Dates, referred to as Tende in Swahili, are oval-cylindrical shaped fruits that are mostly bright red in colour to deep red depending on the variety. They come in a smoothly wrinkled crunchy skin and are very sweet. Dates have more calories than most fruits but you can consume them without worrying too much about gaining additional inches on your waistline.
This drupe fruit is sometimes used as a food supplement especially during the drought season. Fresh dates contain simple sugars mainly fructose and dextrose which are known to replenish energy and rejuvenate the body instantly. This is the reason they are commonly eaten by Muslims to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadhan.
Dates contain a pack of other nutrients such as dietary fibre for bowel movement and which is a good remedy for constipation. They play host to potassium that protects against stroke and coronary heart disease. Dates are also a source of vitamin A, which is essential for good vision. They are equally a good source of iron. Eating dates could also boost your calcium levels, which is essential for strong bones and healthy teeth. They also have manganese, which maintains normal blood sugar levels as well as copper, which not only helps your body utilize iron but is also important in the production of melanin.
Dates also have tannin, which is famous for preventing bleeding tendencies. It is widely believed that expectant women who eat dates in the last four weeks before labour significantly reduce the need for induction, though this is not medically proven.
Although costly, they are available throughout the year in supermarkets and greengrocers. Fresh dates should be refrigerated in tightly sealed containers due to their ability to attract smells from other foods. You can eat dry and soft dates out of hand or stuff them in filings or cakes.