In traditional ancient diets, a bowl of dates was offered on the table at each meal as a sign of hospitality from the host to his guest. A date would often accompany a cup of coffee or tea which were consumed unsweetened so the date could provide the desired sweetness and complement the drink. The custom continues today in many cultures.
How to Select
Choose dates that are shiny, uniformly colored and not broken.
How to Store
Store dates at room temperature in an airtight container for several months or refrigerate for up to a year.
Dates are fat free, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, and a good source of fiber (1/4 cup provides 12% of the daily value for fiber). Dates also provide 8% of your daily potassium recommendation and 6% of your daily manganese recommendation in a ¼ cup.
Antioxidant Quality of Dates
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), dates are higher in total polyphenols than any of the most commonly consumed fruits or vegetables. The reason for this is due to a harsh desert environment (where dates are grown), which causes polyphenols to provide protection from oxidative stress to the palm’s fruit.
Other Attributes of Dates
- Dates are the lowest moisture whole fruit with only 30% moisture. This makes them the only naturally “dehydrated” fruit.
- Dates have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration.
- Dates have a natural balance of many minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and potassium. These minerals work in harmony to lower blood pressure on a daily basis.