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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

INDULGE YOUR SWEET TOOTH

Face it. We all have a sweet tooth. Whether you admit it or not, you have a "weakness" for sweets of one type of another.

The taste bud for sweet is on the tip of the tongue for a reason, suggesting this weakness is actually a strength in that it is in the interest of fitness. That is, if the sweets you choose are of the right variety. Indulging in skittles, snickers, m&ms and menthos and other empty calories is a recipe for weight gain and a host of health disorders, but by choosing fresh fruits and the water, fiber, and micronutrients they provide along with the sugar for rapid energy, you can ensure that your sweet tooth is in the best interest of your health, just as nature intended.

And when you think of healthy fruits, berries, apples, oranges, and melons may come to mind. But one fruit not commonly noted for its high health index is the date.

Phoenix dactylifera Linn, that is. That date palm is one of the oldest trees cultivated by man, with references dating back to Biblical times. And in folk-lore, dates are ascribed many medicinal properties. Dates have served as the staple food for millions of people around the world for several centuries. But in the West, they are relegated to a back-seat status, considered to be sweet nothings the indulgence of which could lead to weight gain and tooth decay. In short, dates have been hardly recognized as the health food that they are. And they are. Oh yes, they are. Studies on the health benefits of dates, although inadequate till recently, have refuted the dogma of dates as junk food and elevated them to the status of a medicinal food.

Dates contain ten minerals, the major being selenium, copper, potassium, and magnesium. Eating 100 g (315 calories) of dates can provide over 15% of the recommended daily allowance from these nutrients, in addition to B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Not the stuff of candies. Dates are also high in fiber and a good source of antioxidants, mainly carotenoids and phenolics. While low in protein, dates do contain over 20 different amino acids, some of which are not present in the most popular fruits such as oranges, apples and bananas. Rich in the simple sugars glucose and fructose, dates are sweet as can be, but many varieties are low GI foods that won't play havoc with your blood sugar levels. Instead they provide rapid energy in an easily digestible package.

There are many varieties of dates, the most available of which are deglet noor and medjool. Our favorite are medjool dates. Soft, sweet, succulent, they are the perfect snack or dessert, and go excellent combined with other fruits, especially bananas and apples.

The world production of dates has increased threefold since the year we were born (1973), outpacing the world's population growth, which has doubled in this time. The total world export of dates has also increased, indicating higher demand, which would explain the recent wave of price increases at our local market.

So eat dates today. Scientists have recently dubbed them an "almost ideal food" for good reason. Your food is truly your medicine.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214443

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18949591

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12850886

2 comments:

  1. So much happier when they are around! It's an easy go to when you feel the urge for something sweet and it is a pleasure you don't have to feel guilty about. <3

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  2. so very true, these words of wisdom xo

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