Dates are an essential part of the aftar spread in every Muslim household across the globe during the month of Ramzan. Opening your fast with a date is considered Sunnah and the Quran mentions the word 23 times which is why dry fruit holds an important place in the Muslim world. Apart from religious reasons, have you ever thought about why millions of people break their fast with a khajoor and how many health benefits it has?
To understand more about this little goodness, The Current spoke to Lahore-based dietician and clinical nutritionist, Maria Nadeem Khan.
“Two dates are enough for fulfilling your nutritional needs,” said Maria, adding: “One date is almost 7 grams, and contains 20 calories, the same number of calories as one tablespoon of sugar. Hence you should be careful while consuming these and not over indulge.”
“A date contains a number of different vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, folate (folic acid) which are essential for the body,” said Khan.
Good for hair
Dates also contain pantothenic acid which is very good for the hair.
Helps to reduce blood pressure levels
People with high blood pressure should incorporate dates in their daily diet, said Maria, explaining that fruit contains potassium which helps in lowering the blood pressure level.
“Dates also contain a good amount of fibre, which helps people facing constipation issues,” she added.
Can be used as a replacement for white sugar
Talking about the best way to have dates, Maria said: “Though you can consume a date any way you want, you can also add it to a smoothie, in your oatmeal or even use it a natural sweetener, instead of using white sugar. Dates are a natural sweetener and can be used in many foods.”
She also said that dates are very good for people whose sugar levels drops frequently.
Helps in weight loss
Who would have thought but dates also help in weight loss.
“Dates help speed up metabolism and when our metabolism speeds up it helps in losing weight,” said Maria, adding that dates also help flush out toxins from the body. This detoxication of the body helps aid weight loss.
Reduces the risk of cancer
“Polyphenols in dates helps to reduce the risk of cancer,” said Maria.
Help you cope up with stress
Dates contain Vitamin B6 that can improve the performance of the brain by helping the body make serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin (a compound present in blood platelets) regulates mood and norepinephrine (an organic chemical that functions in the brain) helps your body deal with stress.
Research has shown that low levels of Vitamin B6 are linked to depression. When your brain is clear from stress, and in a good mood, then it is sharp and ready to learn.
Which type of date should you take?
Given that there are so many varieties of dates available in the market, we asked Maria which dates offer the most benefit to our bodies.
“You can have any kind of dates,” said Maria. “But Ajwa is the best kind of date as it contains calcium and phosphorus which helps make our teeth and bones stronger.”
Though dates are readily available in the market, we highly recommend dates from Dates Arabia, especially their Ajwa ones. Dates Arabia sources their products directly from Saudi Arabia and delivers fresh all over the country. They are also offering Ramzan deals to celebrate the holy month.