Looks like some researchers in Louisville, Kentucky were looking at the effects of eating either raisins, or cookies and crackers, what they called "snacks" on participants' blood pressure. Turns out if you eat the same amount of calories from raisins as you do from cookies and crackers three times a day and you are at risk for high blood pressure, you may actually lower your blood pressure. The lowering effect was anywhere from 4 to 8 mmHg for the systolic blood pressure, and a reduction between 2 to 6 mmHg for diastolic blood pressure, meaning that if your normal blood pressure was 133 over 82, like these study participants, the end result of eating raisins 3 times a day for a minimum of 4 weeks are a blood pressure of about 128 over 78. Still higher than what's considered a healthy blood pressure, but better.
What does this mean? Of course! Raisins are better for you than cookies! The researchers point to the fiber or antioxidants you get from raisins that you're missing in crackers and cookies. I point to the fact that its raisins vs. cookies. I think you can figure out which one is better for you.
Should we be trying to get people to snack on raisins? Well, this is just an abstract that was presented at a recent conference, meaning I can't find the details of the study (easily). So, I would have to say that it depends on the amount of total calories these snacks are adding to the diet. I would like to see the California Raisins go head-to-head with the Cookie Monster.
Bays HE. et al. Raisins and Blood Pressure: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2012)