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Nutrition

Perfect Dates


dates

Whether you are looking for a sweet treat with natural goodness or a nutritionally packed snack to fight fatigue; dates easily qualify as a perfect choice for most health enthusiasts. High in carbohydrates and fiber and rich in exotic taste and health benefitting minerals, dates offer a healthy addition to any diet.

Dates are believed to have originated from Middle Eastern and South Asian countries, especially the lands around Persian Gulf and river Nile. Dates are nowadays extensively grown in warm climates across Africa, Europe and Asia. The date fruit belongs to the ‘drupe’ category having a fleshy outer layer and an inner hardened pit with a seed. Date variants are available either as soft (Medjool, Khadrawy), semi dry (such as Deglet Noor) or dry form( like Thoory variant). The popular and revered cultivars include Medjool, Khadrawy, Amer Haji, Khalasah, Kenta, and Khajoor.

Nutritional value of Dates

Besides being cholesterol free and loaded with dietary fiber, dates also enjoy an impressive list of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These energy dense delicious fruits are rich in potassium (needed to counter hypertension), calcium (bone and dental health), selenium( immunity boosters), magnesium and copper. Dates contain powerful antioxidants (chiefly carotenoids), the entire range of B complex vitamins (primarily B6, niacin and folic acid) and amino acids. 100gms of fresh dates provide approx 400 kcal, so one must be careful about nibbling too many dates, especially if you are watching your weight.

Health Benefits
• Being fairly dense in calories, simple sugars (glucose and fructose) and iron, dates are recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers and growing children. The energy is released instantly and the body feels revitalized; precisely the reasons for which dates are preferred to break day long fasts during Ramadan.
• The tannins present in dates exhibit anti inflammatory and disease fighting qualities.
• Dates contain considerable amount of vitamin A (approx 150IU per 100gms) and thus good for vision and healthy skin.
• Consuming soaked dates with warm milk work as natural laxatives and helps to cut down on ‘bad’ cholesterol absorption in the body. They also help in improving digestion and reducing intestinal and liver problems.
• Dates are considered beneficial for weight gain, regularizing menstrual woes, building stamina and reducing alcohol intoxication.
• Eating dates leave an alkaline residue in the gut and aid in countering acidity.
• Apply a dates, cream and wheat germ oil based face mask to keep aging spots and skin dryness at bay. Blend together dates, honey, cucumber juice and oat flakes; apply as face pack to enjoy blemish free and nourished skin.

Soft dates can be eaten just like that as snack or stuffed with nuts, cheese, cream or spices. Fresh and dried dates are enjoyed sprinkled over cereals, porridges, salads and milk shakes. Chopped dates find place in many regional sweet and savory delicacies, ranging from date cakes, cookies, puddings and breads to date juice, date sugar, chutneys and traditional Jallab teas.

RECIPE

Date Pancakes

Dates- ½ cup
Flour- ¾ cup
Buttermilk- 1 cup
Salt- ½ tsp
Butter-1 tbsp melted
Method
• Microwave chopped dates with little water for 30 seconds.
• Stir in flour, buttermilk and salt and bring to pouring consistency.
• Add spoonfuls of batter on heated skillet, cook on medium heat till both sides are done.
• Relish with honey, syrup or fresh fruits.

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