Dates are a tropical fruit that is grown on Date palm trees. It forms the most healthy fruit around the world. Scientifically it is named Phoenix Dactylifera. It is classified under the Dry fruits category. This dry fruit is highly nutritious and absolutely delicious.
A Peek Into its History: Dates play a crucial role in the cultural heritage of many middle east nations. The name, Date is derived from the Greek word Gaktulos. If translated in English then it is “fingers” due to an ode to the distinctive shape of the fruit. As mentioned before, its scientific name is Phoenix Dactylifera which belongs to the Arecaceae family.
Popular Types of Dates
- Barhi: The syrupy rich dates having the softest and most fragile texture.
- Dayri: Heavily sweet-flavored dates with red skin, which later on changes to brown and then black color on ripening.
- Deglet Noor: Delicately Flavoured semi-dried dates which are loved for their typical date flavor.
- Halawy: Also called Halawi which means sweet in taste. It is a sweetly honey-flavored soft date.
- Khadrawy: Medium sweet-flavored soft dates which range from medium to large oblong fruits.
- Medjool: With a little fibrous finish, Medjool is a yummy sweet soft date that is just perfect to be eaten fresh. It is very moist.
The best quality of dates: Every type is productive and useful in its own way. However, some of them are up a notch than the others in the food chart. One of them would be Medjool. Many dieticians refer to it to be the most healthy variant of dates.
Some fun facts about Dates
- Date palms shelter over three percent of the earth’s cultivated surface. Four Million Tons of date palms are grown each year.
- There are very few people who are allergic to this dry fruit.
- There exist over 200 varieties of Dates among which, Medjool is the hardest to grow due to which it is most expensive to buy than the other types.
- Probably, date palms are the earliest cultivated tree in the world.
- According to the earliest record from Iraq (Mesopotamia), the Iraqis started consuming dates as early as 3000 BC.
So, that was a small intro on Dates. Now let’s get to know how dates form the most healthy fruits. Here we go!
It’s nutritious content: Dates have got an outstanding profile of nutrients which proves to be beneficial at every point in life. One of the prime reasons for its outstanding profile of nutrients is that the dates exist in dried form. Therefore, the calorie present in them is at a higher amount than any other fresh fruits. But if taken in a proper quantity, it will give you the best health results. The calorie that it contains, is almost equivalent to other dried fruits such as raisins and figs.
From where does the calorie of the dates come from?
It comes from carbs or carbohydrates. The carbohydrates contribute the most towards the calorie content, and the rest is provided by small amounts of proteins. Besides fibers and antioxidants, dates possess some important vitamins and minerals and they are rich in antioxidants too.
So till now, we have been talking about the Date Nutrient Profile. But what exactly are these nutrients?
A 3.5 ounce of dates would have :
277 Calories, 75 grams of Carbs, 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, 20% of the RDI of, Potassium, 14% of the RDI of magnesium, 18% of the RDI of copper, 15% of the RDI of manganese, 5% of the RDI of Iron, and 12% of the RDI of Vitamin B6. Woah! That’s a lot.
Impact of eating Dates on your health
1. Dates Promote Brain Health
With the consumption of dates, the functioning of the brain may improve. According to Laboratory studies, Dates have the power of lowering the inflammatory makers such as the Interleukin 6 or IL-6. A high level of Interleukin is the indication of an ongoing inflammatory response and could be constant along with a systemic infection or chronic Inflammatory Disease. Therefore, the dates stop them from increasing in numbers and keeps a constant check on their growth.
Dates also reduce the amount of Amyloid Beta Proteins which tend to form plaques in the brain. Plaques are clumps of amyloid Beta proteins i.e. a chunk of protein that is found in the normal brain. When these Amyloid Beta proteins clung to each other, Plaques are formed at that time which is a sort of lump formation disrupting the communication between the nerve cells and leading to brain inflammation.
Dates’ potential brain-boosting characteristics have accredited itself the Antioxidant Agent which is known to resolve the issues of inflammation, including flavonoids.
2. Dates Help in the Promotion of Natural Labor
Dates always had the property to ease and smoothen the long-term labor in pregnant women. Long-term labor comes with maternal complications such as dystocia, endometritis(infection), etc. Studies have it that, 69 women had 6 dates per day for a period of 4 weeks earlier than their due date. The results were shocking! All the 69 mothers became 20 percent more likely to go into labor naturally. These 69 mothers were in labor less time than the ones who did not have dates. So that’s the power a date upholds!
3. Dates are the Nutritious Natural Sweetener
They are a source of Fructose. Fructose is a type of sugar known as a monosaccharide. Normally like other types of sugar, Fructose provides 4 calories per gram. It exists both as natural and added sugar. If you are consuming Fructose directly from whole fruit plants, then it’s a natural sugar and each one of us does know how effective a product or a thing is which includes the ingredients of nature. The goodness that it produces is automatic.
So therefore with the fresh connection of nature, Dates are a natural sweetener that further forms the ultimate substitute for white sugar in various recipes. White sugar only used to provide a sweet taste and harms our health. But when it gets replaced by them, you get to experience the sweet taste in foods without compromising your health. Almost like a boon in disguise!
4. Dates Control Blood Sugar Levels
They act as an aid to blood sugar regulation due to their presence of low glycemic index, fiber, and antioxidants. Therefore with these characteristic features, they form the best companion when it comes to diabetes management.
5. Dates Improve Bone Health
With them being rich in minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, it forms a protective shield for the bones against the bones related issues such as osteoporosis. So, they are the best friend to diabetes management and promote bone health.
The Effortless add-on to your diet
Now comes the diet side story of the Dates. Your obvious question to it will be- “What features make the Dates the ideal and effortless add-on to the diet?” The answer to it simply would be :
Feature #1: Versatility
Something gets much more interesting when it possesses the aspect of Versatility. Versatility is a trait that proves the thing to have many interesting qualities and properties which gives it the power to stand out. They are that thing. Its versatility lies in its super nutritious content, its benefits to the body further leading to proper maintenance and functioning of the body, and its amazing taste of sweetness which consists of no harmful calories which are good for the body.
Feature #2 Delicious-cum-nutritious
The taste of sweetness is usually obtained from food types which has a tendency to cause harm to our body. For example, chocolates, marshmallows, white sugar, muffins, scones, etc. But when it comes to dates, it has no trace of toxic elements, rather it is filled with nutrients. Plus its amazing sweet taste makes it a delicious and nutritious snack. Also with the combo of dates, nuts, and seeds, you can make a highly energizing snack bar or energy balls for yourself. It will help you dissolve your hunger besides maintaining your health.
Feature #3: Texture
Its stickiness makes them a useful binder in baked goods such as bars and cookies. So the calories that you gain through the consumption of bars and cookies, with the combination of dates, the effect of those calories gets reduced leading to less formation of fats in the body.
So it’s simple! Go for dates and diminish the craving for sweetness when on a diet. They will help with the craving for sweetness and make it go away. In this way, you don’t have to cheat your diet and your craving also gets satisfied.
The Bottom Line
Dates are always the Healthy fruit to include in your diet. Its richness in various nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants provide amazing health benefits ranging from promoting brain health to acquiring the title of The Effortless Add-on to the diet. You can add dates in many ways to your diet. But the ideal way would be to consume it as a natural sweetener in various food types and dishes. It can be commonly found in dried form. So go Dates! Go Healthy!