California Raisin Marketing Board
Raisins At Halloween Treat Kids To Healthy Teeth
To fill trick-or-treaters’ bags this Halloween, choose a naturally sweet and flavorful snack parents will appreciate – California Raisins. Kids don’t have to know that raisins contain certain phytochemicals that could help fight cavities and gum disease according to recent research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry.
“Regardless of their sweet properties, raisins contain oleanolic acid and other phytochemical compounds that inhibit growth of bacteria in the mouth and are responsible for tooth decay,” said Julie Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Nutrition at the College of St. Catherine and consultant to the California Raisin Marketing Board which funded the research. “These specific raisin phytochemicals also help stop the growth of oral bacteria that cause periodontal disease,” she noted further.
The study also noted that raisins contain mainly fructose and glucose, sugars that are less cavity producing than table sugar (sucrose). Dental research shows that foods with added sugar often contribute to oral health problems and that prevention of bacterial plaque build-up on the tooth surface is critical both for preventing tooth decay and promoting healthy gums. The new raisin and oral health research was presented earlier this year at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology by study leader Christine Wu, Ph.D.
“This is wonderful news,” said Karla Stockli, Vice President of Marketing for the California Raisin Marketing Board. “It’s common knowledge that caries can be prevented by reducing the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. The best way to do this is by daily brushing and flossing and professional dental cleanings twice a year. Food selection is also important. This study shows that certain foods such as California raisins make an ideal snack choice for oral health,” she concluded.
In addition to raisins’ specific dental health-contributing phytochemicals, raisins rank among the top overall antioxidant-containing foods, along with berries, dried plums, grapes, dark green leafy vegetables, beets and red bell peppers. The American Dietetic Association and other leading health authorities agree that regular consumption of antioxidant-containing fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains provide protection against heart disease and cancer and may retard effects of aging, including loss of memory.
The USDA’s MyPyramid for Kids highlights fruits, vegetables and whole grains combined with daily physical activity as paramount to kids’ health. A 1/4-cup (40 grams) of raisins counts as one serving of fruit. That is 1/2 of the recommended daily fruit consumption for a child. Packing raisins in a school lunch or grabbing them as an after-soccer snack or sprinkling them on cereal can be easy and may actually result in improved dental health for kids and parents.
The California Raisin Marketing Board was created by a State Marketing Order in 1998 and is 100 percent grower funded. Its mission is to support and promote the increased use of California-grown raisins and sponsor research of the fruit’s nutritional benefits. California’s San Joaquin Valley produces the highest quality raisins in the world. Nearly 4,500 raisin growers reside in this fertile valley 240 miles long and 50 miles wide. To learn more about the California Raisin Marketing Board, visit its website at www.calraisins.org.