Dried Fruits & Nuts

Health Benefits of Raisins
Raisins can be defined as grapes that have been dried and have a sweet taste, with a wrinkly texture. Often known as nature's candy, they are counted amongst the most nutritious dried fruits in the whole world. Raisins are cholesterol-free, low in sodium, high in fiber and totally fat-free. Apart from that, they contain a lot of vitamins and minerals, making their nutritional value very high. Raisins are the best source of quick energy, as they contain 70 percent pure fructose, which gets digested by the body easily and gives instant energy. There are a number of other health and nutrition benefits of eating raisins,
The health benefits of raisins include relief from constipation, acidosis, anemia, fever, Raisins also help in weight gain, eye care, dental care, and bone health.
Raisins are indispensable when it comes to dry fruits. Those golden, green or black colored delicacies are favorites of almost everybody, especially children. Raisins are widely used worldwide in cuisines (especially in desserts), health tonics, as snacks and also as food for mountaineers, trekkers etc.
Raisins are obtained from drying grapes (green or black), either in sun or in driers and look like golden, green or black gems. Indeed they are like gems when their nutritional values and health benefits are considered.
Raisins rank among the top antioxidant foods, according to USDA government tests. Early findings suggest that eating plenty of fruits high in antioxidants, such as raisins may help slow the processes associated with aging in both body and brain.

‘Black Monukka’
‘Black Monukka’ (Plate 6.6) was received by the USDA ca. 1910 from England, where it had been acquired from India. Its true origin is not known; its name is thought
to have originated from that of a Persian elongated grape, ‘Munaqqa,’ the name of which means “raisin.”It has never been important in California’s traditional
raisin markets due to its larger raisin size, darker color,and larger seed traces in comparison to ‘Thompson Seedless.’ It is mostly used in specialty markets such
as health food stores for its unique qualities, including blackish color, tender skin, and characteristic rich flavor. The 1997 California acreage report listed 359 acres
for ‘Black Monukka.’ Raisin production has averaged 751 tons annually in the 10 years from 1988 to 1997.It is sometimes used as a table grape for local markets, and its response to gibberellic acid is similar to that of ‘Thompson Seedless.’ Its susceptibility to berry shatter and its thin skin rule it out as a shipping table grape. It is popular for home garden use. The vine is vigorous and productive under either spur or cane pruning. Most vineyards are cane pruned for better yields. The berries are large (average 3
grams), long oval to cylindroidal, red to reddish black when fully ripe, thin-skinned, and with firm pulp; they typically contain one or two seed traces of 2 to 4 mg
dry weight. Clusters are very large, long, cylindrical, usually shouldered, well filled, and average 1.5 pounds (680 grams), with a range of 0.5 to 2.5 pounds (226
to 1,135 grams). The time of ripening is much influenced by the amount of crop; average crops will ripen a little ahead of ‘Thompson Seedless.’ Older plantings are known to carry leafroll-associated viruses, which reduce the red to black fruit color development, and result in highly variable (light to dark) grape and raisin color. New plantings should use only certified, virusfree propagating material.

Antioxidant Capacity and Phenolic Content of Grapes, Sun-Dried Raisins, and Golden Raisins and Their Effect on ex Vivo Serum Antioxidant Capacity

Grapes and raisins provide phenolic antioxidants, which contribute to their potential health benefits. The objectives of this study were to compare the antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of green Thompson seedless grapes (the most common variety of grapes consumed in the United States),sun-dried raisins, and golden raisins (both produced from Thompson seedless grapes) and to observe the effects of their consumption over 4 weeks in 15 healthy human males with a cross-over design.The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) (positive statistical significance for grapes after 2 weeks and golden raisins after 3 weeks), serum oxidation (positive statistical significance for golden raisin lag time after 4 weeks), total phenolics (no significant effects), and C-reactive protein (no significant effects) were monitored. Immediately postconsumption, there were some significant nonpositive changes. It is hypothesized that these negative results may be explained by postprandial oxidation, a known effect after carbohydrate consumption. Golden raisins had the highest antioxidant capacity and phenolic content. The consumption of a serving of grapes or raisins each day, in addition to a typical diet, may not be sufficient to overcome postprandial oxidation when consumed with other high carbohydrate foods but may have beneficial antioxidant effects over time.`