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Dates are one of the best gifts of Nature

By | January 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

Dates

The date palm trees besides their known benefits over centuries have been one of the most important staple foods for the native population of Western Persia, Arabia andNorth Africaand have today a world wide production which is estimated to be over 7321090 metric tons per year. The dates were known for a long time to have established within the human nutrition especially in the oases of theArabian Peninsulaand the data study on the aspect of the nutritional values of the dates which showed its obvious contribution in the human heath when consumed with other food. Besides its economical values, date palm trees have shown an outstanding ability to be cultivated in arid areas and an ideal plant to combat desert expansion.

The date palm has been mentioned in the many Holly books, including Quran and Bible.

Dates Ripe on treeThe word “Date” came from the Greek word “Daktulos,” which means “Finger”. In Arabic language the date palm is called “Nakhl,” the fruit is called “Tamr”. The date fruit and tree were very dear to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and it has been mentioned in the Holly Quran for more than 20 times.

Health benefits of dates

Date fruit is a soft fruit, high in sugars, has almost zero fats and protein contents, hence easily digestible. Dates provide instant energy and vitalize body and mind.

Dates are rich in fiber, which prevents dietary LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut. It is also a good bulk laxative. The fiber contents help protect the Colon Mucous Membrane by decreasing exposure time and dissolve cancer causing chemicals in the colon.

Dates contain Flavonoid Polyphenol Antioxidants, also known as Tannins. Tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies, i.e. essential for pregnant women during delivery maturity days) properties.

Dates are good source of Vitamin A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which has antioxidant properties and is beneficial for eyesight. Vitamin A also helps in maintaining healthy mucus membranes and healthy glowing skin. Regular consumption of Dates helps protection from lung and oral cancers.

Dates also have other Flavonoids such as Beta-Carotene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help protecting the cells and other structures in the body from lack of oxygen conditions and provide protection from blood colon and clotting, which can cause prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers. Also maintain the extra Vitamin E by absorbing it and keeps the blood in ideal liquefied form.

Dates are rich in Iron contents. Iron being a component of hemoglobin, in the red blood cells, determines the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood.

Dates have substantial volume of Potassium, which is an important component for cell and body fluids that help controlling heart rate and blood pressure; thus offers protection against stroke and coronary heart diseases.

Dates are also rich in minerals, like Calcium, Manganese, Copper, and Magnesium. Calcium helps to make bones and teeth stronger. Manganese is used by the body as an antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Magnesium is essential for growth of bones.

Dates also have Vitamin B-complex group as well as Vitamin K. It contains very good amounts of Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, and Riboflavin. These vitamins help body to maintain strong metabolism.

Medical Use

Dates have a high Tannin contents and are used in medicines as a detersive (having cleansing power) and astringent (improves healing power by causing contraction of body tissues and cells of skin and reduces minor damages) in intestinal troubles.

As a decoction (Kehwa, or similar to tea), syrup, or paste, dates may be administered for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh, and taken to relieve fever and a number of other complaints. One traditional belief is that it can counteract alcohol intoxications.

The powder of Date seeds is also used in some traditional medicines. Because of their laxative (simulative) quality, dates are considered to be good at preventing constipation (urinary, rectal and genital aliments).

 

A thick fluid that excretes from the wounded trunk of date palm is used inIndiafor treating Diarrhea and genital and urinary ailments. The roots are used for toothache.

Use in Food

Date fruits need no praise in the matter of food. It has been used as a major source of normal daily diet in Arabian Peninsula, Northern Africa and Eastern European territories. Still it is very popular and very common in these regions and across. In Muslim countries it is an essential part of every evening meal, in the month of Ramadan.

There are over 30 desserts made out of Dates. The most common and fundamental one is known as “Halwa / Halva”, similar to Pudding.

Halwa is dense, sweet confections (a set of food items which is rich in sugar), dessert. It is very common in Middle East, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, North Africa, The Horn of Africa, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Malta and in the Jewish world.

Recipe – Khajur ka Halwa

Ingredients:
250 gram Dates*
2 Cups milk
2 Table spoon Ghee (Vegetable fat or oil)

Pistachio, Walnuts, Cashew Nuts (or any Nuts of your choice) to garnish

1 table spoon Cardamom Powder (or use Cardamom seeds in solid form)
A pinch of saffron (for extra flavor and aroma), (optional)

2 to3 table spoon condensed milk or better to use Khoya (optional)
Pure Silver Leaf / Paper (vark) for decoration (optional)

Halwa Khajoor Procedure:

1- Wash and remove the seeds from dates. Put the Dates in a food processor and grind to a smooth paste, or you can also smash Dates by your hands.

2- Place milk, Dates paste and Sugar in a heavy based Sauce Pan and stir well to combine all three ingredients (milk, dates and sugar).

3- Cook it by stirring frequently for 20 to 30 minutes, or until all the water from milk is evaporated, and the Dates begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.

4- Add the Ghee, Almonds, Walnuts, Cashew Nuts, (or whatever your extra ingredients are).

5- Stirring continuously, fry the Dates mixture until the ghee is first absorbed by the Dates and then released little bit. The Halwa will be ready when ghee will begin to separate. *

6- Transfer into a bowl and add a pinch of saffron, Khoya / Condense milk and stir well to mix these.

7- Transfer to a serving dish and decorate with Silver Leaf.

8- Serve hot or cold.

Dates Halwa

 

* (If you like light and smooth Halwa, just let the condensed milk and moisture remains in the Halwa and you’ll have a different flavored, smooth and silly Halwa, just like molten ice cream. For this option you will need to cool it in refrigerator first, for about an hour).

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Category: Health

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