Natural wonders: Dates

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Including dates in your daily diet can yield a world of benefits, health wise and taste wise. 

Natural wonders - dates

For thousands of years, dates have been known as a staple food of the Persian Gulf. The word “date” has originated from Greek ‘daktulos’, meaning ‘finger’. These brown oblong fruits are an important source of food and energy in the desert areas. Dates are crunchy, juicy and have a small shell life. In the month of Ramzan they are extensively used by the Muslims to open their fast as they are a rich source of instant energy and vitality.

Dates and their rich nutrients

Dates are rich in dietary fibre and low in sodium, cholesterol and fat. They are flushed with minerals and vitamins such as sulphur, iron, calcium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B-6, copper and folic acids. They provide glucose and fructose - natural sugars that are far better than cane sugar.

Dates are also a good source of potassium, packing a punch even stronger than that of bananas. Such a healthy combination is rare to most of the fruits. Intake of two to four dates a day is sufficient to meet the body requirements of fibres, minerals and vitamins.

Dates are referred as the ‘crown of sweets’ and an ideal food for a balanced diet.

Health benefits of dates

The health benefits of dates are indeed vast. Incorporating dates into your daily diet can have many benefits:

  • Treat obesity: Dates satiate hunger and are therefore very effective in suppressing over-eating. They provides natural sugars to the body and lower the consumption of food.
  • Help prevent cancer: Dates are rich in natural fibre and are known to prevent abdominal cancer.
  • Protect the heart: Being low in cholesterol and fat, dates are very effective in lowering cardiac ailments. Intake of overnight soaked dates is found to be good for strengthening the heart.
  • They help in child-birth: Dates are rich in hormones that toughen the uterus, increase milk production in lactating mothers and also reduce blood loss after delivery. Ripe dates have an ‘oxytocin’- like substance that initiates contractions of the uterus at the time of delivery.
  • Good for lactating mothers: Depression associated with breast-feeding can be alleviated by dates.
  • Healthy bones:Dates are known to be rich in calcium and contribute to strong and healthy bones.
  • Dates reduce constipation: The natural dietary fibres in dates make them very beneficial in curing constipation.
  • Good for liver disease: Dates are easily digested and have low cholesterol and fat content, making them useful in treating liver diseases.  
  • Treat anaemia: Dates are rich in iron contend and folic acid, so they improve the haemoglobin content in the body.
Photographs via sxc.hu
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