Snacking on raisins a few times a day may help lower your blood pressure if you have pre-hypertension, a condition affecting one of every three Americans. Prehypertension is defined as having systolic pressure (the top number) from 120 to 139 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or a diastolic (lower number) pressure from 80 to 89 mm Hg.
For a study reported at the annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology in March 2012 researchers randomly assigned 46 men and women with prehypertension to snack of raisins or non-fruit snacks (including cookies and crackers that had the same caloric value as raisins) three times a day for 12 weeks. Results showed reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure among the participants who snacked on the raisins but no significant change in the blood pressure of those who ate the other snacks.
Raisins are high in potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure. They also provide dietary fiber that may be helpful, the lead researcher noted, adding that more studies are needed to confirm these findings.