Ingredient of the Week: Why You'll Fall In Love With Dates

June 26, 2015
by Kathryn Bloxsom for Thrive Market
Ingredient of the Week: Why You'll Fall In Love With Dates

What if I could guarantee that you'll never have a bad date again, and that every date from here on out will be as sweet as molasses?

Well, I really can guarantee that, especially since the dates I mean are the sweet fruit of the date palm. Technically considered a drupe, these wrinkly little dried fruits are jam packed with fiber and flavor.

That's probably why dates have been a beloved sweet treat for thousands of years—they were even a favorite of Ancient Egyptians. And it's no wonder why: In addition to their sticky, sweet flavor, these dried fruits boast an impressive nutritional profile.

For starters, these sweet, chewy little nuggets of nutrition come with a high fiber content that protects your heart by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as preventing obesity and hypertension. They are also particularly high in phenolics and carotenoids, two antioxidants that work together to prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, which can lead to atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Dates' broad range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants help prevent damage from free radicals, and can ward off strokes, heart disease, and even certain cancers. And, because they are low on the glycemic index, dates don't mess with your blood sugar.

These wrinkly little guys can also keep you looking gorgeous. Dates are full of vitamin A, a vitamin that helps keep your eyes sharp and gives your skin a healthy glow. They can help you slim down, thanks to their fiber and metabolism-boosting magnesium. That magnesium also helps keep your teeth strong and prevents osteoporosis.

You can snack on a plain date for a sweet snack and a boost of energy, or add chopped dates to breads, cakes, muffins, and other baked goods for a subtle sweetness. Dates even make the perfect vessel for some spiced nuts and chocolate, and help lend some sweetness to this vegan, raw chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce. No matter how you use them, it’s definitely time to schedule that date night.

Photo credit: Paul Delmont

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This article is related to: Healthy Snacks, Ingredient of the Week, Healthy Desserts, Healthy Ingredients

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