Break Your Fast With Mazafati Dates
With Ramadan approaching, it’s time to start planning for the healthy snacks you’ll be breaking your fast with — and specifically those that won’t cause you to overeat. So, why not break your fast with dates?
Believed to be the oldest cultivated fruit, dates have been a staple in cultures around the world for thousands of years, providing not only health benefits but also a healthy source of energy.
Let’s take a closer look at this fresh fruit.
What Are Dates?
Grown on large date palm trees native to the Middle East, dates are among the sweetest fruits in the world. In addition to being eaten by hand, this chewy, sweet fruit can be pureed into sauces, blended into smoothies, and used as a topping for sweet or savoury dishes.
Dates may be similar to other dried fruits like figs, raisins and prunes, but they’re entirely different in their colour, texture and taste. Depending on which variety you settle on — whether Mazafati or Organic Bam — dates may be sticky and chewy or firm and less sweet.
However, all dates are high in natural sugar. As they dry, their sugar gets increasingly intense, causing sugar crystals to concentrate and form outside of their flesh. When this happens, it means dates are not at their most ideal to eat as their flesh will turn leathery and dry; dates are at their best when they’re partially dehydrated.
Packed With Nutrients
Dates may be high in sugar and calories, but don’t let that scare you from trying them — they’re also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals.
Moreover, a 100 grams of dates yields:
- Calories: 282
- Protein: 2.5g
- Carbs: 75g
- Sugar: 63g
- Iron: 5% of daily intake
- Potassium: 20% of daily intake
- Copper: 18% of daily intake
● Magnesium: 14% of daily intake
Restores Energy Levels
Whether you’re feeling exhausted after fasting for Ramadan or exercising at the gym, dates can provide a boost of energy as they’re high in natural sugars like fructose and glucose. Many people around the world eat dates as a quick snack when feeling sluggish or lethargic and research shows the nutrients in dates may help regain energy levels immediately. Dates also contain iron which can help combat fatigue in those with iron deficiencies.
High in Antioxidants
Compared to other dried fruits, dates are rich in antioxidants and contain three notable antioxidants called carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic acid.
This is significant as antioxidants such as these protect the body by inhibiting the formation of harmful free radicals, support the immune system, reduce inflammation and prevent diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Great Source of Fibre
Because fibre is slow to break down, dates can benefit digestion by preventing constipation and encouraging regular bowel movements. In fact, research confirms this as a study showed consuming seven dates per day for 21 days improved stool and bowel movement frequency.
Additionally, dates are a diabetic safe food as they are low on the glycemic index scale and are less likely to spike blood sugar levels.
Blend into smoothies and juices or bake into cakes and pastries: dates are a natural source of fructose and a healthy substitute for sugar due to the nutrients, antioxidants and fibre they provide.
Supports Brain Health
Research shows dates may lower inflammatory markers that cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. They can also combat oxidative stress in the brain and can help with improving memory.
Date, Banana, Peanut Butter Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 4 to 5 pitted dates
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/4 cup ice
- Optional: protein powder
- Place ingredients into a blender; blend until smooth.
Date Sugar Paste
- 18 to 20 pitted dates
- 4 cups of water
- Bring water to a simmer and remove from heat.
- Place dates in water and let them soften for 10 minutes.
- Save 1.5 cups of the soaking liquid and drain the remaining water from the dates.
- Place dates and 1 cup of the reserved water into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer to a glass container and cover.
- 2 1/2 chopped pitted dates
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- Optional: 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Combine dates, sugar, and water into a saucepan.
- Stir frequently until thick. Stir in walnuts and cool.
- Sift flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Add oats and brown sugar.
- Add butter until the mixture is crumbly.
- Sprinkle 1 tbsp water over the mixture and stir.
- Pat half of the mixture into a greased 13×9-in. baking pan. Spread the date mixture on top, then cover with remaining oat mixture and pat lightly.
- Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.