of raisins could be traded for one slave!

Health Benefits of Raisins/Kishmish:

    Raisins are irreplaceable as a healthy member of the dry fruits category. These golden, green or black delicacies are favorites of almost everyone, particularly children. They are widely used in cultural cooking around the world (especially in desserts), and are also added to health tonics, snacks and compact, high-energy food supplements for mountaineers, backpackers, and campers.

1. Constipation:

    When ingested, raisins swell because the fiber present in them has shrunk in a raisin’s dried form, but it will begin to swell due to the body’s natural fluids. This adds bulk to the food moving through the intestinal tract and ultimately helps provide relief from constipation. The type of fiber in raisins is considered insoluble fiber, because it takes in water and gains volume in that way. 

2. Weight Gain:
    Raisins, like all dried fruits, are very good tools for gaining weight in a healthy way, since they are full of fructose and glucose and contain a lot of potential energy. They form an ideal part of a diet for athletes or body builders who need powerful boosts of energy, or for those who want to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy amounts of cholesterol. 
3. Cancer Prevention:
   Raisins have high levels of catechist, which are polyphenolic antioxidants in the blood. Antioxidants scavenge the free radicals that float around the body and wreak havoc on the organ systems and cells.  Free radicals are one of the primary, underlying factors that lead to the spontaneous growth of cancer cells, as well as the substance that can spur on metastasis. Therefore, by including raisins in your diet and increasing the level of these powerful antioxidants in your system, you can prevent cancer from forming, or slow down its progress if you have already developed a number of forms of that deadly disease.
4. Hypertension:
     For many years, some people have believed that raisins have the power to reduce blood pressure and protect the integrity of heart health, but it was only recently that experts began intensive studies on these claims. The findings, although still not absolutely definitive on how raisins reduced blood pressure, did show a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and consumption of raisins. Many of the nutrients packed into raisins are beneficial, but experts believe that it is the high level of potassium that helps with this condition. Potassium is a well-researched way to reduce the tension of blood vessels and decrease blood pressure, and the dietary fiber in raisins is also thought to affect the biochemistry of blood vessels and reduce their stiffness, which in turn reduces hypertension.
5. Diabetes:
    In a number of studies, raisins have been shown to lower the postprandial insulin response, which means that after eating a meal, they can help the spikes or plunges in insulin levels that can be so dangerous to patients with diabetes. It modulates the sugar absorption by the body, making it more even and stable, reducing the chance of health complications or emergencies for those suffering from both major types of diabetes. They also help to regulate the release of leptin and ghrelin, which are the hormones responsible for telling the body when it is hungry or full. By keeping these hormones in check, people who eat raisins can improve their chances of maintaining a healthy diet and prevent overeating, which further improves chances of living comfortably with diabetes!
6. Anemia: 
    Raisins contain a considerable amount of iron which directly helps in the treatment of anemia. It also contains many members of the vitamin B complex that are essential for the formation of new blood. The high copper content in raisins also helps the formation of red blood cells.
7. Fever: 
    Phenolic Phytonutrients, well known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties, are abundantly present in raisins and can help cure fevers by fighting viral and bacterial infections.
8. Eye Care:
  Raisins contain polyphenolic phytonutrients which have antioxidant properties. These phytonutrients are very good for ocular health, as they protect eyes from the damage caused by free radicals (oxidants), in the form of muscular degeneration, age-related weakening of vision, and cataracts. In addition to their antioxidant qualities, raisins contain significant amounts of vitamin A, A-Beta Carotene and A-Carotenoid, all of which are essential for good ocular health.
9. Sexual Dysfunction: 
    Raisins have long been  known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal, primarily due to the presence of an amino acid called Arginine, which is beneficial in treating erectile dysfunctions. Arginine also increases the levels of sperm motility, which can increase the chances of conception when engaging in sexual intercourse.  It is a common practice in India to make the bride and the groom drink a glass of milk each, boiled with raisins and added with a pinch of saffron on their wedding night. It is also recommended for those suffering from issues of sexual endurance to consume raisins regularly, and whatever beneficial sexual effects you experience will be further aided by the immediate energy boost that raisins often provide.
10. Bone Health: 
    Calcium, which is the main element of our bones, is present in raisins, and these dried fruits are also one of the best sources of Boron, a micro-nutrient. For those of you who don’t know, a micro-nutrient is a nutrient required by the body in very small amount as compared to other nutrients that must be consumed daily in significant amounts. Boron is vital for proper bone formation and efficient absorption of calcium. Boron is particularly helpful in preventing osteoporosis induced by menopause in women and has been shown to be very beneficial for bones and joints. Potassium is another essential nutrient found in high levels in raisins which can help strengthen bones and promote bone growth, thereby reducing the chances of osteoporosis in all types of people.
11. Dental Care: 
    Oleanolic Acid, one of the phytochemicals present in raisins, plays a crucial role in protecting your teeth against tooth decay, cavities, and teeth brittleness. It effectively prevents the growth of Streptococcus Mutans and Porphyromonas Gingivalis, two of the bacterial species that are most responsible for cavities and other dental problems. In addition, it is rich in calcium which is good for promoting dental health, as it prevents breaking or peeling away of teeth and enamel while making them stronger. In addition its role in bone health and osteoporosis treatment, the boron present in raisins plays a very important role in curbing the growth of oral germs as well as in promoting strong teeth.
12. Other Benefits: 
    The fibers in raisins also help promote excretion of bile from the body, and it stimulates the burning of cholesterol, thereby promoting good cardiac health. Furthermore, the amount of fiber in them helps to literally sweep out the toxins and harmful materials in the digestive tract, which can protect people from additional intestinal diseases, and bacterial growth that is eliminated when the toxins are swept out.
Word of Caution: 
    All of that being said, there are a few risk factors in excessive consumption of raisins. Raisins are quite high in calories, which can increase weight gain quickly if you are not careful. You need to factor in extra caloric intake in your diet, regardless of the other benefits that small amounts of raisins can give you. Raisins also have high levels of triglycerides due to their high content of fructose (triglycerides are byproducts of the body metabolizing fructose). High levels of triglycerides can increase your chances of developing diabetes, coronary heart disease, and fatty liver cancer. If you have other risk factors, then be careful and don’t add too many raisins into your diet!