The Superfood Called Dates
Dates may be a popular fruit of choice in certain cultures, but it is not widely appreciated by everyone– and it’s a pity. Dates make delicious smoothies, chocolate treats, and tons of other delicious foods. And they are even tasty by themselves. They also have a surprising number of health benefits.
Dates aren’t just an under-rated member of the dried fruit family – they’re also considered a superfood. “Superfood” is a fairly new term used to describe foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits for minimal calories. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and work wonders if you’re trying to sober up. They’ve even been known to work well as aphrodisiacs.
The proper name for dates is actually Phoenix Dactylifera, and they are stone fruit grown from date palm trees. The word “date” has Greek origins and is derived from “Gaktulos,” which means “fingers.” The most common types of dates are the Medjool and Deglet Noor dates. They are prevalent in the Middle Eastern countries, with the largest producer being Egypt. Dates are indeed high in sugar compared to other fruits, but that doesn’t mean you should nix them from your diet. Here’s why!
Dates are high in polyphenols which are antioxidant compounds that battle inflammation, improve digestion, protect against heart disease, and prevent some cancers. Antioxidants work by neutralizing free radicals that cause oxidative damage in the body. They prevent skin wrinkling, age spots, and blemishes. So regular consumption can lead to tighter-looking skin!
Fiber is crucial to bowel health, controlling blood sugar levels, and overall longevity. One serving (about 6 pieces) of Medjool dates has about 3 grams of fiber, which is over 10% of your minimum daily requirements. That’s a heck of a lot more fibers than you’ll find in a bowl of ice cream! Dates are considered low-GI food — which means they digest more slowly in your body, preventing blood sugar spikes after eating them. Fiber also leaves you feeling full for longer periods of time, which helps you snack less. The net result is a more stable blood sugar balance throughout the day.
Eating them alone is the easiest option, grabbing two or three of them is just as satisfying as any dessert. If you like to bake and you want to avoid using refined sugar, Dates could again be the answer. Just chop them up or puree them, and you can add them to muffins, sweetbreads, cookies, and just about anything else you would normally use sugar for. Smoothies, home-made power bars, oatmeal, you can mix them with so many things they just add so much flavor and sweetness.
Dates are loaded with healthy components that work together to provide numerous benefits to your body. And with so many delicious ways to incorporate them into your diet, you’re giving yourself a one-way ticket to better health. You’ll love the flavors, and you’ll love seeing all of the positive effects they have on your body — I know I have!
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