WATCH: 6 health benefits of the tiny but mighty Date fruit
It is officially dates season in Qatar as owners of most local farms begin to offer the first harvest of the year at the Local Dates Exhibition, which kicked off at Souq Waqif earlier this week.
Although you may see this tiny brown fruit in local stores all year round, now is the season you get the chance to grab some of the most delicious, wholesome local varieties of the nutritious fruit that are grown with utmost care in the country.
Some of the most popular locally-produced dates include Khalas, Shishi, Khenaizi, and Barhi. All of these and some other varieties are available at the ongoing festival where at least 21000 kilograms of dates were sold on the first day!
If you aren't tempted to stock up on this delicious fruit yet, have a look at some of its amazing benefits:
1. Improves Bone Health
Most of us know vitamin D from food and sun is vital for bone health. But did you know that the mix of minerals packed into dates makes it a superfood for strengthening the bones?
Dates are rich in minerals such as copper, magnesium, selenium, and manganese, all of which play a powerful role in keeping the bones healthy and protect the bones against ailments such as osteoporosis.
2. Prevents Hair Loss
According to health experts, consuming a few dates every day can help avert hair loss.
This iron-rich fruit enhances blood circulation to the scalp, serving as a stimulus to hair growth.
Dates also contain vitamin B that can do wonders for your hair! This vitamin makes the hair follicles and hair roots stronger. Including dates in your daily diet will nourish your hair and prevent the risk of breakage.
3. Regulates Blood Pressure
Dates can be useful in lowering blood pressure levels. This is because they contain high amounts of potassium, a mineral that helps regulate blood pressure.
It is said that one Medjool date holds about 167mg of potassium, which is considerably higher than other fruits.
While the fiber in dates counterbalances the effects of sodium in your diet and lowers blood pressure, the magnesium in this magic fruit relaxes the muscles in your heart and blood vessels, consequently reducing blood pressure.
4. Improves Skin
Loaded with Vitamin C, dates can help maintain and improve skin's elasticity. The nutrients in this wondrous fruit can make the skin smoother. With the ability to retain the moisture level, dates also soothe and hydrate the skin.
What's more? This delicious fruit not only helps in keeping skin problems at bay but also holds anti-aging abilities.
5. Prevents Heart Ailments
Dates are considered as an excellent food choice to maintain a healthy heart.
This nutrient-rich fruit is a concentrated source of antioxidants that protect your cells from damage. Studies reveal that people who regularly consume foods rich in antioxidants have lower rates of heart disease.
Dates also contain anti-inflammatory properties that protect against heart disease by reducing chronic inflammation in the body.
Furthermore, they are a rich source of potassium, which plays a key role in reducing the risk of stroke as well as other heart-related diseases.
6. Promotes Brain Health
Dates have been found to offer protection against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain.
Regular consumption of dates has been associated with a lowered risk of neurodegenerative diseases and better cognitive performances in older individuals.
The tiny but mighty fruit holds a brain booster known as choline. This is a vitamin that facilitates better memory and learning. Having dates can be particularly helpful for those at risk for Alzheimer’s.
A few easy ways to include dates in your diet
Some of the simplest ways to include this nutrient-rich fruit in your diet include:
Dates as an appetizer
If you're looking for a quick-fix to satisfy your sweet tooth or an easy-peasy appetizer, stuff in some cream cheese or regular whipped cream into pitted dates. Top it with almond, cashew nut, or some chopped walnuts and voila you have a super yummy snack ready!
Dates in milkshake
There are a plethora of date milkshakes recipes available online that you could choose from but the idea is simple: deseeded dates plus milk blended together with no added sugar.
This is a perfect way to introduce dates to your kids' diet as well. Remember the drink is not only naturally sweet but a brilliant way to get those energy levels up!
Date Cake or Date Muffins
Simply use a food processor to turn dates into a paste, and you've got a highly useful and healthful sugar substitute. You can pop in some of this in a regular plain cake or muffin batter and add in some chopped dates for that extra flavor!
There are several other ways to incorporate dates into your diet such as throwing in some chopped dates to your salad, adding them to home-made granola bars, or rolling them up in some coconut date balls, among others.
What are some of the ways you have included the tiny but mighty fruit in your diet? Share your thoughts and suggestions with us in the comments below!
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