Frankly, I know that above looks like… well, poop. But we’re actually talking about…
dates dates dates!
They’re heavenly things.
Sweet, chewy, caramely pockets of goodness. Don’t you think so?
Scroll down for:
- why dates are such a powerful force for health
- ways to use them
- hot tips
But first, you gotta learn a thing or 2 about these bad boys…
Dates are the fruit of a date palm tree.
Seen one of those before? Me neither. Here you go.
They’re high in some important nutrients and you can use them in so many ways!
Don’t believe me? Check out the infographic we made for you above.
And – this sweet little info-morsel below blew-my-mind….
Did You Know?
Not getting enough fibre (combined with having too much processed sugar) creates inflammation, which both:
a) stops your body from producing enough serotonin (our feel-good hormone)
b) blocks the serotonin receptor in our brain, so the serotonin our body doesmanage to make, barely even registers!
So… getting enough fibre [hello dates!] helps us feel gooood, and lowers our risk of depression.
Thank you to Dr David Perlmutter for that amazingness.
And that’s not all! Let’s talk Antioxidants.
Dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content of similar types of dried fruits.
They protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease.
Think heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
So that’s a good thing.
These 3 antioxidants found in dates are to thank.
- Flavonoids: Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.
- Carotenoids: Carotenoids are proven to promote heart health and may also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
- Phenolic acid: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Because of the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals found in dates, along with their high fibre content, they’re classed as a ‘functional food’.
(‘Cos they “serve a function” in our bodies. Cool concept huh.)
High in fibre, they also have high levels of selenium, copper, potassium, magnesium, and moderate levels of manganese, iron, phosphorus, and calcium.
A word on Alzheimer’s
Dates may be helpful for preventing plaques from forming in the brain, which is important for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Dates may promote and ease natural labour when eaten during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The role dates may have in pregnancy is likely due to compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors and appear to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes labour contractions during childbirth.
Not only that, dates contain tannins, which are compounds that have been shown to help facilitate contractions.
They’re also a good source of natural sugar and calories, which are necessary to maintain energy levels during labour.
A final word before… the Recipes
It’s important to remember that although dates are high in fibre and nutrients, they’re still fairly high in calories and best consumed in moderation.
Replace the more expensive Medjool Dates with Pitted Dates in most recipes by doing this
Just soak ’em in hot water for a few minutes, and they’ll be super soft – ready to blend up easily for bliss balls or a variety of desserts.
How to Make Date Paste (a healthier sugar sub)
Date paste is a highly nutritious substitute for refined white sugar (we know regular sugar does our body and mind NO favours!).
Turning dates into a paste sounds like quite a task but it is as easy as soaking them in water and blending them up the next day. Date paste stores well and is easily added to anything that requires some extra sweetness.
Curries, smoothies, cereal, overnight oats, as a bread spread or in date bars.
Use as a 1:1 replacement for a granular sugar. Cookies will come out a little softer and cake-like, but still amazing.
When replacing maple syrup, use double the amount of date paste than syrup that the recipe calls for.
- Fill a jar with very tightly packed dates, and just cover with water.
- Soak for 30mins to 8 hours.
- Empty jar into a food processor.
- Optional: Add a pinch of salt and a little vanilla.
- Blend until paste is creamy. This can take 7-8 mins. (It might be tempting to stop after a minute or two, but don’t. While the taste will be the same, the texture will improve!)