Want to satisfy your sweet tooth—without spiking blood sugar? Then rediscover raisins! A review article recently published in the Journal of Food Science linked raisins to lower risk for developing diabetes and heart disease.

Raisins have what nutritionists refer to as a low to moderate Glycemic Index: Although raisins are rich in natural fruit sugars, they will not produce a rapid rise (and subsequent crash) in blood sugar levels, which is of particular benefit to diabetics. Raisins may also protect the cardiovascular system by reducing blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. One clinical study showed that eating raisins for 12 weeks reduced blood pressure significantly among men and women with mild hypertension.

A study in the journal Metabolism found that eating a cup of raisins a day for six weeks yielded a 38% increase in levels of leptin, a hormone which suppresses appetite and triggers thermogenesis, the conversion of calories to body heat. Another bonus: USDA researchers found that gram for gram, raisins have the second highest polyphenol ranking out of 20 common fruits or vegetables – besting blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.

Rally around raisins’ health food resurgence by snacking out of the box, or try our Roasted Cauliflower with Curry and Raisins.

Published August 1, 2013