Sultanas, like raisins, feature hugely in the Mincemeat recipes as well as the Goodie Two-Shoes Extraordinaire Fruit and Christmas Cakes. They are packed full of goodness and delicious to-boot! They come under the “sweet” category of foods and are therefore great for bringing the spleen and stomach into balance.
Sultanas share the same health benefits of raisins. Here they are:-
Constipation relief – Sultanas have high levels of in-soluble fibre because they take in water and gain volume that way. As such, they swell due to the body’s natural fluids. This then adds bulk to the food moving through our intestinal tract and thus ultimately aids relief from constipation. Fabulously, they can also stop the opposite to constipation; loose stools, again by absorbing the liquid of loose stools and thus reducing the frequency and unpredictability of diarrhoea
Healthy Weight Gain – Due to the fact that sultanas are full of fructose and glucose and contain lots of potential energy, they form an ideal part of a diet for athletes or body-builders who need powerful boosts of energy or for people who need to put on weight without accumulating unhealthy levels of cholesterol
High Levels of Vitamins and Minerals – They are also a healthy addition to any diet due to the many vitamins, amino acids and minerals present, such as selenium and phosphorus, which help our bodies to absorb other nutrients. This, in turn, improves our energy and immune system
Potential Cancer Prevention – There are high levels of special polyphenolic antioxidants called catechins in sultanas. These are found in our blood and, like all antioxidants, they track down and eradicate free radical (abnormal) cells in our bodies, which are responsible for the development of heart disease; diabetes and cancers to name but a few conditions
Hypertension -Scientific studies into the efficacy of sultanas for reducing blood pressure and improving overall heart health has concluded that – although they are still not fully aware of how sultanas reduce blood pressure, the results showed that they do! The results showed a positive correlation between reduced hypertension and the consumption of sultanas. The scientists believe that it may well be the high level of potassium in sultanas that help them to counter this deadly condition. There is substantial research to show that potassium reduces the tension of blood vessels and decreases blood pressure. It is also believed that the dietary fibre in sultanas also affects the biochemistry of blood vessels and reduces their stiffness, which also reduces hypertension
Diabetes – there have been a number of studies where sultanas have lowered the “postprandial insulin response”. This means that after eating a meal, sultanas can help to reduce the spikes or plunges in insulin levels in people suffering from diabetes, which can be so dangerous to them. Sultanasmodulate the sugar absorption by the body, making it more even and stable, thus reducing the chances of health complications or emergencies for those suffering from both major types of diabetes. Sultanas also help regulate the release of leptin and ghrelin. These are the hormones responsible for telling the body when it is hungry or full. As a result of keeping these hormones in check, people who eat sultanas can improve their chances of maintaining a healthy diet and prevent overeating, which further improves chances of living comfortably with diabetes
Anaemia – Sultanas are full of large amounts of iron. This directly helps to counter anaemia. It also contains many of the B Complex family of vitamins, which are essential for the formation of new blood. Also, the high content of copper in sultanas also helps with the formation of new red blood cells; vital to counter anaemia
Fever – There are abundant levels of special phenolic phytonutrients in sultanas. These are known for their germicidal, antibiotic and antioxidant properties and can help to cure fevers by ridding the body of viruses and bacteria
Eye Care – Polyphenolic phytonutrients, which have powerful antioxidant properties are present in sultanas. These phytonutrients are exceptionally good for eye health as they protect them from damage caused by free radical (oxidant) cells, which can cause macular degeneration; age-related weakening of vision and cataracts. Sultanas also contain high levels of Vitamin A; A-Betal Carotene and A-Carotenoid, all of which are good for eye health
Acidosis – this is a state of increased acidity of the blood or of the gases in our respiratory system. The source for both of these conditions stems from the stomach. This increased acidity can be really harmful for our bodies leading to health problems such as boils; skin disease; damage to internal organs; arthritis; gout; renal calculi; hair loss; heart diseases; tumours and even cancer. Two minerals, which are present in high quantities in sultanas are potassium and magnesium, which are two of the most common components of antacids, due to their alkaline bases on the pH scale. They are both very effective in neutralizing acids and thus helping to check acidosis and other related conditions
Sexual Dysfunction – There is an amino acid in sultanas called Arginine. These are known to stimulate the libido and induce arousal. Arginine also increases the level of sperm motility, which can increase the chances of conception
Healthy Bones – Calcium, the main element in our bones, is present in sultanas. They are also one of the best sources of Boron, which is a micro-nutrient. A micro-nutrient is a nutrient required by the body, though in very small doses compared to other nutrients needed in much higher levels on a daily basis. Boron, though, is vitally important for the proper formation of bones and for efficient absorption of calcium in our body. It is particularly important for preventing osteoporosis induced by menopause in women. It has been shown to be very beneficial for our bones and joints. Potassium, also found in high levels in sultanas, is also another essential nutrient, which can help to strengthen our bones as well as promoting bone growth, thus reducing the chances of osteoporosis in everyone
Dental Care – There is a particular phytochemical present in sultanas called Oleanolic Acid, which plays a crucial role in protecting our teeth from tooth decay; cavities and brittle teeth. It prevents the growth of two particular bacteria, which are responsible for cavities and other dental problems. These bacteria are called Streptococcus Mutans and Porphyromonas Gingivalis. Sultanas are also rich in calcium, which promotes good dental health by preventing the breaking or peeling away of teeth and enamel while making them stronger. Apparently, when eating sultanas it is good to allow them to stick to your teeth for as long as possible! The reason for this is that it ensures an extended contact with Oleanolic Acid, which increases their preventative powers against bacterial growth. In addition to this, the high presence of boron in sultanas also helps to curb the growth of oral germs, whilst promoting strong teeth.