With chewy texture and satisfying sweetness, raisins and cranberries make for satisfying snacks served on their own, and they are also welcome additions to salads. They count toward your daily fruit intake, with each half-cup of dried fruit providing two-thirds of the daily recommended fruit intake for women and half of the fruit intake for men, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines. Choose raisins over dried cranberries for optimal health benefits. While they contain slightly more calories per serving, they serve as a better source of essential vitamins and nutrients than cranberries.
General Nutrition Information
Cranberries and raisins contribute to your daily energy intake. A half-cup serving of dried cranberries has 187 calories, which is 9 percent of your daily calorie intake, based on a 2,000-calorie diet. An equivalent serving of raisins has 217 calories. For both, most of the calories come from the carbohydrate content of the fruit. Carbs play an important role in your health, because they serve as the major source of fuel for your body, and the only source of fuel for your brain. Raisins, but not dried cranberries, also contain a small amount of protein -- 2.3 grams per half-cup serving. This protein helps maintain your immune system and aids in tissue repair.
Raisins and cranberries provide you with dietary fiber. Dried cranberries offer 3.5 grams of dietary fiber per half-cup serving, which is 9 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and 14 percent for women, according to the Institute of Medicine. An equivalent serving of raisins contains 2.7 grams of fiber. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber doesn't break down into energy or contribute to the calorie content of your food, but it helps fill you up to stave off hunger between meals. It also helps prevent chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease; helps your body better control blood sugar levels; and prevents constipation.
Cranberries and raisins contain manganese, an essential mineral that plays a role in enzyme activation. Manganese supports the function of enzymes needed to support your metabolism, maintain nervous system health and aid in bone development. It also activates manganese superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant that protects your tissues from toxic chemicals produced as a natural side effect of your metabolism. A half-cup serving of raisins or dried cranberries contains 0.2 milligrams of manganese, providing 11 percent of the recommended daily intake for women and 9 percent for men, according to guidelines set by the Institute of Medicine.
Other Benefits of Raisins
Raisins, but not cranberries, boost your intake of other essential minerals. Each serving of raisins provides 12 percent of your daily recommended potassium intake, as well as 18 percent of the daily recommended iron intake for men and 8 percent for women, according to guidelines from the Institute of Medicine. The potassium in raisins helps your nerves communicate properly and supports healthy heart function, while iron plays a role in providing your tissues with fresh oxygen.
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Cranberries, Dried, Sweetened
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Raisins, Seedless
- McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Potassium
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Iron
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Manganese
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: What Counts as a Cup of Fruit?
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.