Sultanas are a food rich in benefits that can enrich many dishes. It can sweeten our desserts or give an extra touch to side dishes and main courses. Let’s find out its properties, calories, how to use it and where to find it.
Sultana is a variety of grape that is used to make dried grapes, which is why the terms sultanas and raisins are often used interchangeably.
Raisins, or raisins, are obtained from a dehydration process of sultanas, whereby the berries lose most of their water content. It is widely used in the preparation of sweets but also in savory dishes, especially in Middle Eastern countries, but also very widespread in our culinary tradition.
It is a food that has good beneficial properties and, as we will see later, its consumption brings various health benefits. Let’s now see what are the nutritional properties and calories of sultanas.
Sultanas: calories and nutritional properties
Raisins provide about 283 calories per 100 g, therefore it is a fairly caloric food but this does not mean that those who want to keep their weight under control should give it up, just limit their consumption.
It contains for the most part carbohydrates, in the form of simple sugars, almost absent fats, a small amount of protein, but a fair amount of fiber and above all a good amount of mineral salts, including iron, potassium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus. In fact, since grapes are dehydrated, they contain these important concentrated mineral salts. We also find a good amount of vitamins, and in particular vitamin E, a vitamin with strong antioxidant activity, and vitamins of group B, essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system and red blood cells.
Nutritional values per 100g of sultanas:
- Kcal: 283
- Carbohydrates: 72 g
- Proteins: 1.9 g
- Fat: 0.6 g
- Fibers: 5.2 g
- Waterfall: 17.1 g
- Iron: 3.3 mg
- Soccer: 78 mg
- Sodium: 52 mg
- Potassium: 864 mg
- Phosphorus: 29 mg
- Zinc: 0.10 mg
- Magnesium: 31 mg
- Copper: 0.35 mg
- Glycemic index: 65
- Vitamin E: 0.7 mg
- Vitamin B1: 0.08 mg
- Vitamin b2: 0.12 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.25 mg
Sultanas: the health benefits
As we know, grapes have countless beneficial properties for our health, and raisins concentrate all these benefits in themselves. Its properties are due for the most part to the fibers and mineral salts that raisins contain, as well as some vitamins and antioxidant compounds. Now let’s see in more detail the benefits that sultanas can offer to our health.
✓ Excellent for intestinal regularity
Thanks to the fibers present mainly in the peel, sultanas have laxative properties. In fact, the soluble fibers absorb water and facilitate intestinal transit, keeping the intestine healthy and active.
✓ Friend of bones and muscles
Among the properties of sultanas we also find benefits for bones and muscles. In fact, being rich in calcium, raisins contribute to the well-being of bones and muscles.
✓ Energizing for those who practice sports
Raisins constitute a good energy reserve for athletes thanks to the carbohydrates it contains, and potassium counteracts tiredness and muscle fatigue.
✓ Helps reduce blood cholesterol levels
With its antioxidants (polyphenols, catechins, resveratrol) sultanas are able to reduce the production of endogenous cholesterol thus carrying out a cholesterol-lowering action.
✓ Beneficial for the cardiovascular system
The potassium contained in raisins helps regulate blood pressure and iron helps prevent iron deficiency anemia and therefore keep our cardiovascular system healthy. In addition, antioxidants protect the integrity of blood vessels.
✓ Important source of antioxidants
Sultanas have antioxidant properties thanks to the presence of polyphenols, catechins and resveratrol, essential substances for the health of our organism, because they preserve cells from damage by free radicals. In addition to the antioxidant action they also have anti- inflammatory action, so they have a preventive action against all inflammatory pathologies.
✓ Ally of our mouth
Thanks to oleanolic acid, a molecule with an anti-inflammatory action, sultanas protects the teeth and gums and thanks to its antimicrobial properties, helps to counteract the onset of caries. It is also able to lower the pH of the oral mucosa by counteracting bacterial proliferation, responsible for caries.
Sultanas: how much to eat and how to use them in the kitchen
As mentioned, due to its high sugar content, sultanas are not a “dietetic” food, but in the right quantities it can also be included in a low-calorie diet.
The daily amount of sultanas recommended for a healthy and normal weight person is about 30 grams per day, therefore those who have to lose weight can take advantage of the 30 grams, but occasionally!
We can use this amount of raisins for breakfast, together with oat flakes or whole grains, so that it gives us a boost of energy just when we “charge” to start our days, or use it to bake some sweets greedy, such as a rich apple pie or plum cake, or even to make savory dishes with an extra touch, such as savory vegetable pies or even meat dishes.
In this case it is advisable to soak the raisins before using them in our recipes, in order to soften them by rehydrating them, simply by putting them in warm water for 1 or 2 hours, or even in grape or orange juice, especially if we use to make sweets. Then just drain it and dab it lightly with a towel. Appropriately chopped, it can also be used instead of sugar in the preparation of desserts.
What is a portion of raisins?
A portion of raisins corresponds to about 30 grams and contains about 85 kcal, so you can consume a portion a day with peace of mind, if included in a balanced diet. Containing mostly sugars, it would be good to associate it with protein foods, such as a white yogurt or a milk-based smoothie, even vegetable.
Contraindications of sultanas
Raisins have no particular contraindications if taken in the right quantities. If taken in large quantities it can have a strong laxative effect and cause abdominal pain.
Although some studies suggest that raisins can help in case of diabetes, since it has a medium-high glycemic index (equal to 65), it would be better not to consume it regularly in case of impaired glucose tolerance, but only occasionally. and in small quantities. Even those suffering from kidney problems should limit its use due to the high amount of mineral salts.
Sultanas: prices and purchase
Sultana grapes can be purchased anywhere, in supermarkets or in organic food stores, it would be better to prefer organic ones since the grapes also keep the peel. Furthermore, it can be purchased online and the prices vary, from 10 to 15 USD per kg approximately.
Alternatively, we can do it at home with a little patience. We will have to buy suitable grapes, which are usually sultana grapes, or that of Corinth, or Moscato, small and seedless, wash it, let it dry well and spread the bunches, or rather, the single berries, on a tray in a dry and warm place for a few weeks. If we have the opportunity to expose it to the sun, it will be ready in less time (even in just 2 or 3 days, if the weather is hot and dry). When the grapes have dried, just keep them in a glass jar or in a paper bag for food. In this way we will have the taste of summer even in winter!