From the time they were discovered thousands of years ago, Dates have become one of the most renowned culinary and cultural delights of the Middle East and North Africa.Numerous studies have been done on their natural health benefits, but of course, most people just enjoy eating them for their rich, delicious taste. However, despite their popularity, several myths still persist about Dates up to this day.
It's time we dispel all these misconceptions and explore all the advantages these wonderful fruits have to offer in this edition of AllKurma's Dates Fruit Myth Buster.
Myth 1: Dates are full of sugar
Dates are indeed sweet and delicious. However, over the years people have been more conscious about their sugar intake, and have come to believe that all forms of sugar are bad.
The truth is, only refined or processed sugar (also known as sucrose) is truly bad for our health, and are usually found in carbonated drinks, fast food and sugary snacks. Instead, Dates are full of natural sugar (fructose), which is more easily processed into energy our body needs.
It is true that Dates contain a relatively high amount of sugar for their size. On average, a single Date contains about 4.5g of sugar. However, Dates are also considered a low glycemic index (GI) food, which makes them suitable to be consumed even by diabetics, as they will not cause huge spikes in blood sugar levels.
Where this is concerned, of course make sure you consume natural no added sugar dates and moderation is always the key, but to think that all sugar contained in Dates are harmful is untrue.
Myth No.1: FALSE
Myth 2: Dates are SUPER, SUPER good for your health
With the ever-increasing awareness on improving health, and global trends in healthy eating and achieving a better quality of life, Date fruits have since shot to fame and are recognised as a Superfood. Now everyone everywhere is talking about the Super in Superfood. But are Dates really SUPER? On that, you will get no argument from us. Dates are absolutely packed with nutrition. Where do we begin?
Date is a rich source of a variety of B-complex vitamins - thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid as well as folic acid, vitamins A and K. It is also high in fibre, protein, iron, potassium and antioxidants, the list goes on. Just by consuming 5 small to medium sized Dates provide a substantial amount of the body's daily nutritional requirements of vitamins and minerals.
The combination of all these nutrients ensures that Dates provide plenty of health benefits such as promoting good digestion, maintaining weight loss, improving skin condition, strengthening the nervous system and promoting good bone and teeth health, among others.
So, in fact, regular consumption of Date fruits is actually good for you to regulate your wellbeing and ensure you consume enough of the daily nutrient requirements.
Myth No. 2: TRUE
Myth 3: Dates are consumed mostly by Muslims
This misconception probably stems from the fact that Dates are often cited as a key food which Muslims consume when breaking fast during Iftar. However, this is not their only purpose as Dates are an integral part of Middle Eastern cuisine, not just during the fasting month.
Today, Dates are seen as a Superfood and exported all over the world, especially into western markets. You can even find Date palm trees growing in the US in warm climate states like California and Arizona!
What makes Dates extra special is that they can be eaten by people of all ages. They are a favourite snack for the health conscious, as they make a good alternative to refined sugars, and are known as a health food by athletes due to their high nutritional content.
And furthermore, if you do some reading, you will be pleased to find most fitness, endurance and high-performance athletes rely on food like Dates as their source of "fuel" be it for pre-workout, post-workout or recovery time.
Myth No 3: FALSE
Myth 4: Dates are seasonal
Date palm trees typically begin bearing fruit around April or May, with the fruits ready for harvest around four to five months later. However, once dried, Dates can be stored effectively for many months.
Dates can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 30 days and in the refrigerator for about four to six months. Dates freeze exceptionally well and can be frozen in airtight containers for up to a year.
Many dried Dates have a tendency to ‘sugar' after several months. If you notice a sugary film, simply wipe with a damp cloth, set a sealed container in the sun for a few minutes, or briefly microwave next to a small dish of water to rehydrate. It will not affect the natural taste of the Dates at all.
Myth No 4: FALSE
Myth 5: It's too much trouble to include in my diet
This is one of the most easily dispelled myths as Dates are known to be one of the most versatile fruits in the world and can be included in any diet in a variety of ways.
They can be eaten as a delicious snack, or can be chopped or sliced and added to a variety of sweet or savoury dishes, whether salads, stews or smoothies. Dates can also be soaked overnight in water to produce date-infused water. There is no limit to what can be done with just a handful of Dates.
Myth No 5: FALSE
Now we hope that you have learnt something new about Dates, be sure to try them out for yourself by clicking here.