Dates, the tasty fruit of the date palm tree, are grown in tropical parts of the world. Although fresh dates are rare in the northern part of Nigeria where date palms are grown, dried dates are readily available in supermarkets and amongst northern fruit vendors. Dried dates are chewy and sweet with a lovely caramel-like flavour that will leave your taste buds wanting more. The sugary taste of dates may leave you feeling unsure whether they are a healthy alternative to processed sugar. Interested in finding out why we choose Dates as the perfect sugar replacement? Keep reading.
1. Dates are highly nutritious
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile. Since they’re dried, their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit, but they also provide beneficial micronutrients and some fiber. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be consumed in moderation just like every other sweetener, but even in small quantities, dates are packed with healthy benefits. for instance, a single date weighing 8g provides 23 calories, 0.2g of protein, 6g of carbohydrates, and 0g of fat. Dates are a good source of potassium, magnesium, and iron. Most of the calories in dates come from carbs. The rest are from a very small amount of protein. Despite their calories, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber.
Dates are also high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to many of their health benefits such as reducing the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancer. What’s not to love about this sweet treat of nature?
2. Rich in Fibre
One of the benefits of dates is that they’re rich in fiber, keeping your digestive system functioning well, promoting regular bowel movements, and preventing constipation. Fibre is also beneficial for blood sugar control, which is essential for treating and preventing diabetes. The fibre content in dates makes them a low-glycemic food, helping to slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes after consuming a meal. This is different from other sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup, which have higher glycemic indexes and contain less fiber.
3. Dates aid natural labour
Dates have also been studied for their potential to promote and ease late-term labor in pregnant people. These fruits may promote cervical dilation, lower the need for induced labor, and also reduce labor time. They are a natural source of sugar and calories necessary to maintain energy levels during labor.
4. Natural Sweetener
Yaay! The main reason we love dates! Dates are a great natural sweetener because they are a source of fructose, a natural type of sugar found in fruits. They make a great healthy substitute for white sugar in recipes, and a rule of thumb is to replace sugar, honey, or molasses with date powder or syrup at a 1:1 ratio. Spoiler alert! It is important to note that although dates are high in fiber and nutrients, they are still fairly high in calories and best consumed in moderation.
In conclusion, dates are a delicious and nutritious fruit to include in your diet, and there are several ways to add them to your diet. Dates powder, for instance, provides an easy and healthy transition from refined sugar to natural sweeteners. So, why not give dates a try and experience their many health benefits today?
Erica OgodoFounder, Spyce Republic
Erica is an avid foodie and an experienced founder with a demonstrated history of working in the food production industry. Skilled in food processing, she runs Spyce Republic, to provide Nigerians with indigenous spices and much more.