What makes dates so popular with health conscious consumers? Dates have an impressive list of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which benefit health and over-all wellbeing. Among these are calcium, required by the body for muscle function, blood clotting and nerve impulse conduction as well as for helping maintain healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin-A is essential for vision and for healthy mucous membranes and skin. Iron is an important component of hemoglobin, which improves the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells. Finally, the potassium in dates helps control heart rate and blood pressure, thus offering protection against stroke and heart disease.
Dates are rich in the B-complex group of vitamins as well as vitamin K. They also contain pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), niacin, pantothenic acid and riboflavin. These vitamins help the body metabolise carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Vitamin K is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood as well as in bone metabolism.
Dates contain tannins, which have important anti-infective, anti-inflammatory and anti-hemorrhagic properties. They are also rich in beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants can help prevent colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers.
Dates are a great source of dietary fiber. Their soft, easily digestible flesh, made up of simple sugars like fructose and dextrose, replenishes energy and helps revitalise the body instantly. No wonder dates are ideal for breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.