200913 Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part two – Raisins

Healthy ideas that may be worth considering for a healthier life-part two – Raisins

Scientific research never ceases and constant investigations into what makes us healthy are no exception. Some of the recent research and subsequent reports result from observational studies. These observational studies were not designed to prove a cause and effect. Nonetheless, they still may point the way towards improving your health by decreasing your disease risk.

Some of these findings may already be common knowledge to you, whereas others may be a surprise. In any case, all of them may be worthwhile paying attention to in the future.

In the majority of the world’s advanced nations, many avoidable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity could be prevented or at least decreased in number if their citizens would simply follow a healthier lifestyle. Getting 30 minutes of exercise per day and eating nutritious foods would go a long way towards easing the healthcare costs and improving the lives of uncounted millions of people.

The effects of eating raisins on your blood pressure

Take for example the simple and tasty raisin; in ¼ cup (41 g) of seedless uncooked raisins, there are 120 calories, 0 fat and 0 cholesterol from any source, and only 5 mg of sodium. Additionally, each ¼ cup contains 18 g of high quality carbohydrates, (10% of the daily requirement), 2 g dietary fiber (6% of the daily requirement), and 1 g of protein. The potential downside to these healthy numbers is the fact that in this small amount of raisins you will also find 24 g of sugar. These percentages are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Now that we know about the amount of raisins we are talking about, let us get back to what the researchers found in their clinical trial testing of the effects of eating raisins. They were looking at the effects on the blood pressure of those with prehypertension who ate a handful of raisins three times a day. This study, presented at an American College of Cardiology conference, showed that eating such a small amount of raisins each day “sharply reduced their blood pressure.”

The study compared snacking on cookies or crackers with raisins amongst forty-six participants, each with slightly elevated blood pressure. The individuals in the study had blood pressure levels between 120/80 up to 139/89 mmHg.

The results indicated that over the 12 weeks of the study those eating the raisins lowered their systolic (1) blood pressure , the top number, by as much as 10.2 mmHg. This would lead one to believe that in a number of cases, participants in the study would then have had normal blood pressure readings because the drop of 10.2 mmHg would have put them below the prehypertension numbers of 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 m.

The research group from the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center commented that raisins have a high potassium content approximately 212 mg in only 60 raisins. Potassium is noted for its ability to lower blood pressure.

Another contributing factor for raisins ability to lower blood pressure is the amount of dietary fiber, which in this case is one gram for 60 raisins along with their antioxidants. If you are concerned about the calorie content, consider this, 60 raisins or approximately an ounce contain about 85 calories.

(1) Systolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart beats