Steps to Heart Health: Eating Raisins, Walking

Research confirms cholesterol-lowering benefits of simple lifestyle change.

Published on: Mar 13, 2009

Eating raisins and walking may reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease in 50 to 70 year-old men and postmenopausal women, reports the Journal Metabolism.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that walking and daily consumption of raisins (1 cup) decreased low density lipoprotein cholesterol, so-called "bad cholesterol," levels in the blood stream.

"Our research indicates that easily implemented lifestyle changes such as increasing raisin consumption or walking additional steps each day may help decrease risk for heart disease by increasing the clearance of LDL cholesterol from the blood stream," explains Maria Luz Fernandez, Ph.D., Professor for the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut and researcher for this study. The research was funded by the California Raisin Marketing Board, Fresno.
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These new findings add to the researchers' previously published data in Lipids in Health and Disease, which determined that in addition to lowering LDL cholesterol levels, raisin consumption and walking reduced markers of inflammation associated with cardiovascular disease.

Both the American Heart Association and the Food and Drug Administration emphasize the role of fruit and vegetable consumption in supporting heart health. The Produce for Better Health Foundation notes that 90% of Americans fail to consume the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Both fat- and cholesterol-free, raisins deliver important heart health components, such as fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Just 1/4-cup of raisins counts as a serving of fruit for adults.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut found that walking and daily consumption of raisins decreased so-called "bad cholesterol," levels in the blood stream.

"This study builds upon previous research demonstrating raisins' cholesterol-lowering and heart health benefits due to their fiber and antioxidant content. California Raisins are one of the most economical, convenient and versatile fruit choices consumers can make," says Dr. Julie Miller Jones, Ph.D., L.N., C.N.S., national scientific advisor to the California Raisin Marketing Board.