Which are more nutritious, grapes or raisins? Find out in this week’s Nutrition News as we cover the latest studies that arm us with information about our health.

The health benefits of raisins

You may think that raisins have the same nutritional profile as their undried counterparts, grapes, but raisins actually have a much denser calorie and nutrient composition.

A portion of raisins provides fibre and tartaric acid, which is thought to aid the digestive system and provide anti-inflammatory properties. They are also a great source of essential nutrients such as iron, potassium, copper, vitamin B6, manganese, and boron. Being rich in iron, raisins are a great option for supporting the body’s production of red blood cells and transporting oxygen around the body.

Some studies, as reported by The Times of India, also suggest raisins could play a role in supporting heart health by reducing blood pressure and blood sugar levels. They are also a great source of polyphenols, which are antioxidants thought to support eye health and skin health.

While raisins are a great source of nutrients and low in fat, it is important to consider their sugar content and not consume too many as they can be high in calories.

What to eat to support your immune system

As we head into the darker winter months and cold and flu season creeps up on us, this article by Huffington Post looks to point us in the direction of the nutrition that could support our immune system through these trying times.

While no one food can guarantee that you won’t catch a cold this winter, there are certain foods that are so packed with immune system supporting nutrients that they can lessen your risk. One such food is pumpkin. According to the article, pumpkin is a great source of vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which can support the immune system, with one cup of pumpkin providing as much as 200% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin A.

Also making the list for their vitamin C content are cauliflower, apples, Brussels sprouts, and pears. Turmeric has been hailed for its anti-inflammatory properties, as inflammation can weaken the immune response, whilst honey was suggested for its vitamin, mineral, amino acid and antioxidant content.

Cranberries are another great immune system supporting food as they contain antioxidants and anti-microbial properties.

These immune supporting foods, teamed with frequent exercise, are a great way to ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep healthy this winter.

Mushrooms could lower depression risk

Mushrooms are frequently touted as an underrated ‘superfood’ when it comes to our physical health but a recent study has suggested that they can also hold great value when it comes to supporting our mental health.

The study, as reported by Science Daily, was carried out by Penn State College of Medicine and involved collecting and analysing data from a pool of 24,000 adults in the US between the years of 2005 and 2016. The researchers observed a significant association between mushroom consumption and lower risk of depression. The study took into account socio-demographics, major risk factors, self-reported diseases, medications and other dietary factors.

The researchers believe that mushrooms’ cognitive health benefits lie in their ergothioneine content, which is an amino acid that cannot be synthesised by humans and could play a role in lessening oxidative stress and reducing depressive symptoms. They’re also a great source of potassium, which is thought to reduce feelings of anxiousness.

While the findings are interesting and worth exploring further, it is important to note that the study didn’t take into account different types of mushrooms so it is not understood whether the different types affect mental health in different ways.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.