Dates (Phoenix dactylifera) are definitely my new favorite fruit. So sweet, sugary, and soft, dates are a fruit lover’s dream come true. I started eating them about a month ago and every time I have one, I say to myself: “How was I living without dates before!?”
I used to think that dates were dried up plums, but I was incorrect. Dates are derived from the date palm tree that grows in Africa and Middle Eastern countries such as Iraq, Iran, et al.
There are 4 stages of date ripeness which directly correspond to the taste, texture, size, and sugar content of the date. So keep these in mind when shopping for dates.
- kimri (unripe)
- khalal (full-size, crunchy)
- rutab (ripe, soft)
- tamr (ripe, sun-dried)
My favorites are organic Medjool Dates that can be purchased at Trader Joe’s stores around the country. I’d say that Medjool dates fall into the tamr category of ripeness. They are very soft, very sweet, and are sun-dried.
An Ancient Fruit
Dates are estimated to have originated in the Persian Gulf area, and had been grown during the ancient era from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, perhaps as early as 6000 BC. In 1765, Spaniards introduced dates to California — where the transformation of the fruit called “Drupe” came to be known as “Date”. It was considered a part of good hospitality to serve a bowl of dates to a guest, a tradition that still continues in many cultures in and around the middle east.
Dates Nutrition and Health
- Dates are a good source of vitamin C
- Good energy booster with 230 kcal of energy / per date
- Fat and cholesterol free
- Good source of fiber
- Contains sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B-complex
- Contains more than 20 different amino acids
- Contains Selenium (lowers risk of cancer and heart disease/builds immune system)
- 23 calories/per date
However, keep in mind that dates are high in sugar, so don’t consume too many at a time as too much sugar from any source, including naturally occurring in fruits, is not good for the body. The sugar content is dates is between 60 to 70 percent of their weight. An eight pitted bunch of Medjool dates – that’s about 7 ounce – has 550 calories, 150 grams of carbohydrates and 3.5 grams of protein. The best thing is there is almost negligible fat content in this serving.
Cleansing Power of Dates
Dates are high in tannin content which makes them great for cleansing your body and keeping your intestinal track healthy.
I’ve also been told that dates are the perfect food for breaking a fast. They’re soft, so they’ll be easy on your body after that long fast.
If you haven’t experienced the amazing taste of dates yet, what are you waiting for? Go get some. Now. These little dried fruits are absolutely amazing, not to mention their powerful healing capabilities.
Who wants to go on a date?
Or… at least…. eat some dates with me?
David Askaripour, a prominent blogger based in New York, writes on the subject of natural healing among other things. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Television Talk Shows, books and local news channels.