Wonderfully delicious, bursting with natural sugars and intense flavors, dates provide a storehouse of energy and life-sustaining nutrition.
Crowning the tops of towering, slender palm trees, dates grow in heavy clusters of oblong amber to deep brown fruits, 200 or more in a cluster weighing up to 25 pounds. The tree, growing to an impressive height of 100 feet, produces 100 to 300 pounds of fruit annually, often living more than 100 years.
Date palms are some of the oldest cultivated plants in recorded history. Since biblical times, the date was believed to possess profound healing properties. Science today is finally catching up in confirming its powerful medicinal benefits:
Rich in potassium: Found to be a very rich source of potassium, dates help reduce cholesterol, lowering the risk of stroke. Potassium is an important element of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and support healthy blood pressure.
Rich in magnesium: Dates contain high levels of magnesium, a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, effectively reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other inflammation-related health ailments, as well as lowering blood pressure.
Excellent source of iron: Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. About 10 dates supplies 11 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of iron.
Rich in other minerals; moderate in vitamins: Dates, rich in calcium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium and copper, provide minerals for supporting strong bone health and fighting osteoporosis. They contain moderate levels of B-complex vitamins with B-6 topping the list, aiding in the metabolism of food and the formation of new blood cells, as well as improving brain performance. Dates are infused with Vitamin A, known to have antioxidant properties essential for vision, to be effective against macular degeneration and night blindness, and is also required in maintaining healthy mucous membranes and skin.
High in fiber: Because of the whopping fiber content, dates are an effective natural remedy for constipation. They can also alleviate diarrhea as their high levels of soluble fiber and potassium provide bulk. Consistent intake helps to inhibit the growth of pathogens in the digestive tract, while enhancing the growth of beneficial bacteria. Just four dates provide nearly 7 grams of fiber.
Pregnant and Nursing Mothers: “In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who ate 6 dates a day for 4 weeks prior to their delivery date had improved cervical dilation, less damage to membranes, more spontaneous and shorter labor times and required less drugs.” www.naturalhealth365.com/benefits-of-dates-1974.html
Dieticians consider dates the best food for breast-feeding mothers, as they contain components that enrich breast milk with nutrients needed for healthy child development and resistance to disease.
These little nutrition bombs, consumed in moderation, can be used to sweeten recipes in place of sugar. Use as an adhesive agent in raw baking and in energy bars; add to cereals and fruit salads or use to mask greens in smoothies; stuff with nuts and roll in coconut. Its buttery, caramely sweet flavor and beneficial health qualities will bring natural sweetness to food and wellness to the body.
|1 cup pitted dates, packed||½ cup hot water|
|Combine dates and hot water in bowl. Let soak about 5 minutes. Place dates and liquid in blender and process until completely smooth. Store in closed container in refrigerator. Use in place of sugar in favorite recipes, as a spread or dip on fruit pieces.|