Tastes Sweet and Rich in Nutrients
The Chosen Fruit To Break Fast
Date that tastes wonderfully sweet and rich in minerals and vitamins, is a fruit that come out of date palm that has existed for at least 50 million years according to fossil records. Archeological evidence indicted cultivation of dates in Mehrgarh (now in West Pakistan) around 7000 BCE. Thus date fruit is believed to be one of the oldest cultivated tree crops.
Date occupies a pretty special position in religious scriptures being mentioned 50 times in the Bible and 20 times in the Holy Quran. It is one of the seven types of fruits and grains named in the Torah (Deuteronomy 8:8) as the main produce of the land of Israel. It ranks seventh and mentioned as Date Honey that was preserved in the form of extracted syrup.
These references give date the pride of place, it deserves, on earth as the followers of these three great religious scriptures account for more than 50% of the world’s total population!
Numerous research and studies on the benefits of dates done at various universities and scientific centers around the globe bear irrevocable evidence to the fact that dates have many vital nutrients and therefore, undoubtedly a source of many health benefits.
A one-hundred grams of date is said to contain key nutrients as below:
Fiber – 6.7 grams. (27% RDA)
Potassium – 696 milligrams (20% RDA)
Copper – 0.4 milligrams (18% RDA)
Manganese – 0.3 milligrams (15% RDA)
Magnesium – 54 milligrams (14% RDA)
Vitamin B6 – 0.2 milligrams (12% RDA)
Date has fared well in competing with other high nutritional value fruits and food and certainly provides so many health benefits:
1. Digestive Health, Relieving Constipation – Fiber is essential for promoting colon health and making for regular bowel movements. The insoluble and soluble fiber found in dates help to clean out the gastrointestinal system, allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Some other benefits relating to fiber and colon health are reduced risks of colitis, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids. (Dates could even be coupled with other home remedies for hemorrhoids.)
2. Boosting Heart Health – In addition to promoting colon health, fiber is also known to boost heart health.
3. Anti-Inflammatory – Dates are rich in magnesium – a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. One study found that “inflammatory indicators in the body such as CRP (C-reactive protein), TNF (tumor necrosis factor alpha), and IL6 (interleukin 6) were all reduced when magnesium intake was increased.” Further, inflammation in the arterial walls was also reduced with magnesium intake. Based on magnesium’s anti-inflammatory properties and the findings of this study, magnesium can effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammation-related health ailments.
4. Reduced Blood Pressure – Magnesium has been shown to help lower blood pressure – and again, dates are full of the mineral. Additionally, potassium is another mineral in dates that has several functions within the body, aiding with the proper workings of the heart and helping to reduce blood pressure.
5. Reduced Stroke Risk – After evaluating 7 studies published over a 14 year time period, researchers found stroke risk was reduced by 9% for every 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumes per day. The research can be found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
6. A Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery – Further adding to the health benefits of dates, one study performed by researchers at the University of Science and Technology set out to discover how the date fruit impacted labor parameters and delivery outcomes. After studying 69 women for a year and 1 month, the researchers found that “the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomized controlled trial.”
7. Boosting Brain Health – Some studies, such as one found in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that sufficient vitamin B6 levels are associated with improved brain performance and better test scores.
Muslim are commanded to follow the Holy Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad Sallalahu Alaihi-wa-Sallam. In total obedience to this command the Muslim community had followed willingly followed many, if not all, such divine commandments and traditions of the prophet. Especially, in the month of Ramadhan Mubarak, Muslims end their daily fast by eating dates in keeping with and respecting the tradition (Hadhees) of the prophet which says:
"If anyone of you is fasting, let him break his fast with dates. In case he does not have them, then with water. Verily water is a purifier."
The amazing truth is that long years (i.e. 1,400 years) before the above referred to scientific findings on dates were established, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) has proclaimed and prescribed to mankind dates for what it is worth. Some such amazing examples are:
The Prophet (PBUH), used to break his fast by eating some dates before offering Maghrib (sunset) prayer, and if ripe dates were not available, he used to substitute them with some dried grapes. When they too were not available, he used to have a few sips of water, according to some reports.
The Prophet (PBUH), has emphasized the importance of dates and their effectiveness in the growth of the fetus. He has also recommended they be given to women. The Prophet (PBUH), has also recommended dates as a medicine for heart troubles, according to some reports.
'Aa'ishah (RAD) used to prescribe dates for those suffering from giddiness. It is now well known that a fall in the level of the sugar in the blood and low blood pressure are among the causes of giddiness. She was also reported to have used dates combined with cucumber to help her gain weight. She said, "They [her family members] tried to fatten me by giving me everything. But I did not become fat. Then they fattened me with cucumber and ripe dates and I gained weight!" 'Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, was correct on this account as we now know that one hundred gram of dates contains nearly 3,000 calories which alone are sufficient to supply the minimum daily requirements of an active man for one full day.
The Prophet (PBUH), used to eat dates by combining them with bread sometimes. At other times he mixed ripe dates with cucumber, or dates combined with ghee (clarified butter). He used to take all varieties of dates, but he preferred the variety called 'Ajwah’ (a particular variety of date found exclusively in Madinah).
United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service
National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference – Release 27
Full Report (All Nutrients): 09421, Dates, (medjool):