Date- A man’s mate

 

Image Courtesy www.parislamu.lv

 

Dates are a miracle food that gives us tons of benefits. They are packed with a host of nutrients that provide several benefits for health; it is eaten as a regular dry fruit by most of the people. Many people consume dates as a staple food.

Dates contain vitamins, minerals, protein and they are a good source of fruit sugar. . They also contain magnesium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous and chlorine. Dates are rich in fiber- they contain both fibers soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to lower the level of cholesterol, and insoluble fiber prevents from constipation.

The American Nutrition Center recommends an intake of 20-30 grams of dietary fiber per day, which can be supplied through dates. Dates are also good for gaining weight.

Eating a dates in the morning on an empty stomach kills intestinal worms, and other parasities. It is narrated said that Allah’s (swt) Apostle (sa) said: “He who eats seven “Ajwa” dates every morning, will not be affected by poison, or magic on the day he eats them.” (Bukhari)

Why dates are useful for your health?

Bones strengthen

Calcium and magnesium are important elements for skeletal growth, and balancing the body bone structure. Dates contain high level of calcium and magnesium, which protect the body against bone weakness, and preventing from osteoporosis.

Rich in Iron

Dates contain iron, which is highly recommended for those who suffer from iron deficiency. Moreover, it is great for blood purification as well.

Great energy booster

Dates are a good source of sugar- this sugar is not glucose, which rapidly raises the level of blood sugar but the fruit’s built in sugar does not. Dates are considered as the perfect snacks for an immediate boost of energy.

Allergens

Organic sulphur is present in dates. This is not a very common element to find in fruits. But, it has excessive health benefits, including the reduction of allergic reaction and seasonal allergies. Dates can fairly handle the problem of seasonal allergies with its benefits of organic sulphur.

Weight gain

Dates possess sugar protein and many essential vitamins, which are good for health. Thin and slim people who are willing to raise their weight eat dates in even number. One-kilogram dates contain 300 calories, and the calories are enough to fulfill the day demand of your body. Of course, you should not eat just dates throughout the day, but if u want to increase your weight, you need to eat it

Why break the fast with dates?

Breaking the fast with dates is a Sunnah. Breaking ones fast with dates, as well as, praying before Iftar, are both mentioned in the Hadeeth.

“The Messenger of Allah (sa) would break his fast with ripe dates, then he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water”.

Breaking the fast with dates is considered healthy, because dates contain high level of natural sugars. Sugars travel most quickly to the liver, where they are converted into energy more quickly than any other nutrient. Muslims have an immediate need for this energy when they break their fast, for they need energy to perform their sunset prayers. Ironically, when a person eats, the body uses energy to digest the food. Eating large quantities of food immediately after fasting is not healthy for the body. Eating a date first helps the body start its digestive process, and gives it the energy to deal with the secondary, more complex foods, eaten during Iftar.

Dates are also high in vitamins, and thus,  eating dates daily during Ramadan is like taking a daily multivitamin. This daily multivitamin can create a stronger and healthier body  fit for fasting. Dates also have a special place in Islam. In fact, they were one of the Prophet’s (sa) most frequently consumed foods.

Dates – The Candy That Grows On Trees

Image datesDr. Sadaf Sheikh explores the medical and spiritual healing preserved in dates

There are many edible palm fruits and the most widely found and favoured are dates. Dates were cultivated in ancient lands, from Mesopotamia to prehistoric Egypt, possibly as early as 6000 B.C. Then, as now, dates were a staple for the natives of those dry regions. Much later, Arabs spread dates around northern Africa which are classified according to their fleshiness:

  • Soft dates (Barhee, Halawy, Khadrawy, Medjool)
  • Semidry dates (Dayri, Deglet Noor, Zahidi)
  • Dry dates (Thoory)

Dates are rich in natural fibres and therefore, help against many ailments. They also surpass other fruits in the sheer variety of their constituents. They are the most wholesome food among fruits because of their hot and moist substance. Eating dates in the morning on an empty stomach kills intestinal worms and other parasites, for dates have an antidotal potency, which inhibits their growth.

The Prophet (sa) likened a good Muslim to the date palm, saying: “Among trees, there is a tree like a Muslim. Its leaves do not fall.” (Bukhari)

Dates were the food that Allah (swt) provided for Maryam (as) when she felt labour pains, and after she gave birth to Isa (as) under the palm tree. The great worth of dates is also indicated in a famous and beautiful passage of the Quran, (Maryam, 25:6): “Shake the trunk of the palm tree, and it will drop ripe dates on you, so eat, drink, and comfort your eyes with what Allah gave you.”

Experiments have also shown that dates contain some stimulants, which strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy. This helps the dilation of the uterus at the time of delivery and reduces post-natal bleeding. Dieticians consider dates the best food for breast-feeding mothers. This is because they contain elements that assist in alleviating depression and enrich the breast milk with the nutrients needed to make the child healthy and resistant to disease.

Regarding the Messenger of Allah (sa) breaking his fast with fresh dates, dried dates, or even water, there is, of course, a subtle reason. Since dates, particularly if they are moist, travel faster to the liver and are converted more quickly than other nutrients, the liver accepts their contents more readily and hastens their distribution to the rest of the body, which is thirsting for energy. Another factor making dates the ideal food is their digestibility. Within half an hour of eating them, the tired body regains new vigour. The reason for this is that low blood sugar is the main cause of hunger, not an empty stomach as is often assumed. When the body absorbs the nutritional essence of a few dates the sensation of hunger is abated. It would seem that taking dates after fasting helps one avoid overeating.

A serving of dates contains about 31 grams of carbohydrates, making them a powerhouse of energy. 

Aisha (rta) used to prescribe dates to those suffering with giddiness. It is now well known that low blood sugar and low blood pressure are among the causes of giddiness. She was also reported to have used dates combined with cucumber to treat her over-slim condition. She said: “They fed me with every type of food to gain weight, yet I did not put on any. Then they added cucumber and fresh date to my diet and that did it.”

As dates are rich in calcium, they contribute to healthy bones. For this reason it is recommended that children and older adults, especially women, eat plenty of dates to strengthen their bones. Dates are also important in maintaining good vision and are effective in guarding against night-blindness. In the early years of Islam, dates were served as food for Muslim soldiers as they stimulate muscles and give energy for physical exercise. They also help heal stomach ulcers. Modern medicine has shown that eating dates prevents abdominal cancer.

There are said to be at least eight hundred uses of the date. It is used as a fresh or a dry fruit with excellent storage properties, and is commonly used in the confectionery trade. One possible industry that is currently unexploited is the use of dates for crude sugar.

People often ask: “Do all these dates really taste different?” The answer is a resounding: “Yes!” Each variety of date not only has its own distinctive taste, but also its own distinctive texture, sweetness and size. When properly stored, dates keep exceedingly well. Stored in airtight containers and kept in the refrigerator, dates will stay moist and delicious for as long as 30 days. Dates can also be kept frozen for up to a year with no loss of taste or quality.

Nutritional Facts

A serving of five or six average dates contain about 20 calories each and are a good source of fibre, potassium, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, without the sodium or fat found in other snacks. A serving of dates helps fulfil the “2 to 4 servings of fruit and vegetables a day” guideline of the USDA’s “Food Pyramid”.

Fibre

A serving of dates provides approximately 14% of the USDA Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of fibre, which has been shown to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Potassium

Eating dates and drinking water is an ideal, natural way to replenish the body’s need for potassium. One serving of dates contains about 240 milligrams of potassium, or 7% of the RDA, of this essential nutrient.

An interesting scientific medical study, published in the British Medical Journal (No. 6993, 10 June 1995), proved the benefit of giving a new-born child sugar to reduce the feeling of pain during procedures, like heel pricking for a blood sample, or circumcision. 

Vitamins and Minerals

Dates contain a variety of B-complex vitamins. They contain thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid. Dates also contain 2.2% protein, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 ad nicotinic acid (which fights against Pellagra); they also have traces of minerals needed for the body such as potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, manganese and copper.

Carbohydrates

A serving of dates contains about 31 grams of carbohydrates, making them a powerhouse of energy. The carbohydrates found in dates, include about 3 grams of dietary fibre and about 3 grams of naturally occurring sugars, such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Dates have about 1430 calories per pound and for that reason are not recommended for anyone on a diet.

They are variously classified as food, drink, fruits, sweets, nutrients, and medicine. Cured dates are called ‘Ajwah’ in Arabic. Aisha (rta) related the saying of Allah’s Messenger (sa), “Ajwah date is an excellent remedy.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Dates are also among the fruits of Paradise, as noted in the Hadeeth: “Ajwah is from Paradise and contains an antidote against poison.” (At-Tirmidhi)

The Prophet (sa) said: “He who eats seven Ajwah dates (the dates which he sow himself) every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.” (Bukhari)

Dates and date palms have been mentioned in the Quran 20 times, thus showing their importance. The Prophet (sa) likened a good Muslim to the date palm, saying: “Among trees, there is a tree like a Muslim. Its leaves do not fall.” (Bukhari)

It is also a custom among Muslim parents to put a piece of well-chewed date (or other available sweet fruit) in the mouth of a newborn baby. An interesting scientific medical study, published in the British Medical Journal (No. 6993, 10 June 1995), proved the benefit of giving a new-born child sugar to reduce the feeling of pain during procedures, like heel pricking for a blood sample, or circumcision. This reduced the crying time, compared to babies who got water. Also, their heart rate returned to normal more quickly.

Finally, we hope that Muslim medical scientists and researchers will take this new discovery on board; and that many more Islamic ideas and practices needing investigative research and scientific study will get the attention they deserve, Insha’Allah.