5 Proven Health Benefits of Eating Dates During Ramadan
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Overview

Dates are tropical fruit grown on palm trees in small clusters. They are uniquely sweet and are highly nutritious. When consumed, they rapidly replenish energy and invigorate the body.
In Ramadan, dates serve as an important food at iftar and suhoor. The sugar in dates keeps the energy level high, and its high fiber content also helps to control the appetite throughout the day. Dates have high carbohydrate content that packs a lot of energy in such a small volume, they help to quickly renew empty carbohydrate stores and thus, suppress sugar cravings. Breaking the fast with dates is a tradition rooted in the religious teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H), who was quoted as saying: “When one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates; but if he cannot get any, then (he should break his fast) with water, for water is purifying.”
In this article, we will learn about 5 proven health benefits of eating dates during Ramadan and beyond.

1. A Nutritious Energy Booster
Dates are rich in sugar and they provide an immediate boost of energy post long fasting hours. As dates are high in dietary fiber, they help to keep the energy for a longer period without any sugar crashes.
They are full of nutrition and several essential important vitamins and mineral in addition to a significant amount of fiber. Dates are also high in antioxidants, which may contribute to many health benefits such as cardiac and pulmonary health, making them one of the most ideal heart-healthy foods. The natural fiber in dates helps to regularize bowel movements and improve overall digestive health. Normal and healthy digestion also has a cascading effect of improving the other systems in the body like better nutrient absorption, better liver and kidney health and also keeps one mentally relaxed. Dates have significant nutritional content and can assist in meeting human dietary requirements.

2. Richin Protective Antioxidants
Dates are a rich source of natural antioxidants like tannins, carotenoids, sterols and polyphenols which have been shown to help reduce inflammation and manage the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and Parkinson’s disease. Antioxidants protect the cells from free radicals that may cause harmful reactions in the body and lead to chronic diseases.
The antioxidant potentials vary with different dates cultivars, date types and origins. In addition, the ripening stage of dates varies in antioxidants from one location to another.
Dates also contain anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antimicrobial compounds, which means they may also play a role in combating infectious diseases.

3. Natural Substitute for Sugar
Dates are a great natural sweetener and are considered lower glycemic index (GI) which can easily replace the refined sugar options. The fiber in dates helps balance out the sugar preventing such a drastic blood sugar spike. This along with the additional nutrients make dates a great sugar replacement.  
Fresh dates are a more nutrient-dense option with numerous health benefits and they can be used in oatmeal, milkshakes, smoothies, desserts, baked goods, or if you just need to kick a sugar craving. Other than these, date syrup and date paste can also be used as natural sweeteners. However, it is advisable to confirm with the doctor before consuming them if you are diabetic.

4. Strengthens Bones
Dates are rich in copper, selenium and magnesium which are very important nutrients to keep the bones healthy and prevent conditions such as osteoporosis. It is also rich in vitamin K which helps to regulate the clotting of blood and helps metabolize the bones. According to research, dates contain minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc as well as phosphorus which helps to improve bone health.

5. Supports Immunity & Digestive Health
Dates are a great source of fiber that supports good digestive function and may help prevent constipation and inflammation in the digestive tract. Normal and healthy digestion also has a cascading effect of improving the other systems in the body like better nutrient absorption, and healthier liver and kidney function.
Studies have also shown that dates can have a stimulating effect on the immune system. Moreover, dates also contain high amounts of phenolic compounds and carotenoids (both of which have considerable cancer-fighting properties) which are thought to play a role in supporting the immune system.

Conclusion

Dates are considered a superfood with rich sources of natural sugar, fiber, vitamins and minerals. From strengthening the immune system to promoting heart and brain health, dates have an array of proven benefits.
Instead of limiting the consumption of dates to Ramadan only, it is advised to consume them throughout the year to reap the benefits. However, just like any food, dates should be consumed in moderation and eaten within a varied diet. Eating 3 to 6 dates a day should be enough for an individual to absorb all the health benefits dates offer.
So, next time you wish to satisfy your sweet tooth, dates could be a good option.

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