One of the most popular health foods for the Chinese are the red dates, also known as jujubes. They are usually dried and used in traditional Chinese medicine as a type of health tonic. Dates are used in many traditional herbal formulas to balance one’s yin and yang energy in the body. Quality red dates are given as gifts on special occasions and during festivals in the Chinese customs.
Dried dates are moist and soft. They are sweet to taste, hence making them popular to be added to many recipes as a substitute for a sweetening ingredient, like sugar and honey. There are many delicious ways to eat red dates. You can eat them raw. You can boil them. You can make tea with them and perhaps toss in a few more ingredients, like longans and wolfberries, to bump up the nutritional value of the tea.
When it comes to brewing an effective cup of red date tea, the method that you brew them matters. As the skin of the date is tough, the dates would be best broken to smaller pieces to allow the nutrients and vitamins to be fully drawn out and infused in the water. They should not be brewed for too long if you are making tea. This is because the vitamin C present in dates will be lost with prolonged exposure to hot water.
Dates are a great source of iron. They are perfect for improving anaemia caused by menstruation and giving birth. The cyclic adenosine monophosphate present in dates helps in accelerating the reproduction of new cells in our body and eliminating the dead cells. Thus, the anaemia can be improved fundamentally.
Rich in Vitamins C & P
Vitamin C and vitamin P found in the dates can enrich the subcutaneous tissues and enhance skin elasticity. This means that they would help the skin to become tender and smooth to the touch. An adequate intake of red dates in your diet can also slow down the surfacing of various skin problems, like wrinkles, too.
Rich in vitamin C — about 80 times of that found in grapes — red dates are also a great source of antioxidants. They are highly recommended for people wanting to have beautiful skin and stay looking young.
Vitamin P, also known as flavonoids or bioflavonoids, is great for reducing blood sugar levels, improving insulin resistance, reducing lipids and fighting inflammation in your body. They also help smooth out little bumps on your skin, leaving skin smooth to the touch.
High in Calcium
Calcium is important for optimal bone health. Your body needs calcium to perpetuate the growth and maintenance of strong bones. Your muscles, heart and nerves require calcium to function properly too. As our body does not produce calcium on its own, it is only by consuming food that would allow for calcium to be present and for your body to absorb it.
Thus, a diet that includes calcium can help boost the growth of strong bones and maintain great health of your bones. With your calcium intake boosted by red dates, we are sure that the risk of osteoporosis is kept well at bay.
Helps in Weight Loss
Red dates play a crucial role in quickening intestinal peristalsis. With this acceleration, it can help you to lose weight and enhance immunity to many diseases. However, the amount of sugar packed in each individual date is relatively high, hence it should be eaten in moderation.
High in Fibre
Fibre is an important nutrient for your overall health. With the inclusion of dates in your diet, it is going to benefit your digestive health by keeping dreadful constipation at bay. Fibre promotes regular bowel movements by contributing to the formation of stool.
Also, the fibre in dates slows the rate of digestion down and may help prevent blood sugar levels from skyrocketing after your meals.
Combinations to Avoid
We know that many of you would enjoy a sweet treat once in a while and dates are a great choice as a treat for your cravings. They are a delicious snack that is versatile to also pair with other foods, like almonds or soft cheese.
Dates are sticky when mashed, which makes them useful as a binder in baked goods. Healthy snack bars or energy balls are a great way to combine dates with nuts and seeds for a quick bite.
If you are up for more variety, dates are perfect for adding a touch of sweetness to your sauces, salad dressings and smoothies.
Though they are a great option to sugar-loaded snacks, it is important to keep in mind that dates are naturally high in calories and sugar. Thus, as mentioned, it is best to consume them in moderation.
To get the best out of the red dates that you have eaten, avoid pairing them with carrots or cucumbers. Carrots contain L-ascorbic acid that destroys the vitamins in dates. And this is also the case for the catabolic enzymes found in cucumbers.
Food that is rich in copper and iron — like animal liver — can oxidise the vitamins in the pulp of goodness.