Raisins are dried grapes consumed worldwide that contain beneficial components for human health. They are rich in fiber and phytochemicals such as phenolic compounds. Despite a 60% sugar content, several studies have reported health-promoting properties for raisins and this review compiles the intervention studies, as well as the cell line and animal model studies carried out to date. It has been demonstrated that raisins possess a low-to-moderate glycemic index, which makes them a healthy snack. They seem to contribute to a better diet quality and may reduce appetite. Their antioxidant capacity has been correlated to the phenolic content and this may be involved in the improvement of cardiovascular health. In addition, raisins maintain a good oral health due to their antibacterial activity, low adherence to teeth and an optimum oral pH. Raisin consumption also seems to be favorable for colon function, although more studies should be done to conclude this benefit. Moreover, gut microbiota could be affected by the prebiotic content of raisins. Cell line and animal model studies show other potential benefits in specific diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. However, deeper research is required and future intervention studies with humans are needed. Overall, incorporating an 80–90 g portion of raisins (half a cup) into the daily diet may be favorable for human health.
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