The Dried Fruit That Can Give You A Surprising Energy Boost

Prunes, figs, apricots, peaches, apples, cherries. It seems like you can find just about any fruit in dried form these days. Whether you like to use dried cranberries to spruce up your banana bread, prefer to blend dates into your morning smoothies, or maybe even just enjoy snacking on a bag of dried mangoes, the options are limitless.

But dried fruit can be more than just a sweet addition to a recipe or something tasty to nibble on. One type in particular can give you quite the quick and effective energy boost. While you may not immediately think to grab a handful of these bites for a natural jumpstart, they're actually one of the most common dried fruits out there: raisins.

It turns out that raisins — aka, dried grapes — are a great go-to for instant energy and improved athletic performance. One study in 2011 even pitted the dried fruit against a type of commercial sports jelly beans and found raisins to be just as effective in providing energy for endurance. But, you don't have to be a performance athlete to reap the incredible benefits.

How raisins give an energy boost

If fresh fruit is nature's candy, dried fruit takes it to a whole new level. With no water content to balance it out, dried fruit is a super concentrated version of its fresh counterpart, packing in a great deal of energy-producing sugar content — this is especially true of raisins. There are around 15 grams of sugar and 18 grams of carbohydrates in 100 grams of grapes, while the same amount of raisins contains a whopping 59 grams of sugar and 79 grams of carbohydrates.

So, how does this provide a perk-up? Sugar equals carbohydrates, and carbohydrates equal energy. When you consume carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into glucose, which is in turn used as an energy source, says Medline Plus. So raisins, as a high-sugar and high-carb food, will give your body energy — and since the type of sugar they're packed with is fructose, which your body digests very easily, they'll give you that energy very quickly. Not to mention, raisins are a great portable, high-energy snack that you can easily pack up and take with you on-the-go.

It's the same idea with another of nature's goodies: honey. With 17 grams of carbohydrates per tablespoon, the nectar is also recommended as a pre-workout snack to get an extra boost. Just be mindful of how much you consume when it comes to both raisins and honey, as the sugar and calories will add up fast.

You can reap other benefits from raisins

Natural energy isn't the only benefit raisins have to offer. It's true that they should be consumed sparingly (because of the whole sugar thing), but even a handful of raisins can be really good for you in a lot of different ways.

Because they lack any water, raisins are also potent in other nutrients, like fiber, which is known to help support digestion, possibly lower cholesterol, and maybe even aid weight loss, per Healthline. Aside from being a good source of fiber, raisins also contain beneficial vitamins, minerals, and nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and iron.

And, despite being so high in sugar, raisins actually have a fairly low glycemic index, which means that they usually won't spike your blood sugar or insulin levels after you eat them, Healthline adds. Perhaps one of the best benefits of all is that raisins are full of antioxidants — giving your body protection from cell damage and helping to possibly prevent diseases.