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Dates: Healthy Super Fruits for Ramadan

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Liza is a homemaker. She has an obsession with coffee and loves photography, baking, cooking, and writing.

Dates are typically grown in the Middle Eastern countries.

Dates are typically grown in the Middle Eastern countries.

Keeping A Tradition

Dates have been a crucial aspect of Ramadan for thousands of years. They are known as the first foods many Muslims eat when they break their daily fast. I remember my mother used to remind me to break the fast with “kurma” (Malay) before eating something else. Eating dates during the holy month of Ramadan has been a tradition and significant for Muslims. This keeps with the teachings of Prophet Muhammad who initiated the practice of breaking fast with three dates and water.

In Malaysia, Ramadan is not completed with a box of dates served on a dining table before Iftar (the evening meal in which Muslim end their daily fasting at sunset). Usually, we buy dates from the grocery store or supermarket. However, one of the popular traditions, is people will gather at mosques and have breakfast together.

Ancient Fruit

Did you know that archaeological evidence can pinpoint the cultivation of these fruits as far back as 4,000 BC? These ancient fruits are stapled among Muslims as they have proven as a host of health benefits. By the way, dates are typically grown in the North African and Middle Eastern belts. Fresh dates are largely divided into three categories: soft, semi-dry, and dry.

Health Booster

Did you know this fresh fruit is packed with numerous nutrients? For example, it is a rich source of antioxidants. Dates also have high fibre content and are sources of minerals like phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This sticky fruit also is high in Vitamin A and K. How marvellous!

10 Amazing Health Benefits of Dates That You Should Know

Dates are purported and good for your health. Here are the 10 benefits that you can get when you are consuming dates.

  1. Constipation - Regular consumption of dates can help avoid or ease constipation.
  2. Lowering Cholesterol Levels - Dates are antioxidants to treat different diseases. They protect your cells from any radicals that caused harmful reactions in your body.
  3. Promote Strong Bones - Rich with copper and magnesium, they are important nutrients to strengthen your bones.
  4. Boosting Brain Functions - Date contains Vitamin B which is beneficial for the learning and memory process. Regular consumption of dates can lower the risk such as Alzheimer's.
  5. Managing Weight Gains - Date extracts help to support liver health and also prevent liver fibrosis. Regular consumption of dates allows your body to detoxify natural way.
  6. Aids Weight Loss - Dates are high in fibre. If you’re consuming dates in the morning on empty stomach before a workout, they give a boost of energy and aid in healthy weight loss.
  7. Skin Vitality and Hair Growth - Did you know dates are an excellent source of Vitamin C and D? Both are crucial for maintaining your skin and accumulation of melanin which helps your hair growth.
  8. Expectant Mums - Eating dates in the later stages of pregnancy can promote cervical dilation and lowers the need for induced labour.
  9. Improve Heart Health - Dates rich with antioxidant properties which help to prevent cardiac diseases.
  10. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth - Dates are natural sweet fruit with natural sugar content. It can reduce your cravings for unhealthy sweet snacks. By the way, dates syrup is a great substitute for white sugar due to its natural sweetness.
Ajwa dates.

Ajwa dates.

Medjool dates.

Medjool dates.

Personal Health Experience

I have been an avid eater of dates. Since I was a kid I have been exposed by my mother that eating dates regularly will help improve our health. Until today, I am still taking dates for their health benefits apart from a religious tradition. My favourite dates are Ajwa and Medjool. Both are very popular dates in Malaysia. Ajwa is grown in Medina (Saudi Arabia). Their colours are ranges from dark brown to almost black (refer to photo below). They have a meaty, chewy texture and caramel-esque sweetness. In the meantime, Medjool is also known as the ‘king of dates’ because tends to be much larger than other dates. The flesh is sweet and moist with a chewy texture.

This date syrup is vegan, non-GMO, paleo, and contains less sugar than honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup.

This date syrup is vegan, non-GMO, paleo, and contains less sugar than honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup.

Besides the fruit, I have found an alternative method of consumption dates for my health improvement — date syrup. After moving to the United States, I had difficulty finding dates at the store. One day, I went to a store, and voila! On a condiment shelf, I found a decent-sized dates syrup in a bottle. I was surprised to see something like that in the store. I grabbed the bottle and put it in the basket. The syrup is made from 100% dates and it is a delicious superfood. The syrup is perfect for sweetening coffee or tea (I tried both and yes, they were yummy). Other than that, it is suitable for baking and drizzles on pancakes, waffles, yoghurt, marinating chicken or meats, and dressing on your salad.

References 8 Benefits of Dates

Mousavi, T., Rafiei, A., & Yoosefpour, M. (2014). Nutritional value and health benefits of dates according to islamic recourses and traditional medicine. Journal of Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, 24(117), 247-265.

WebMD: Medjool Dates: Are There Health Benefits?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Liza