As a child, I can vaguely remember the dates my grandmother kept in her kitchen - those little wrinkly things that were NOT plums. She used to trick us and put them in her muffins and cakes, but I knew better... I thought. I disliked the texture, the taste was too sweet, and they just didn't look all that appealing. Who wants to eat a wrinkled fruit? ...15 years later... I do!
Date palm is probably the most ancient cultivated tree in the world, and can even be found mentioned in the bible. Fossil records show that the date palm has existed for at least 50 million years and has been a staple food of Middle Eastern countries for centuries - with Egypt being the largest producer of dates today. With over 200 different types of dates to date the most widely grown are the Medjool and Deglet Noor.
The main health benefit of dates is fiber. Dates have a high fiber content (1/4 cup provides 12% of your daily value of fiber) - and there is no question that fiber has immense benefits for our digestive health, but it is important to be careful to not have too many dates...because we all know what that'll lead to.
Dates are also high in antioxidants and polyphenols, and they can help protect your cells from free radicals (unstable molecules that can cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease).
As a strong source of protein, dates are free from cholesterol and contain very little fat. By adding a small quantity of dates to your diet, you can aid in keeping your cholesterol in check and can even help with weight loss.
For all those expecting mommas, dates are a great addition in your last trimester, as dates have been studied for their potential to promote and ease labour...and I've yet to find a momma who's against an easier labour...
The role dates may play in pregnancy is likely due to compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors and appear to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body (oxytocin is a hormone that causes labour contractions during childbirth (1).
Additionally, dates contain tannins, which are compounds that have been shown to help facilitate contractions. With their fantastic source of natural sugar and calories, dates will also help those tired mommas maintain energy levels throughout labour (2).
It took time, but I can say that I have a newfound appreciation for the date - better late than never!
Now I just have to call my grandmother and let her know that, as usual, she was definitely on to something and was right again...
Now its time for you to make a date & start living Simpl today