Thursday, 17 July 2014

Dates!

The fruit o! Not goin on dates with guys or gals o.
Fresh Dates
Dates are quite popular in the Northern part of Nigeria moreso during the fasting period (Ramadan). I have been having quite a lot of it of recent and i have to say it's very tasty and filling and has quite a no. of health benefits asides catering to my sweet tooth. The fresh ones are more of my favorite, very juicy! while the dry ones are more chewy, sticky and gooey. All dates are high in iron and potassium and are a good source of fibre.  
Dried 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 American Cancer Society declares that usage of one date on a daily basis assists in maintaining healthy eyes for one’s life time. One date each day can prevent eyes blindness. 20-35 grams of soluble fiber every day is sufficient.
  • Dates are referred to as an outstanding treatment for alcoholic intoxication. Dates offer fast comfort when it comes to alcoholic intoxication. 
  • The problem of sexual weakness/low libido can be countered by dates, as they are beneficial in increasing the body's sexual stamina. One needs to soak handful of dates in goat's milk overnight. Next morning, grind the dates in the same milk and add a mixture of honey and cardamom powder. This yields a tonic capable of increasing sexual endurance.
  • Dates consist of 20 different kinds of amino acids which facilitate the digestive process. This is why dates are easily digestible, and furnish the body with required energy for physical activities in about half an hour, after consumption. 
  • Dates are a high source of energy, with 100 grams of dates yielding about 300 kcal of energy. They are packed with 29 grams of natural sugars (glucose, sucrose, dextrose and fructose), 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 31 grams of carbohydrates. Therefore, the tiny date fruit can be appropriately described as an energy-boosting dry fruit.
  • Dates help in weightloss as they help you avoid overeating. The factor responsible for human hunger is shortage of sugar in the blood. Consumption of dates takes care of this shortage, and pacifies the feeling of hunger with its sugar content. Moreover, the dietary fiber and other nutrients in dates, gets absorbed by the body quickly, which prevents people from overeating after a day of fasting. Dates are nutrient-rich brown nuggets, that not only satiate the palate, but also provide a variety of nutrients to the body. Consuming a couple of dates when one's hungry will be a good idea, because it will help prevent binge eating. Enjoy the sweetness of dates along with its numerous health benefits!
  • Dates have been found to promote growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines. Moreover, the nicotine content found in dates is also believed to help cure intestinal problems. Pregnancy is a time when a woman experiences extreme bloating, constipation and other intestinal problems. Dates are an excellent remedy for such intestinal disturbances. However, women with gestational diabetes must control the intake of dates, unless otherwise specified by the obstetrician.
  • Loaded with soluble and insoluble fibers, dates not only help improve bowel movements, but also clears toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. In order to benefit from the laxative properties of dates, one should soak dates overnight in water. The soaked dates should then be ingested in the morning along with the water to gain the actual advantages. The roughage provided by dates increases bowel movement, thereby solving constipation issues. Pregnant women are advised to eat dates to alleviate constipation, because it is not only a high-fiber snack, but also contains lots of nutrients that are good for the growing foetus. 
  • While most of us are trying to cut down our weight, there are some people who are desperately trying to gain weight. Dates are high in calories, with one date corresponding to 20 to 60 calories (depending on the type). Including 5 to 6 dates in one's daily diet can help increase body weight. Dates, unlike junk food are a healthy way of gaining weight. If you don't like to eat dates as they are, you can also add dates to cakes, puddings, and other baked items to reduce the sugar content in them. Soaked and pureed Medjool dates, when combined with applesauce and added to cake batter, not only add moisture and texture, but also do away with refined sugar, added in the cake. Dates also add fiber and increase the nutritional content of the baked food item. If the dates purchased are not soft, microwave them along with a little water for a minute. Blend the softened dates in a food processor. 
  • 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 ß-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 pancreatic cancers. 
  • 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. Consuming dates on a regular basis can provide the body with the iron content it needs. Pregnant women are often advised to consume dates, so as to prevent iron-deficiency anemia in mother and child. However, since vitamin C is required for iron absorption, it's important to consume vitamin C-rich foods as well. Anemia patients are advised to eat several dates on a daily basis to raise their level of iron in the blood.
  • Dates contain fluorine, which is an essential mineral to slow down the process of early tooth decay. Fluorine is also known to keep plaque at bay by strengthening the tooth enamel. However, many people are of the misconception that tooth enamel can magically reverse tooth decay. This is not true. Tooth enamel consists of hydroxyapatites, which when brought in contact with fluorine forms hydroxyfluoroapatites, which is resistant to decay. This clearly means that fluorine helps prevent further tooth decay, but cannot reverse the decay process.
  • 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, manganesecopper, 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.
  • Dates are also seen to strengthen the uterine muscles and facilitates childbirth. A study (2007-2008) was conducted at Jordan University of Science and Technology, on pregnant women to analyze the link date fruits have on labor. 69 women were asked to consume 6 dates every day, for the last 4 weeks before their due date. On the other hand, 45 other women were also included in the study, who were not given any dates. After analysis of all their births, it was found that the women who consumed dates showed more cervical dilation, along with higher percentage of spontaneous labor in of women, as compared to those who didn't consume dates. The study noted that dates helped labor and spontaneous labor. However, more research has to be conducted in this field. 

Fresh Date
In the stores, one may come across soft, semi-dry, and dried types put for sale. At home, store them at room temperature in a cool place inside an air-seal container or in a refrigerator where they stay well for several months. You can also leave them out to ripen before eating them.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).
  • They can be chopped into tiny slices and scattered across cakes and puddings to ameliorate their flavor. 
  • Date paste can be mixed with yogurt, milk, bread, or butter to enhance their flavor.
There are several types of dates depending on the region/country they are grown i believe.

Do the necessary research and hop on the Date wagon (eating the fruit) y'all. lool!!
Toodles!XooX
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