Due to a variety of health benefits, in some circles dates are lauded as the healthiest fruit on earth.
They are especially important for vegetarians because they contain some important substances which cannot be found so easily in foods of plant origin, such as “eye vitamins” and selenium.
In most parts of Europe, dates are usually available dried and hard, but after I tasted fresh, soft, Iranian dates that just melt in your mouth, this fruit has won my heart and palate!
No matter the type of dates you are consuming, your body will be grateful to you, and below you will find out why.
Dates are a fruit used in different parts of the world and are an important part of the diet in Arab countries. They are produced in 35 different countries covering the surface of about 2.9 million hectares. The main producers of dates are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, UAE, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, USA and some parts of Spain, Mexico, Yemen and Palestine.
Dates Outrun All Fruits When It Comes to Levels of Selenium
It is believed that dates are effective in treatment of cancer due to the amount of selenium they contain. More on selenium and its importance for health, and the foods that contain it read here.
Dates Contain “Eye Vitamins”
Dates contain lutein and zeaxanthin – the “eye vitamins”. Lutein and zeaxanthin belong to the group of carotenoids, and in humans, these two substances filter high-energy wavelengths of visible light and act as antioxidants and thus protect the retina from possible light-induced damage.
The study published in 2007 suggests that it is less likely for the macula to degenerate as people age if they consume foods rich in these substances.
Literal Food for Thought
Dates contain phosphorus, which is very beneficial to the brain. For this reason, dates are recommended in the diet of people who are engaged in intellectual work. Dates are quick to provide the brain and muscle with the needed energy because they contain natural sugars such as glucose, sucrose and fructose.
Dates contain chlorine, which protects teeth from decay. The mature date contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2 and niacin. The date is also a good source of sodium, magnesium, calcium and iron.
Dates Contain Iron
Dates are a rich source of iron and their daily consumption prevents anemia (they can also be used to treat iron deficiency) – 100 grams of dates contains about 10% of the recommended daily intake of iron. You can read more about vegetarian sources of iron here.
Dates Are “Healthy Candy”
The natural sugar in dates is the perfect alternative to refined sugars. Dates are easily digested and fight off that hungry feeling.
It is enough to eat 2 or 3 dates to reduce the craving for chocolate or some other candy; also, you will enjoy an incredibly sweet flavor that cannot be compared to the taste of industrial candy.
You can make a healthy dates spread (“homemade vegan Nutella”), or use dates as a natural sweetener in compotes and raw delicacies. By this point it should be clear as day that they are much healthier than candy sweetened with white, crystalline sugar.
Read the recipe for a healthy, raw dessert made of dates, hazelnuts and coconut.
I hope this post has inspired you to eat dates!