Breaking fast by eating dates is a daily ritual that many of us are accustomed to during the holy month of Ramadhan. In fact, you're probably nibbling on some right now. But have you ever wondered why you break fast with dates in particular? Why not any other fruit? Or maybe even a vegetable?
The fact of the matter is, dates have a lot going for them! They are the superfood of the moment and are packed with a plethora of health benefits which make them the quintessential food for Ramadhan.
High nutritional value
It is believed that consuming one date a day is essential for a healthy and balanced diet. This comes as no surprise as dates are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, while being easy for our bodies to digest. One study concluded that dates are almost an ideal food as they contain a wide range of essential nutrients and potential health benefits.
When your blood sugar is low, you are more likely to feel hungry. This is an issue as it can lead to overeating. Fortunately, the rich nutrients and natural sugars found in dates can quickly replenish your blood sugar levels to alleviate the hunger pangs.
Boosts energy levels
Dates can give us the energy we need to get through the day as they contain large amounts of natural sugars such as glucose, fructose and sucrose. Given that they can rapidly boost our energy levels, often within half an hour of consumption, they are perfect for breaking fast.
Regulates bowel movements
Dates are packed with both soluble and insoluble fibre to supply us with our recommended daily intake. This fibre helps to move wastes along our colon to prevent constipation and promote healthy bowel movement. It also acts as a laxative which can help people who suffer from constipation.
Dates are rich in magnesium which has been found to reduce inflammation as well as the risks of inflammation-related health ailments such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. One study found that high levels of magnesium is associated with lower concentrations of certain markers of systemic inflammation.
Dates contain selenium, manganese, copper and magnesium. All of these minerals help us to develop and maintain healthy bones, while protecting against osteoporosis.
Improves heart health
Dates are rich in potassium, which helps to control our heart rate and blood pressure. This is essential for many body systems such as the heart, brains and kidneys to function properly. Many studies have shown that potassium reduces the risk of stroke and other heart diseases, so eating dates regularly can increase the health of your heart.
Improves eye health
It is said that eating one date a day helps you to maintain eye health and protect against night blindness. The reason behind this is because dates contain healthy amounts of vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and xanthin, which are essential for healthy vision and can help to prevent macular degeneration.
Prevents some forms of cancer
As previously mentioned, dates contain selenium. This mineral is believed to prevent and treat some forms of cancer. Dates have also been found to treat cancers of the abdomen, as well as protect the lungs and mouth due to their vitamin A content.
Iron is a component of haemoglobin in red blood cells and determines how much oxygen there is in the blood. As dates contain a high amount of iron, they are a great way to naturally treat iron-deficiency illnesses such as anemia.
So the next time you’re breaking fast with some dates, enjoy. Aside from curing your appetite, you'll be gifting your body with many healthy benefits too! We'll also got date recipes you can try!