Dates are high in fructose and have a high glycemic index, which can increase blood sugar levels significantly, yet they are considered a good substitute for sugar. Why? That’s because they pack a solid nutrition punch. This tiny fruit (yes it is a fruit) is big on nutrition: just 4 dates (30 grams) provides around 90 calories, 1 gm protein, 13 mg calcium, 2.8 gm fibre and myriad other nutrients.
The first thing going for them is that they are super energy boosters. They replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly; precisely why they are eaten to break the fast during Ramadan month by Muslims.
Dates are loaded with B vitamins and studies show that B6 in particular improves brain performance and helps better test scores.
Vitamin A content in dates help keep our vision sharp, guards against night blindness, and a specific component Zeaxanthin in it offers protection against age-related vision loss too. And it is great for your skin too by the way.
It even has vitamin K which is a blood coagulant that also helps metabolize our bones.
There are at least 15 minerals in dates including calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper (helps in production of red blood cells), iron (keeps anaemia away), selenium and potassium. It also has fluorine, which prevents cavities.
Dates are free of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol – recipe for a healthy heart, and potassium helps control heart rate, and keep BP low.
Dates promote friendly bacteria in the intestines; plus fibre in it prevents abdominal cancer. It is a laxative too and often advised to people who suffer from constipation.
Dates contain plant antioxidants called polyphenols, which help to remove free radical toxins from the body, so help detoxify your body naturally. In fact Bedouin tribes of the Middle East, who eat loads of dates every day, have one of the lowest rates of cancer.
Eating dates soaked overnight is a proven remedy for hangovers too. So go on add to shakes and sprinkle on puddings and porridge. And try Jallab (a syrup made from dates, grape molasses, and rose water) when in the Middle East next.
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