By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
At this time of year Medjool dates are at their best. Soft, squidgy and so deliciously caramel-sweet it's hard to imagine that they could be good for you. 1.They are totally delicious !
But they are: Eaten in moderation Medjool dates are a good healthy snack.
The date palm is one of mankind's oldest cultivated plants dating back - forgive the pun - over 6000 years. That in itself should tell you that they can't be bundled into the same category as a Snickers bar or a Caramello koala.
Dates are the most common fruit crop grown in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and are also grown in California, The Canary Islands, North Africa, Pakistan and India. Today many of these countries including UAE, India and Pakistan are burdened with rising obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases related to diet and lifestyle. But that's not the fault of eating too many dates. A rising economy and increased consumption of food and food products which are not typical of their traditional diet is the root cause.
People need to get out dating again - (sorry !)
7 reasons why we like Medjool dates
2.Dates are high in both soluble and insoluble fibre and, as part of a healthy diet, which includes plenty of fresh produce, they will help to reduce LDL cholesterol. Lowering LDL cholesterol will reduce plaque sticking to the artery walls which ultimately can prevent blood flowing to the heart or brain causing heart attacks or strokes
3. A couple of dates in the afternoon is the best sweet - pick - me - up. Medjool dates are an excellent sweet energy snack. They are rich in carbohydrates and natural sugar however, despite their high sugars content, they are actually a low-medium glycemic index food and do not significantly raise blood sugar levels after eating. This means that dates will boost energy without the sudden energy slump that comes from many other highly processed carbohydrate rich foods.
4. Lower blood pressure. Just a couple of dates a day provides almost 10% of the recommended daily intake of potassium. Potassium is a vital nutrient to help to regulate the amount of sodium in the bloodstream - too much sodium increases the risk of high blood pressure and can also lead to heart attack and stroke.
5. Dates contain trace amounts of a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins which contribute to overall good health. These include calcium, fluorine, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, zinc, selenium, vitamins B1 thiamine, B2 riboflavin, nicotinic acid (niacin) and vitamin A.
6. The price - If you have control! A 500 g pack of dates will give you 9, two-dates-a-day serves and if you do the maths of that you'll find that's a heathier economy than buying that Snickers bar.
7. The taste ! Did I already mention that?