With the month of Ramzaan (a month of fasting for Muslims) setting in, you would notice your Muslim friends around you breaking their fasts with a date. This is a very common practice and due to this you would see dates being sold outside almost every mosque too.
During my recent visit to the Middle East, I noticed that in most shopping areas many of the shops had plates of dates kept outside their shops and anyone could help themselves with these.
Dates are a very nutritional fruit and you will realize the reason behind the above practices once you know the benefits that dates provide.
Constituents of dates
- Dates contain the following minerals and vitamins : minerals – Calcium, amino acids, iron, sulfur, magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorous, flourine and potassium : Vitamins – Dates are a rich source of vitamins A1, B1, B2, B3 and B5
- They are rich in dietary fiber
- Dates are great energy boosters as they contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose
- They are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat
Benefits of dates
- Instant energy boosters: Dates contain a high amount of natural sugars. Sugars travel most quickly to the liver where they are converted into energy more quickly than any other nutrient. Due to this, you should consume them regularly if you tend to feel fatigue or weak. Due to this energy boosting property, they are first consumed to break the fast as well.
- Anemia : The high iron content helps in curing patients suffering from anaemia. I have a personal experience with this and have seen the benefits in less than 2 months.
- Benefits to the digestive system : Dates contain large amounts of dietary fibre which helps to prevent constipation. Additionally, they protect the stomach and intestinal tract from parasites and bacteria.
- Benefits to the nervous system : Dates are rich in potassium and reduced in sodium. This helps regulate a healthy nervous system. The potassium in the dates reduces cholesterol and also lessens the risk of a stroke.
- Bone and Tooth health: The manganese content in dates contributes to calcium absorption, giving good teeth and bones. They also contain fluorine that helps slow down the tooth decay process.
- Detoxification : They are also used for detoxifying the body after over-consumption of alcohol.
- Aphrodisiac :Dates are known to increase one’s sexual stamina. It has been used as an aphrodisiac since ages.
- During and post pregnancy : Dates provide energy and prevent anemia during pregnancy Consumption of dates also helps for lactating mothers post delivery.
- For weaning infants : Many parents prefer to avoid giving sugar and salt to infants for the first year. So while introducing food adding date puree hel;ps providing the sweet taste which the kids would accept more easily.
- Improves skin elasticity : Dates are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin P. These help enhance the skin’s elasticity. The nutrients in dates also enhance the quality of the subcutaneous tissues, making your skin tender and smooth.
- Anti-ageing benefits : Free radicals damage your skin cells, causing premature aging of skin. Vitamin C present in dates helps resist oxidation. It also prevents the accumulation of melanin in your body.The nutrients in dates prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Dates are renowned for enriching and replenishing blood, thus providing you with a youthful-looking skin.
- Benefits for the hair : Consuming two to three dates every day will strengthen your hair follicles and make your hair strands stronger and healthier. Vitamin B contained in dates is beneficial for your hair. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to weak and brittle hair.
Consumption of dates
While dates do have so many benefits, it sometimes is a bit challenging to add them to the regular diet especially for children if they are not too fond of consuming them as is. These are the following ways in which I try to include dates in our diet. Luckily, for me the kids love the soft dates as is, so there is a glass jar on my dining table filled with dates and they generally have some in the morning and after returning from school. Adding a couple of dates while making chocolate milkshake enhances the taste as well as we need not add the extra sugar as well. Another way to consume dates is adding them while baking cakes or coating them with chocolate. If your kids enjoy sweet food adding dates to sheera, kheer, laddoos etc also is another way of incorporating dates.
With all these benefits make sure you include this in your daily routine and consume this power packed fruit in whatever form that suits you the most.
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