Some eat them for dessert because their high content of sugar gives them their sweet taste. Others don’t even want to look at them because they don’t like their peculiar shape and color. However, dates are indeed valuable for your body, as long as you don’t overconsume them!
What are dates and what is their history?
Dates, my friends, are the fruits of palm trees, and more specifically phoenix dactylifera, also called date palms. This tree became a part of our lives thousands of years ago – probably since 4,000 BCE. According to archaeological sources, they grew them in Mesopotamia and Egypt. However, many archaeologists claim that various findings have led them to believe that date palms existed 50 million years ago! In ancient times, like today, there were various kinds of dates. However, there were two basic categories: small, drier dates and larger, fluffier dates, also known as “king’s dates”. The smaller ones were meant for the slaves, while the larger ones were eaten by the masters. In modern times, the slaves-masters’ status no longer applies, however, the two date categories still do. Larger and fluffier dates have a better taste and a higher price. Even nowadays, the country with the larger date production is still Egypt, followed by Iran, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (the dates in the photo are from the UAE), Iraq, Pakistan etc.
How beneficial are they?
Dates contain – among others – potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, copper and are a good source of fibers. Thanks to magnesium, they have anti-inflammatory effects and at the same time, help reduce hypertension and therefore, reduce the danger of a stroke. Fibers contribute to the smooth functioning of your digestive system, while iron combats anemia. Finally, they mitigate hunger and limits your craving for something sweet because they are themselves sweet :-) As we’ve said above, you must not overconsume them (2-3 dates/day) because they have a high content of sugars. What does that mean? That overconsuming them might have negative effects on your health, for example, an increase in blood sugar, weight gain, diarrhea, stomach pain.
How to consume them?
Mainly, we eat dried dates. How? We add them to smoothies, yogurt, and desserts. In addition, we add them to homemade cereal bars, make cookies and delicious chocolates with them. Because they are a good source of carbs, it is very good to eat them before working out (not just for athletes but for everyone). I have some amazing recipes with dates which I’m sure you will love!