athletic activity leads to oxidative stress, where the production
of free radicals, exceeds what the body can eliminate. Free radicals
tend to attack our cells and damage our DNA. Antioxidants quench
free radicals by reacting with them and, thereby, saving our cells.
Sun-dried raisins are an excellent source of antioxidants.
In this study, the effect of consuming sun-dried raisins during
a triathlon event on a compound found in the urine known to be an
indicator of DNA damage due to oxidative stress was investigated
The higher the concentration of this compound in the urine, the
greater the DNA damage.
Eight trained athletes, four men and four women, ages 28-42 years,
ran a triathlon twice, two weeks apart. The triathlon consisted
of a 1500 m swim, 40 Km bicycle ride, and a 10 Km run.
The athletes were randomly divided into two groups. Half the subjects
received a total of 170 g (about 6 oz) of sun-dried raisins prior
to the swim, at midpoint of the bike ride, and at midpoint of the
run. The other half received a glucose (sugar) drink of equivalent
energy (520 Kcal), at the same three points. During the second triathlon
the group who had taken sun-dried raisins switched to the sugar
drink, and vice versa.
At the end of the triathlon, six of the eight athletes (all the
women and two of the men) showed lower or no DNA damage after consuming
sun-dried raisins, compared to when they consumed the sugar drink.
This study suggests that foods rich in antioxidants, such as sun-dried
raisins, when used as a source of energy before and during intense
athletic activity, can protect the body from DNA damage due to oxidative
G, Schultz L, Spiller M, Ou B. Sun-dried raisins help prevent
oxidative DNA damage during intense athletic activity. J Am Coll
Nutr 21 (5): 482, 2002 (Abstract 64).