Sunday, 29 January 2012

Dates: Natural Weight-Loss Food


Dates are among the most ancient of fruits, growing along the Nile as early as the 5th century B.C. Perhaps the Egyptians knew dates' sweetness hit a bounty of nutrients. Dates are nuggets of nutrition that satisfy a sweet tooth, making them ideal snacks to stave off hunger. True, dates provide more caloriesthan most fruits, but they make a great substitute for processed sweets, like candy, to help you stick to your weight-loss routine.
California dates are sodium-free, fat-free, cholesterol-free, and a good source of fiber -- all of which are important factors in keeping the pounds off. Learn about this sweet fruit and how it can help slim your waistline and improve your overall health.
 Dried dates contains large amount of calories than fresh dates. For example, 4 oz fresh dates contain 100 calories while 4 oz dried dates contain 250 calories. Dates are advantageous for anemia, constipation and fatigue. Clean and fresh dates boiled with milk, is a very nourishing and restorative drink to children and adults alike, especially during period of recovery. Dates are valuable medicine due to their tonic effect. Also, it will strengthen the heart. They are easily digested by the body so it is very useful for supplying energy and repairing waste.

Health Benefits

Loaded with fiber -- both soluble and insoluble -- dates are able to fill you up and keep your bowel habits regular. They are an excellent source of potassium and provide numerous other important vitamins and minerals -- quite a powerhouse packed in a tiny, portable package.

  • The nicotinic content in dates makes them an excellent cure for intestinal disturbances.
  • Dates are effective in preventing abdominal cancer, discovered by researches.
  • Since dates get digested very easily, they are used for supplying quick energy and repairing waste.
  • Dates contain also Vitamin A1, B1, B2, B3, B5, C and more than 20 different amino acids; they help us digest and assimilate carbohydrates easier and control blood sugar levels and fatty acids content in our bodies.
  • The selenium present in dates, lowers the risk of cancer and heart diseases, as well as helps us keep our immune systems healthy.
  • The fruit is rich in dietary fiber which prevents dietary LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. It is also a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and as well as binding to cancer causing chemicals in the colon.
  • Also, dates are rich in potassium. So, it helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.
  • Iron present in dates, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.
  • It is also rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are found to be protective against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers.
  • For alcoholic intoxication, drinking water, in which fresh dates have been rubbed or soaked, is said to be quite effective.
  • Due to dietary fiber, dates have been found to be beneficial for those suffering from constipation.
  • Studies have shown that consumption of dates, soaked overnight and crushed, is good for those who have a weak heart.
  • Regular consumption of dates has been found to check the growth of pathological organisms and help in the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
Selection and Storage
Most supermarkets stock fresh dates in the produce section and keep dried dates near raisins. For both types, look for plump fruit with unbroken, smoothly wrinkled skins. Avoid dates that smell bad or have hardened sugar crystals on their skins.
Packaged dates are available pitted, unpitted, or chopped. Dried dates keep for up to a year in the refrigerator. Fresh dates should be refrigerated in tightly sealed containers; they'll keep up to eight months. If stored in the kitchen cabinet, they'll stay fresh for about a month.
If dates dry out, they can be "plumped" with a little warm water, fruit juice, or for fancier dishes, your favorite liqueur. Don't store dates near strongly flavored items such as garlic. Dates tend to absorb outside odors.

NUTRITIONAL VALUES DATES, DRIED

Serving Size: 10 dates
Calories: 234
Fat: <1 g
Saturated Fat: na
Protein: 2 g
Dietary Fiber: 6 g
Sodium: 2 mg
Niacin: 1 mg
Pantothenic Acid: <1 mg
Vitamin B6: <1 mg
Calcium: 32 mg
Copper: <1 mg
Iron: <1 mg
Magnesium: 36 mg
Potassium: 541 mg
Vitamin K: 2.2 mcg.

Preparation and Serving Tips

Dates are great on their own, but for an extra-special treat, try stuffing them with whole almonds or chopped pieces of walnuts or pecans. For a spicy twist, tuck in a piece of crystallized gingerroot.
Adding dates to home-baked breads, cakes, muffins, and cookies adds richness and nutrition to otherwise ordinary recipes. And the natural moisture of dates adds to the quality of the final product.
Dates work well in fruit compotes, salads, and desserts. Chopped or slivered, dates can even be sprinkled on side dishes like rice, couscous, or vegetables. To slice or chop dates, chill them first. The colder they are, the easier they are to slice.
Remember, foods are quite often nutritious because of what they do not have. Fruits, such as dates, are important both for what they offer and for what they do not offer. California dates are sodium-free, fat-free, and cholesterol-free, which makes them a healthy sweet option.

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