If you are vegan and enjoy anything sweet then you have probably tasted a date.
July’s Vegan Little Life Box had a lovely package of Yupik Organic Dates which one could enjoy on their own or add to a few other simple ingredients and make an amazing vegan dessert. Our favourite vegan dessert book that includes dates is “Rawsome Vegan Baking by Emily Von Euw”.
Dates are considered the oldest cultivated fruit in the world: Fossils show date palm trees thrived 50 million years ago. The fruit of the date palm was eaten as far back as 5,000-6,000 B.C.E., and they've been cultivated for about 6,000 years in the Middle East. More and more people are realizing that what you put on your body is as important as what you are putting into your body and dates are no exception. stylecraze.com has an excellent article explaining the benefits of dates. (1)
When it comes to the number of minerals, vitamins, and health-benefiting phytonutrients in dates, suffice it to say there are a lot of them. First and foremost, they're easily digested, allowing your body to make full use of their goodness.
Dietary fiber in dates helps to move waste smoothly through your colon and helps prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol absorption by binding with substances containing cancer-causing chemicals. The iron content, a component of hemoglobin in red blood cells, determines the balance of oxygen in the blood. Potassium, an electrolyte, helps control your heart rate and blood pressure. B-vitamins contained in dates, such as the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin, absorb into the retina to maintain optimal light-filtering functions and protect against macular degeneration.
They contain vitamins A and K. Vitamin A protects the eyes, maintains healthy skin and mucus membranes, and even protects the lungs and mouth from developing cancer. Tannins, which are flavonoids as well as polyphenolic antioxidants, fight infection and inflammation and help prevent excessive bleeding (anti-hemorrhagic). Vitamin K is a blood coagulant that also helps metabolize your bones.
Together, these cofactors help your body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Eating dates in moderation can contribute to many health benefits, such as protecting against damage to cells from free radicals, helping preventing a stroke, coronary heart disease and the development of colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. (2)
Personally I have added dates to smoothies for extra fibre and sweetness. A good tip is to blend them into a smooth paste before you do anything else or you might be chewing your smoothie! One could also just nibble on a single date, close their eyes and imagine that you are on the ancient sands of Egypt (hopefully being fanned with palm prawns)