I can't stop munching on fresh dates today, so I decided to make a quick post about them!
|One word - yummy!!|
Dates grow on the palm tree belonging to the family of Arecaceae in the genus: Phoenix and scientifically named as Phoenix dactylifera. The tree is believed to originate in the lands on the banks of Nile and Euphrates Rivers of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Date palm is now grown extensively for its edible fruits under warmer climates across all the continents.
There are many varieties of date palm cultivated:
|Choose your date!|
Health benefits of dates
Wonderfully delicious, dates are one of the
most popular fruits packed with an impressive list of essential
nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are required for normal growth,
development and overall well-being.
Fresh dates compose of soft, easily digestible
flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. When eaten, they
replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly. For these
qualities, they are being used to break the fast during Ramadan month
since ancient times.
The fruit is rich in dietary fiber, which
prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. Additionally, the fiber
works as a bulk laxative. It, thus, helps to protect the colon mucous
membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to
cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
They contain health benefiting flavonoid
polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins.
Tannins are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and
anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.
They are moderate sources of vitamin-A (contains
149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and
essential for vision. Additionally, it is also required maintaining
healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in
vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
They compose antioxidant flavonoids such
as B- carotene,
lutein, and zea-xanthin. These antioxidants found to have the ability
to protect cells and other structures in the body from harmful effects
of oxygen-free radicals. Thus, eating dates found to offer some
protection from colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and
Zea-xanthin is an important dietary carotenoid
that selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea, where it
thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering
functions. It thus offers protection against age-related macular
degeneration, especially in elderly populations.
Dates are an excellent source of iron, contains 0.90
mg/100 g of fruits (about 11% of RDI). Iron, being a component of
hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying
capacity of the blood.
Further, they are very good in potassium. 100 g
contains 696 mg or 16% of daily-recommended levels of this electrolyte.
Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help
controlling heart rate and blood pressure. They, thus, offers
protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
They are also rich in minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, and
magnesium. Calcium is an important mineral that is an essential
constituent of bone and teeth, and required by the body for muscle
contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse conduction. Manganese is
used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide
dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells.
Magnesium is essential for bone growth.
Further, the fruit has adequate levels of
B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. It contains very
good amounts of pyridoxine
(vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin.
These vitamins are acting as cofactors help body metabolize
carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many
coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.
Here are some serving tips:
- Dry and soft dates are usually eaten out-of-hand.
- They can be stuffed with fillings such as almonds, walnuts, candied orange and cream cheese.
- They can also be chopped and used with fruit salad and in a range of sweet and savory dishes.
- Dates are also being used to prepare juice and Jallab (a type of syrup popular in the Middle East and made from dates, grape molasses, and rose water)
- I also love them blended with banana and strawberries! (or any other fruit)
- Another way of eating them is by rolling them in lettuce to make a roll.
- I love them tossed in salad.
- You can also blend them with bananas (or alone) and you have a salad dressing !
|Chickpea and date tagine : http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/chickpea-and-date-tagine/|
|Espresso-mascarpone stuffed dates - http://www.dinnersanddreams.net/2010/06/espresso-mascarpone-stuffed-dates.html|
|Maple date bars - http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/maple-date-bars-10000001120394/|
|Orange date nut bread - http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gale-gand/canned-orange-date-nut-bread-recipe/index.html|
|No bake date nut energy bars - http://www.ingredientsinc.net/2012/04/no-bake-date-nut-energy-bars/#.UP_kUPL4_uR|
|Fettucine with dates, feta cheese and spinach - http://www.theculinarychase.com/2011/06/fettuccine-with-dates-feta-cheese.html|
Videos that show you how to use dates! :
Creamy datorade: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzibGb1SMKU
Vegan Strudel : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwwvHz1ELb0
If all this didn't make you hungry and run off to buy some dates, I don't know what can :)
Denise o.b.o The Fabulous Team XOX