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Dates

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Dates are a delicious snack all on their own and great with other things. This dried fruit is often referred to as “nature’s power fruit.” Dates offer lots of versatility in the kitchen and are used as a nutrient-dense natural sweetener to replace sugar and artificial sweeteners, as well as being added to desserts, baked goods, trail mixes, and smoothies.

About Dates

There are several varieties of dates worldwide, ranging in size and sweetness. The flavor of this fruit is described as caramel-like. While they are oftentimes dried, dates can be eaten fresh as well, although the dried version provides a much longer shelf life.

Health Benefits

Dates are packed with nutrition and make a great addition to your daily diet. Studies have shown that when dates are consumed on a regular basis that they increase bone density and reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels. Below is a list of the nutritional value and health benefits of dates.

Nutrition:

Fiber – 6.7 grams

Magnesium – 54 milligrams

Calcium – 64 milligrams

Phosphorous – 62 milligrams

Potassium – 696 milligrams

Dates also contain a healthy supply of zinc, vitamins B6, K, A, and niacin, as well as important amino acids when can help prevent anemia and other ailments caused by nutritional deficiencies.

· Boosts Brain Health – The healthy fibers and natural antioxidants found in dates help reduce oxidative stress in the brain and have been shown to decrease inflammation. These health aspects of dates can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.

· Improves Digestion – Dates are also high in amino acids, iron, and electrolytes, which help support a healthy digestive system. These nutrients also help regulate the digestive system for individuals suffering from issues such as irritable bowel syndrome.

· Enhances Visual Health – The rich source of vitamins A and K found in dates may help prevent night blindness and decrease the occurrence of dry eyes, which can lead to vision problems.

The sugars in dates are all natural glucose and sucrose sugars, which provide the body with an energy boost. Many people consume dates prior to a workout because they provide energy fast.

History

As a member of the palm tree family, dates require warm climates and are grown in northern Africa, California, India, and the Middle East. The fresh fruit contains a single seed in the center and grow on the date palm tree, also known as the Phoenix dactylifera. Dates are available with or without seeds. Those without seeds are pitted manually because of the extra soft fruit flesh, making it impossible to pit them in mechanical pitters.

Historical data indicates that dates existed for thousands of years and is a staple food in the Indus Valley as Middle East, since approximately 4000 B.C. Dates were brought to the United States around 1927.

With the long shelf life of dates and the versatility they offer for culinary dishes, it makes a great staple for your kitchen.

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