What are raisins? Raisins are a type of dried fruit. They are actually grapes that have been dried in the sun or dehydrated. Despite their small size, raisins are very healthy and nutritious. They are packed with energy as they are naturally sweet and high in sugar and calories, and essential nutrients. What are the health benefits of raisins? Raisins are a very healthy snack. But they should be eaten in moderation, as they are high in sugar. Half of a cup of raisins contains about 47 grams of sugar and 217 calories. Raisins are rich in dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. They are a good source of iron and calcium. Calcium helps prevent the development of osteoporosis and keep your bones and teeth strong. Half of a cup of raisins contains 1.3 milligrams of iron. Iron is vital for making red blood cells and helping them carry oxygen to your body's cells. Fibre can also help to lower bad cholesterol levels. Raisins also contain boron. Boron works with vitamin D and calcium to keep your bones and joints healthy. Raisins are an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help remove free radicals from your blood and may prevent damage to your cells, keeping you at lower risk of some diseases like stroke, heart disease and cancer. Can raisins help digestion? Raisins can help digestion and relieve constipation. These dried fruits are rich in dietary fibre, which helps digestion by softening and increasing the weight and size of your stool, making it easier to pass. Fibre also makes you feel full for longer because it slows down the emptying of your stomach. It may help those trying to lose weight. How can you incorporate raisins into your diet? Raisins can be used like any other dried fruit. You can add them to sweet dishes in desserts and baked goods such as bread, cookies, muffins and cakes. They are also an ingredient often used in winter and Christmas recipes, especially in dishes with warming spices. Raisins are great as topping for salads, as well as many breakfast dishes such as oatmeal, granola, cereals and yoghurt. Raisins are an excellent natural snack for athletes as an alternative to expensive sports snacks. They offer a quick source of carbohydrates and can help improve performance in high-intensity endurance exercises. Where can you buy raisins? You will find raisins in the regular grocery stores however they will most likely have just one type of conventional raisins in stock. Look for raisins in online wholefood stores. There, you will find organic raisins and raisins varieties, like sultanas, lexia raisins etc. Also, in online stores you will be able to buy raisins in bulk and save money.