Dates the sweet edible dry fruit which is always kept in our cupboards where only adults can reach it. Dates have been traced back to the Middle Eastern regions and experts say that there are more than 3000 varieties of it. It is considered to be one of the oldest cultivated fruit. Its scientific name Phoenix dactylifera comes from ancient Greece. They are particularly grown in the Canary Islands, Northern Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Mexico and the U.S. the state of California.
It is native to the deserts of North Africa and the middle east. High heat, access to water, and an arid climate in late summer and autumn is the best climate where date palms can thrive. The first two decades of the 1900s showed great promise for commercial cultivation. There is an annual date festival held in Indio California since 1921. The countries in the Middle East and North Africa produces a large number of dates and are known to be the largest producer of dates.
The colour of dates ranges from honey yellow, red to brown. they are available fresh or dried, they are very sweet with a rich, deep flavour and a lush, slightly chewy texture. The sweetest one is the Mahogany brown Medjool variety and it even tastes like toffee. Every kind of date grows on the tree known as date palms. They are also a natural substitute for sugar.
The date palms grow up to 75 feet(23 metres) tall and it is a cylindrical shaped fruit about 1-3 inches in length and an inch wide in diameter. Its stem is strongly marked with the pruned stubs of old leaf bases terminates in a crown of graceful, shinning, pinnate leaves about 5 meters long. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. More than 1000 dates may appear on a single bunch weighing 8 kgs or more. Palms begin to bear fruit in 4-5 years and reach full bearing in 10-15 years yielding about 40-80 kgs or more. They are known to live 150 years but fruit production declines.
The dried and fresh are available all year round but the fresh type are best around November to January. The fresh ones should be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Dried ones should also be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place and they will last up to a year. The fresh dates have high sugar content which intensifies when dried thus, fresh dates differ in both taste and texture from the sugared, desiccated, etc. Medjool is a variety of it which is very expensive than the other varieties because their harvest is more labour intensive.
The sweetness in it is accompanied by many sweet and savoury dishes which include meat, cheese and vegetables. They are of course a very good option for desserts on their own. In the whole world and in history dates have been considered a great and affordable source of nutrition comparable rice, wheat and potatoes. They are sweet and also full of nutrients Carbohydrates, Dietary fibres, Proteins, Minerals and Vitamin B complex. They are about 70% carbohydrates(equal ratios of glucose and fructose) calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
They are believed to have phytochemicals that help in lowering cholesterol and decrease the risk of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. As they are rich in calcium they are very good for bone health and reduce the risk of bone diseases like osteoporosis. The potassium content in it helps in strengthening the nervous system. As they are rich in iron it is often advised to people who are iron deficient and it also purifies the blood.
Soak a few dates in water and chew them in every morning for better digestion. The fibre content helps in bowel movement and relieves from problems like constipation. They also improve your skin health. Vitamin C and D helps in skin elasticity and also help in keeping your skin smooth. Plus they also come up with anti-ageing benefits and prevents the accumulation of melanin in your body.
Dates with milk is a combination that everyone should know about it. Being rich in various nutrients and fibre it also has many other things which promote a healthy life. Milk itself is very much necessary for our body. Having 2-3 dates with milk helps in bowel movements like constipation. They also help with anaemia as both milk and dates have iron which will increase your haemoglobin. If you are suffering from a cold and you want to get rid of it in a tasty way then dates with milk is your option. Take it with warm milk and can have the most promising results.
It also deals with tiredness and weakness in your body. This delicious duo helps in boosting energy in your body and gives you immense energy. It has glucose, fructose and sucrose which gives you instant energy. If you are suffering from Insomnia then eat 2-3 of this fruit and drink a glass of warm milk. You will surely have a good night’s sleep. It also helps in developing muscle strength as it has protein. The best time to have this is at breakfast as it will activate the brain cells and will help you to go through your day.
So, if you want to have all these amazing benefits from dates and milk you should consume them according to your requirement. Make it into a smoothie or have like it, doesn’t matter as long as the nutrients are consumed properly.