Small in size but big on nutrients, dates are perfect for breaking a long fast and a naturally sweet addition to any dish (or just to snack on!) beyond Ramadan.
And there are many reasons to — these ancient cultivated fruits that have thrived for thousands of years in the Middle Eastern region are both delicious and nutritious! From top quality choices such as the ever so popular ajwa to medjool and deglet nour dates, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the wide selection of dried varieties available at your nearest FairPrice store.
Continue reading to learn more about these 4 reasons why anyone can (and should!) eat dates during Ramadan and beyond.
1. Keeps your ticker….well, ticking!
A healthy heart is vital to keeping your immunity strong. Your heart pumps blood and keeps it flowing to bring oxygen to all parts of your body. Having a date or two a day is one of the best ways to keep your heart ticking like a clock — compared to similar types of dried fruit, dates appear to have the highest level of antioxidants¹. One of the three most potent antioxidants present in dates, phenolic acid is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that may lower unhealthy LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk for heart-related diseases².
Tip: Maximise their natural sweetness by soaking overnight and eating them the next morning! It’s perfect whether you’re breaking a fast or not.
2. Boosts fibre intake
One in four Singaporeans suffer from chronic constipation³ and dietary fibre can help by promoting healthy bowel function, as well as with controlling cholesterol and blood sugar levels. The Singapore Health Promotion Board recommends a daily intake of 20g for women and 26g for men⁴. So almost everyone can benefit from eating 100g of dates (3-4 pieces) daily as a single serving contains 7g of fibre⁵ that can meet such intake requirements easily!
3. Releases energy slowly
Dried fruits are high in carbohydrates and dates are no exception.For example, 100g of medjool dates contain roughly 66g of carbohydrates⁶ derived from sugar — and sugar contributes to most of its calorie count. However, despite their sweetness, dates are surprisingly low on the glycemic index (GI) scale⁷. Low GI foods provide a slow release of energy over time instead of an energy crash that can leave you feeling more tired than you were before!
4. Sweetens everything naturally
The natural sweetness from dates is largely derived from fructose. Ajwa and mariami dates have a particularly sweet, caramel-like taste with hints of honey and cinnamon. The former is also known as the “holy date” and is one of the popular choices to consume as a snack alone.
Dates even make a great healthy substitute for white sugar in recipes as they boast a better nutritional profile. Make this substitute easily by mixing together dates with water for an easy date paste to replace white sugar at a 1:1 ratio.
However you like to have your dates, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Enjoy more deals you’ll love for your Hari Raya celebrations at FairPrice today!
¹ A Vinson, J, Zubik, L, Bose, P, Samman, N, and Proch, J 2005, Dried fruits: excellent in vitro and in vivo antioxidants, National Library of Medicine, viewed 1 April 2021
² Eur. J. Lipid Sci. Technol. 2016, Natural phenolic compounds protect LDL against oxidation, 118, 677–679, viewed 7 April 2021
³ Chew, J 2015, Treating the different types of constipation, The Straits Times, viewed 1 April 2021
⁴ HealthXchange.sg 2016, Dietary fibre: health benefits, best sources of fibre and more, SingHealth, viewed 2 April 2021
⁵ Elliott, B, RD 2018, 8 proven health benefits of dates, Healthline Media, viewed 2 April 2021
⁶ NutritionData 2018, Dates, medjool nutrition facts & calories, Condé Nast, viewed 2 April 2021
⁷ Alkaabi JM, Al-dabbagh B, Ahmad S, Saadi HF, Gariballa S, Ghazali MA. Glycemic indices of five varieties of dates in healthy and diabetic subjects. Nutr J. 2011;10:59. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-10-59, viewed 2 April 2021