Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree that is grown in nearly all tropical regions of the world. Their popularity has increased by far and large in the recent past. Before selling them in western markets, they are dried. The skin of the dates is the primary signal that indicates the dryness of dates. Smooth skin indicates freshness whereas wrinkled skin indicates dryness.
Fresh dates are comparatively smaller in size and range in color from bright red to bright yellow. They possess a sweet flavor. They have been grown and used in abundance in middle east countries. They are the go-to food and can be grown even in the harshest of environments.
Their nutritional value is often misunderstood. This article will highlight the nutritional importance of dates.
1. They are very nutritious
Dates enjoy a nutritious profile. In dried form, their calorie content is far higher than many fresh fruits. Raisins and figs resemble their calorie content a bit.
Most of the calories in it are derived from carbohydrates. Proteins also contribute to its calorie content. Apart from their calorie content, it contains some important vitamins and minerals [Fe, Mg, Cu]. Vitamin B6 is the main vitamin in it.
2. Rich in fiber
Fiber is of immense importance to the body. A 100-gram diet of dates contains 7 grams of fibers. Fiber plays an integral role in strengthening the digestive system. It can prevent conditions such as constipation. Studies have shown that people using dates often have less chance of catching digestive-related diseases.
The icing on the cake is that the fiber in it is also a remedy for a high blood sugar level. Fiber slows down the digestive process and prevents blood sugar levels from spiking.
3. Enhancing the immune system
You will be surprised to know that dates are home to several potent antioxidants that help the body in fighting against foreign particles. Antioxidants protect cells from free radicals. Dates lead the charts among fruits with high antioxidant levels.
Flavonoids are a type of antioxidant found in dates that reduce inflammation and have the potential to combat Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancers. Carotenoids that are known to improve heart and eye health are also found in it.
4. Improving brain health
Eating dates may help in improving brain functions. Studies have shown that consuming them helps in lowering inflammatory markers such as interleukin 6 in the brain. If its levels go unchecked it can cause serious complications.
Additionally, studies have shown dates can help in resisting the activity of beta protein which is responsible for forming plaques in the brain. Plaques inhibit communication between brain cells which can lead to cell death.
5. A natural sweetener
Dates are an excellent source of fructose which happens to be a sweetener. Fructose gives it its characteristic sweet and subtle caramel-like taste. They can also be used as a substitute for white in diabetic individuals. Date paste is used for this purpose. According to a rule of thumb, the ratio between white sugar and date paste should be 1:1 to replace.