Dates are a popular type of fruit which has been around for a long time. The origins of dates can be traced back to almost 5320 BC. The fruit is a staple item for people in the middle east and North Africa. Mainly cultivated in these regions, dates are highly beneficial due to the innate composition of macronutrients and many other healthy elements.
The need for dates to be included in your diet will form a long list. Its highly beneficial advantages can be harnessed by introducing it into your diet. In this article we will be trying to educate you on the benefits dates on your health and also on the nutritional marvel it is. We will also be discussing some date recipes which will help you in making dates a part of your diet.
- What are Dates?
- Benefits of Dates:
- 1. Dates are Highly Nutritious:
- 2. Aids Healthy Bowel Movements:
- 3. High Concentration of Anti-oxidants:
- 4. Improves Brain Functionality:
- 5. Facilitates Natural Labour:
- 6. Reduces Risk of Cancer:
- 7. Prevents Microbial Infections:
- 8. Helps Fight Diabetes:
- 9. Works as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent:
- 10. Can Protect Your Kidneys:
- 11. Can Improve Fertility Among Males:
- 12. Promotes Bone Health:
- 13. Adds Strength to Your Nervous System:
- 14. Improves Your Skin:
- 15. Reduces the Rate of Hair Loss:
- 16. Helps Deal with Hangovers:
- 17. Dates are Rich In Vitamins:
- 18. Reduces the Chance of Getting Night Blindness:
- 19. Dates are Excellent Sweeteners:
- 20. Dates are Versatile:
- Types of Dates:
- 5 Easy Date Recipes:
- The Grand Story of Dates: History
- Dates Infographic:
What are Dates?
Dates are basically a tropical fruit which is grown on date palm trees. It’s scientifically known as Phoenix Dactylifera and is one of the most healthy fruits around the world. Coming under the dry fruit category, dates are highly nutritious and extremely tasty. Dates also play an important role in the cultural heritage of many middle east nations. The name date is derived from Greek origins following the name Gaktulos, which translates in English to the term “fingers” as an ode to the peculiar shape of the fruit. Date palms are scientifically known as Phoenix Dactylifera and belong to the Arecaceae family.
Dates are known for their high content of natural sugars. It’s interesting to notice that dried dates have a higher calorie content when compared to the fresh fruit. The calorie content of dates is one of the most important fact that adds to the rising preference for this middle east fruit. Grown on date palms, these fruits are harvested mostly by local farmers and then exported around the world. Dates grow in a clustered pattern and are harvested in bunches. It’s almost a staple diet to the practitioners of Islam around the world and is one of the important opening fruit during the season of fasting. This is due to the high nutrient content present in the fruit which makes it a very good choice to run the day with.
Benefits of Dates:
The high nutrient content of the fruit contributes to its highly beneficial properties. The need for a comprehensive fruit diet cannot be fulfilled without the inclusion of dates. In the below section we will be discussing the various benefits that dates can have on your health.
1. Dates are Highly Nutritious:
The nutrition data of dates are really off the charts. The fruits are packed with a lot of essential vitamins and other nutrients that can be extremely helpful to your overall health. Dates are also rich in fibre and carbs which without a doubt makes it one of the healthiest dry fruits. In the below table you can find the amount of nutrient present in every 100 gram serving of dates.
[table id=231 /]
With such high concentration of essential nutrients and vitamins it’s no wonder that dates are one of the most preferred fruits around the world. Dates are also famous for its rich concentration of antioxidants which can benefit your cardiac and pulmonary health in a huge manner. The high antioxidant ratio also helps in preventing dangerous diseases like cancer. There are also some studies that show that dates have anti-mutagenic along with anti-carcinogenic properties.
2. Aids Healthy Bowel Movements:
The fibre content in dates are extremely high, this can be highly beneficial to people who are suffering from health issues caused due to irregular bowel movements. In a study conducted to understand the effects dates have in preventing bowel and intestine related issues such as colorectal cancer, a group of 21 test subjects were made to eat around 7 dates every day and was observed to be having regular bowel movements and frequent stool production compared to another group who were not given dates. The study was conducted to see if the non-soluble fibre in dates can react with the microbiota in the intestines to reduce the chances of colon cancer. The results did not show any such significant increase in the reaction to the microbiota but showed a significant increase in the regularity of bowel movements along with the frequency of stool production.
It was also noticed that the concentration of Ammonia in the stool was also significantly reduced when dates were consumed regularly. Therefore, it can be conclusively said that the effect dates have on your overall diet and health is unparalleled and can aid you in having a better lifestyle with the help of regular consumption.
3. High Concentration of Anti-oxidants:
Anti-oxidants are basically compounds that inhibit the process of oxidation and thereby eliminates the dangerous free radicals which can cause a lot of harm to your cells. Oxidation can be very dangerous as it can be very harmful to the structural and genetic integrity of your cells.
Dates are known for its high concentration of anti-oxidants. When compared to other dried fruits in the same category, dates tops the chart with the highest concentration of anti-oxidants. The need for antioxidants in your daily diet cannot be stressed more. Dates are rich in antioxidants including :
- Carotenoids: Carotenoids are known for their ability to significantly reduce the chances of macular degeneration which can be highly dangerous to your ocular well- being. Carotenoids are also known for their ability to work wonders for your heart. Cardiac health is one of the most pressing issues in today’s health scenario and the use of dates can help in promoting better heart health.
- Flavonoids: This is an antioxidant which can benefit your body by helping with multiple issues. Flavonoids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and its high affinity in helping to reduce the effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Flavonoids are also beneficial to your brain and work a lot towards the reduction of the risk for brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. There are also indications that prove that Flavonoids can also help in reducing the risk towards certain types of cancer too.
- Phenolic Acid: Phenolic acid is a much-discussed antioxidant mainly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has got a very good history in reducing the risk of developing cardiac issues and also works a lot in reducing the chances of being inflicted by certain types of cancer.
4. Improves Brain Functionality:
Inflammatory cytokines such as Interleukin can be extremely dangerous to your brain. The increased presence of IL-6 (Interleukin 6) is attributed to the development of neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s disease. The presence of inflammatory markers is never a good sign for your neural health and therefore it is to be considered with extreme care.
The regular use of dates has been found to be beneficial in reducing the IL-6 levels and thereby helping in reducing the risk of developing brain degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s. An in-vivo study on mice has also shown that the inclusion of date palm in the feed leads to the reduction of amyloid beta protein activity which can reduce the production of plaques that can harm the brain. Plaques are highly dangerous and can lead to cell death causing severe conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
The study also showed that consuming dates reduce issues related to anxiety disorder and also helps in boosting memory and learning. The effects regular consumption of dates can have on your neural health is manifold. Besides preventing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s they can also help in the overall improvement of your brain.
5. Facilitates Natural Labour:
Pregnant women who eat dates regularly have a higher chance of delivering by natural labour. In our modern times, the frequency of natural labour is going down by a great margin. The complications that arise out of cesarean deliveries are troubling a lot of young mothers in our generation. Eating dates at the later stages of pregnancy can help in making the entire process of delivery much smoother.
There are results from studies that show that using dates as a part of the regular diet of a pregnant woman can help in reducing the pressure that is applied while trying to deliver the baby. The study also showed that when women who had consumed at least 70 -76 grams of dates during the later stages of pregnancy had to spend around 4 lesser hours during labour compared to women who did not eat dates.
These effects appear due to the unique compounds present in dates that have the ability to reduce the need for oxytocin during pregnancy. These compounds successfully mimic the effects of oxytocin by binding to the receptors and brings around a chance to have healthy contractions during labour. Dates also have a high concentration of tannins which also helps in facilitating contractions during labour. The nutritional value of dates will also help during labour as the mother will have enough natural sugars that can provide energy during pregnancy.
6. Reduces Risk of Cancer:
Cancer is a deadly disease which claims a lot of lives worldwide and also presents a huge financial burden on the healthcare sector of many countries. The increased prevalence of cancer is attributed to the rapid changes that have occurred in the lifestyle and diet of modern times. Dates have some peculiar properties that have been studied in-depth, and the results revealed that the presence of beta D-glucan in dates is very advantageous in promoting an anti-tumour activity within the body.
The mutation of the genetic matter that is present within cells is what leads to the abnormal multiplication of cells which in turn forms a tumour. Date pits have innate antigenotoxicity features due to the mechanisms the elements present dates have in reducing the aromatase activity of CPY-450 and also due to its ability to pick out alkyl radicals. This prevents any reaction that can be caused due to methane diazonium ion on the structure of the DNA and in effect prevents genetic mutations from happening.
The high concentration of antioxidants in dates also helps in reducing the activities of free radicals and thereby reduces the chances of cancer from happening. Using dates as a part of the daily diet can help a lot in reducing the risk of cancer and can significantly help in the reduction of occurrence of benign tumours too.
7. Prevents Microbial Infections:
Bacterial infections can sometimes be deadly and can also cost a lot to treat. In the current medical scenario, almost all microbial infections are treated with the help of antibiotics which is an expensive way of treatment and also comes with a baggage of side effects. Substituting antibiotics with natural products can be both a physically and financially sound decision. In a study conducted using extracts from the pits and leaves of date, revealed that it had active resistance against certain harmful bacteria.
In another study conducted using the acetone and methanol extracts from the native date plants of the Iraqi section, it was found that these extracts have a positive effect against the growth of gram-positive and negative bacterias. Several recent studies have also revealed that dates have excellent properties that can be beneficial against deadly microbes such as E-coli and pneumonia.
Date plant extracts are also effective in reducing the side effects that are caused due to powerful medicines such as methylprednisolone. The effects that dates can have in reducing the activities of dangerous microbes makes it a very important part of the diet. Even though most fruits have successful defensive capabilities against microbes the induction of these attributes to the human body is the strongest in dates.
8. Helps Fight Diabetes:
Diabetes Mellitus is one of the most common diseases around the world. The number of people who are suffering from mild and severe diabetes is rising to levels we never would have expected. The increasing frequency in the number of cases that are being reported under diabetes section is due to the increased intake of unhealthy fast food and also due to a diet that is extremely high in calories and sugar.
The treatment for diabetes is also a painstaking procedure. Mostly diabetes is treated using synthetic medicines with a combination of several oral medicines and insulin supplementation. These treatment methods besides being extremely costly also pose a major threat to the overall health of the patients affected with it due to its increased side effects. The use of natural substitutes for diabetic medications is a widely researched topic these days.
Dates have the ability to increase the production of insulin and also has several properties that can help reduce the rate of absorption of glucose from the intestine. This can help a lot in reducing the risk that is posed by diabetes. The reduction of glucose absorption will inevitably reduce the blood glucose levels which can be extremely helpful for people who are suffering from diabetes. The lack of insulin is what causes diabetes to happen in the first place and the ability dates have in increasing the production of insulin makes it an excellent natural substitute for several synthetic medicines. The exact procedure of how dates help in reducing the effects of diabetes is still being researched upon.
In several studies that were conducted on diabetic rats, it was revealed that the extracts of Phoenix dactylifera very helpful in reducing the body weight in rats and also helps in capturing the free radicals that are sprung up due to the reactions of alloxan. Besides all these dates also has the ability to control the glycemic and lipid activity in diabetic patients which in turn can help them be healthy for longer durations even with diabetes.
9. Works as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent:
Inflammation is a reactive mechanism of the human body that helps fight against several diseases, trauma and infections. The regulation of inflammatory agents plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of the patient. There are several inflammatory agents that play a major role in the development of various defensive mechanisms within the body. The actions of transcription factors such as LOX and NF-kB play an important role in the regulation of the inflammatory health of the body.
It’s already known that the phenolics and flavonoids present in dates have an excellent capability in reducing the inflammation that occurs within the body. Dates are also rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids. The active inhibition factors that are used to control the activities of inflammatory factors help a lot, still, the side effects that are caused due to this is manifold. Therefore, there is a need for natural substitutes that looms large in the medical care industry. The role of dates in controlling and regulating the activity of inflammatory factors.
Inflammatory agents also play a major part in determining the immune response of your body towards various diseases and conditions. The regulations of these factors are very essential as they are very crucial when it comes to preventing your body from unwanted explicit inflammatory activities. The extracts from date pollens are studied to be having a protective ability that can actively prevent unwanted behaviour by regulating cytokine expressions. Cytokines play an important role in modulating the behaviour of inflammatory elements within the body.
Methanolic extracts from date fruits have also shown interesting results in reducing the swelling that occurs in the feet and also in the control of plasma fibrinogen. This can be very helpful as people with inflammatory conditions tend to be more exposed to the problems that occur due to swelling in the feet. There are proofs from conclusive studies that show that the extracts from date leaves can be used as an effective anti-inflammatory drug.
10. Can Protect Your Kidneys:
Kidney issues trouble a lot of individuals around the world. The nephrological activity in humans is one of the most important functions that determine the overall health of the person. A lot of people are on the waiting list for kidney transplants around the world and most governments are trying to tackle the issues of black market sale of kidneys. Being such an important organ, the use of kidneys in creating a healthy atmosphere for the body is crucial.
Dates have various properties that can help your kidneys stay healthy in difficult circumstances. In a study conducted on Ajwa, a type of date that is mainly found in the middle east Asia section, it was found that the fruit can actively reduce the lesions caused by Ochratoxin nephrotoxicity by amelioration by forming a protective layer. This can help prevent a lot of issues that are caused by people around the world raising due to the complications of kidney lesions.
In another study conducted on rats using the extracts of date fruits, it was found that the induction of these extracts into the system helped in reducing the excess of plasma creatinine and urea that are present in the kidney which helped to improve the overall kidney health of the rodents. The effects dates have in treating tubular damage in the kidney was also well studied and the introduction of dates into your diet is highly advocated.
11. Can Improve Fertility Among Males:
Infertility is a very common condition these days and a lot of married couples are suffering due to it. The global ratio of male infertility is rising and has set off some alarms in several developed countries. The changing lifestyle of the individuals which causes a lot of unwanted stress is one of the main reasons behind this. Smoking, drinking and higher exposure to radiation caused by electronic devices are attributed to be some contributing factors to male infertility.
The effect date fruit has on treating infertility in men is known around the world. There are various vitamins and minerals present in the fruit which can help in improving the sperm count and also in increasing the sexual libido in the person. Some studies have also shown that consuming dates in the right manner will also lead to an increase in the size of the testes in men and an increased size of breast in women.
The presence of flavonoids and various amino acids in dates makes sure that the sexual performance of the male is fulfilled with enough energy. The micro elements that are constituents of date palm such as estrone and sterols can help improve male fertility by a huge margin. Date pollen extracts are also studied widely for its positive effects on male sperm motility and count.
12. Promotes Bone Health:
There are severe health conditions that affect your bones in a very unhealthy manner. Importance of bone health increases as you age, strong bones are necessary to survive accidental trauma or even slight falls. People who suffer from osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from fractures and other issues that arise due to bad bone health. In order for bones to be healthy, there needs to be a sufficient supply of several micronutrients that play an important role in securing the strength of your bones. The need for these micronutrients is met mainly through fruits.
Dates are highly rich in micronutrients such as selenium, manganese, magnesium and copper. The need for these micronutrients in ensuring your bone health makes dates one of the most important supplement to be added to your diet if you are suffering from bone problems. The micronutrients in dates are also highly effective in treating bone conditions such as osteoporosis. So, it’s highly advisable that you include dates as a part of your fruit diet so that your bones can remain healthy throughout your life.
13. Adds Strength to Your Nervous System:
The nervous system is basically the communication network that keeps your body functioning. Neurological problems are highly dangerous as it can affect multiple parts of the body at the same time. There are several nutrients that play a huge role in ensuring proper neurological health and the upkeep of the nervous network.
Dates are highly rich in nutrients such as potassium and at the same time contains very low levels of sodium which makes it an extremely successful fruit in ensuring your neurological health. Foods that are high in potassium makes the communication between nerve cells easier. The low amount of sodium in dates also reduces the chances of hypertension which in turn will help keep your nerves safe from increased blood pressure.
Ensuring your nervous health will keep you safe from a range of other conditions that can adversely affect your health. Including sufficient amount of dates in your diet and following it sincerely can help a lot in keeping you healthy in the long run.
14. Improves Your Skin:
There are various nutrients that can be beneficial for your skin. Most people today suffer from a lot of skin problems and depend on cosmetics to deal with them. While these cosmetics provides fast relief, it also makes your skin tone inconsistent in the long run. Using harmful chemicals on your face can also lead to it developing rashes and other skin disorders that can affect you adversely.
Dates are a very good alternative to these harmful chemicals that can do more harm to your skin. The high concentrations of vitamin C and vitamin D in dates ensure that your skin gets well nourished and all the nutrient expectations for healthy glowing skin are met. Vitamin C & D work for the improvement of your skin’s elasticity which is very hard to maintain as you age.
The nutrients that are present in dates are also helpful in preventing faster ageing and helps you look young for a longer period of time. Dates are also useful in maintaining a healthy balance of melanin in your skin by reducing the chances of it being deposited in various locations.
15. Reduces the Rate of Hair Loss:
Hair loss is such a big issue that it has spawned of a billion dollar industry responsible for treating it. Ever since globalization more people have become very aware of how they look and present themselves before others. This has driven the hair fixing industry to become extremely successful in recent years. There are various treatment methods that are used for the treatment of hair loss but most of them come with a huge baggage of side effects.
Dates are a very good substitute to many over the counter medications that claim to stop hair fall. Dates are extremely rich in iron which makes it extremely beneficial for your hair. The increased iron content in dates ensures that the blood flow remains strong and the scalp gets the nourishment it deserves. The increased flow of oxygen to your scalp will facilitate the growth of new hair and also reduce the rate of hair fall by a great margin.
16. Helps Deal with Hangovers:
Most millennials today miss a lot of productivity due to drinking the prior day. There are various products out there which are beneficial to heal the problems associated with alcohol-induced hangovers. Although not conclusively proved, there are many cases in which soaked dates has helped reduce the effects of inebriation and hangovers.
For better results, its advised that the date is peeled gently and soaked in water and has to be consumed in the following morning. There are also known cases in many tribal communities where date palm extracts are added to beer to reduce the intoxicating effect it has. Taking a couple of dates after the party night can get you up and running for the following days.
17. Dates are Rich In Vitamins:
Vitamin supplementation is something that most people consume today. Ideally, your daily diet should be able to deliver all the essential vitamins you need to survive. But, due to the fast-paced life we live today, there is very little room for us to eat healthily. The inclusion of various fruits can help curb this situation.
Naturally, dates can be considered as a substitute for vitamin supplementation. Dried or fresh dates are both very good sources of vitamins including B1, B2, B3 and B5. These are all essential vitamins that are very much required in ensuring optimum health of your body. The need for vitamins can be easily met by including a sufficient amount of dates in your daily diet.
18. Reduces the Chance of Getting Night Blindness:
Night blindness is a vision condition that affects a lot of people in the modern world. A lot of people take themselves to the doctor to cure this condition that restricts them to see things when natural light is low. The major cause for night blindness is long-term deprivation of vitamin A.
Dates are rich in vitamin A and the regular consumption of it can ensure that you do not get affected by night blindness in the long run. The use of dates to cure night blindness is recorded in the history of the middle east countries. Date palms are one of the oldest natural medicine which is recommended to heal problems that occur due to lack of vitamin A.
19. Dates are Excellent Sweeteners:
Most medical practitioners these days advise their patients to stay away from processed white sugar as much as possible. However, there is a need for sugar in certain recipes and cannot be prepared without it. The use of white sugars may increase your chances of being affected by conditions such as diabetes.
Dates can solve this problem quite easily, the high content of fructose which is a natural form of sugar which provides the caramel-like sweetness in dates. Substituting white sugar with dates that are turned into a paste can make your meal sweet as well as healthy at the same time. So, reduce the use of white sugar and introduce some date paste into your diet to live a healthy life.
20. Dates are Versatile:
Versatility in food, basically means that it can be used in preparing a wide variety of recipes. Even though dates are mostly consumed in its fresh or dried formats, they have an excellent quality of blending with multiple recipes. Dates are widely used in the preparation of baked and sweet products due to its greasy and sticky nature.
The versatility of dates makes it very easily consumable even by people who might not like the flavour of it. Dates can incessantly blend with baked goods and provide a sufficient amount of nutrition that is required for a healthy lifestyle. You can enjoy all the goodness of dates without even realizing you are consuming dates, this is a boon for many mothers as they try to introduce their kids to healthy diets.
Types of Dates:
Dates are extremely nutritious and are packed with multiple benefits as you have read in the above sections. Not all dates look and taste the same. There are various varieties of this fruit that can be found across the globe. These varieties are all beneficial and differ mostly due to the country of origin. In the below table you can find the different varieties of dates that are used across the world.
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5 Easy Date Recipes:
Most people believe that dates can be only consumed in the format it comes to the stores. These people are the ones who are truly unlucky to miss out the endless possibilities that come from the versatile nature of dates. In the below section we will show you the magic dates can bring to your diet when used correctly.
1. Banana Date Smoothie:
Making a smoothie for breakfast is one of the easiest things to do. It adds enough nutrition to the body to get through the morning.
- Ripe Bananas – Two
- Pitted Dried Dates – Quarter Cup
- Almond Milk – Two Cups
- Chia Seeds – Two Tea Spoons
- Ground Cardamom – Half Teaspoon
- Juiced Lime – Half Cut
- Ice Cubes – Four
- Ground Cinnamon – A Pinch
- Salt – A Pinch
Method of Preparation:
It’s quite easy to prepare this smoothie, you just need to add all the ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed. Once its smooth, take it out and serve in two large glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon on top.
2. Fig & Date Oatmeal Baked with Pecans:
An oatmeal breakfast can keep you up and running for a considerable amount of time. Introduce a little date to it and you have a superfood on your plate.
- Chopped Pecans – Three Tablespoons
- Raw Sugar – Quarter Cup Plus One Tablespoon
- Cornstarch – One Tablespoon
- Butter Unsalted – Three Tablespoons
- Rolled Oats – One and a Half Cup
- Baking Powder – One Teaspoon
- Ground Cinnamon – Half Teaspoon
- Chopped & Pitted Medjool Dates – Six Pieces
- Milk – Three Fourth of a Cup
- Egg – One Large
- Figs Thin Slices – Two Pieces
Method of Preparation:
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 Degree Fahrenheit
- Mix one tablespoon of sugar, cornstarch and finely chopped pecans in a bowl.
- Take out an 8-inch pie baking plate and add butter to it and heat until the butter is melted in the oven.
- Grease the pan with the heated butter and scoop two spoons to add to the pecan mixture to be set aside.
- Take a big bowl and mix chopped dates, a quarter cup of raw sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and oats.
- Add the melted butter into a bowl and mix with egg and milk and stir properly.
- Now pour the mix into the pie plate and add the sliced figs on the top. Garnish the mixture with the pecan mixture.
- Bake for around 30 minutes and notice if the pie is turning brown and the edges are hard. Once done slice and serve.
3. Tahini Date with Salted Caramel:
Caramel candies are always a delight. Mix it with the nutrition and the excellent taste of Tahini dates and you have a healthy candy to munch on.
- Pitted Dates – One Cup
- Tahini – Half Cup
- Coconut Oil – Two Tablespoon
- Cardamom Grounded – Half Teaspoon
- Finishing Salt – One-Eighth of a Teaspoon
Method of Preparation:
- Create a thick, smooth and creamy paste in a blender using ingredients like Tahini, cardamom, dates and coconut oil.
- Pour the paste to a loaf pan and even it out using a spatula.
- Sprinkle the finishing salt.
- Freeze the mixture until it becomes hard. Then take it out of the pan and cut it into small pieces.
- These candies can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for a month.
4. Creamy Orange Date Smoothie:
Oranges are an excellent source for a bunch of natural vitamins. Combine it with dates and you have a highly nutritious drink that is extremely tasty.
- Medium Orange Peeled and Frozen – One
- Coconut Milk Unsweetened – One Cup
- Sweet Potato Flesh – One Third Cup
- Medjool Dates – Two Pieces
- Tahini – One Tablespoon
- Bee Pollen – One Teaspoon
- Vanilla Extract – Half Teaspoon
- Sea Salt – One Pinch
- Sesame Seeds – For Garnish
Method of Preparation:
- The preparation of this smoothie is fairly easy. You just have to add all the ingredients into a blender and mix on high speed until the blend is creamy and smooth. This usually does not take more than 45 seconds.
5. Date Syrup:
Date syrup is an excellent alternative for artificial sweeteners like white sugar. If you are suffering from health issues like type 2 diabetes and still has a craving for sweet food, replacing sweet with date syrup can be very beneficial. Date syrup when concentrated can be used in any sort of preparation.
- Oil – One Cup
- Dried and Pitted Medjool Dates – One Pound
- Water – Four Cups
- Measuring Cup
- Jar with Lids
- Fine Mesh Strainer
Method of Preparation:
- Cut Dates – Use kitchen shears with oiled edges to finely chop the dates.
- Simmer the dates in water with occasional stirring for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the simmered mixture and allow it to cool down for 30 minutes.
- Blend the cooled mixture in a blender until it becomes sweet for about one minute.
- Use the fine mesh strain covered with cheesecloth to strain the mixture to get rid of all small pieces. Take out the cheesecloth and strain it to get the entire solution out.
- You can then taste the syrup and determine if its sweet enough, if not you can reheat to thicken it to attain the level of sweetness in a saucepan.
Dates are highly beneficial for overall use. If you are seeking to reduce the number of health issues you encounter due to the lack of nutrients present in your diet, dates are the one thing that you cannot choose to ignore from your daily diet. Experiment using the above recipes to create an appetite for dates and improve your overall health.
The Grand Story of Dates: History
Dates are one of the most consumed fruit in the middle east. But does dates have a historical significance that leads the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to put it in the centre of their royal emblem? Well, dates played an important role in enabling the Arab spring around the medieval ages. It’s considered genuine to say that palm is also a valid symbol of Islam just as the crescent moon and the star. The Arabian peninsula is unarguably a dry one, and this makes vegetation to be very scarce in the area, dates, therefore, holds a lot of power in the agricultural output of the country.
Archaeological evidence from various parts of Egypt and Syria has concluded that remains of dates are present since the neolithic states. This makes it evident that dates have been consumed for more than 8000 years. Dates are also mentioned about in some of the scriptures that are written around third millennium BC which makes dates one among the oldest recorded fruits in the world.
There are pieces of evidence such old royal seals that showcase dates as a sacred tree in the parts of Assyria and Greece. There are references made about the tree in the Quran which makes its religious aspects even more assertive. This reference is very clear in the section where Mary gives birth to prophet Jesus and when she cries in pain, God tells her to shake the palm tree and it will give you fresh and ripe dates that will make your eyes be gladdened.
References about dates have also been made in the hadith. There is a specific section that states that having about seven pieces of Ajwa dates in the morning will keep you safe from magic and poison throughout the day. The importance the fruit holds in the Muslims of the Arabian peninsula is thus very clear.
Certain legends also claim that Dates were the first plant to be planted after Noah disembarked from his journey at the holy land. If or not this is true can never be confirmed however the trend of cultivating dates spread to the other parts of the African continent and also along the coast of Spain. The nomadic tribe saw dates as the prime fruit for survival, its high nutritional value gave them the energy required to survive in the harsh environment of the desert and the natural sweeteners in them made them extremely tasty for them to consume.
The date seeds unique ability to lie dormant for centuries and still be able to germinate gave it the scientific name of Phoenix. There are many stories in the Mediterranean closely associated with the magical effects of date palms. There is one particular site in Arabia called Al-Madinah where the “Date of Light” are present and the trees there are said to shine on themselves due to the quality of the seeds that were used by a lady as beads in the rosary.
Now that you have a deep understanding of the benefits of dates there might be some questions that must be bothering you. In the below section we will try and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about dates.
1. Will eating dates make me fat?
Dates are natural fruits that are high in fructose and sugar, these elements are known to keep you fat. Yet, when consumed in moderation dates can help you in losing weight due to its high calorie and nutrition content which can reduce your craving for fatty foods. But if you overeat dates it can definitely make you put on a little more weight.
2. Do dates reduce blood sugar?
Replacing date with other artificial sweetening agents can help in reducing the blood sugar level. Glycemic foods are the main reason for the increase in blood sugar and using dates can help in reducing the intake of glycemic foods that are low on the glycemic count will obviously help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
3. What is the best type of dates?
All dates are good for your health, however, some varieties top the chart due to its yummy taste and high nutritional value. Medjool dates are said to be the most healthy by many, however, this will solely be dependant upon your taste for the dates.