By Naini Setalvad December 2010 Dates are packed with natural sugar, potassium and many other nutrients but are extremely low in calories, making them a dieter’s ideal food It is instinctive for any one of us to crave sweet. Man’s first food, mother’s milk, is naturally sweet. The first food that ancient man ate after weaning was fruit in its natural form and dried. Both possess natural sugar. The fuel for the body is glucose, which is not to be confused with sugar. All food that we eat is converted to glucose.Dates are healthy natural sweets and they are available everywhere, all round the year. Come winter, my grandmother’s khajur paak or shing khajur ladoos were a treat we used to look forward to. Even the khajur chutney on our raitas and the one mixed with imli in our chats and bhels were simply delicious. Traditionally, every Gujarati thali had chutney on it. The yummy khareks are the best part of going to Gujarat even today.Whenever I add dates to my diet, I find that my need for white sugar drops. It’s amazing how days can pass without my even thinking of eating chocolate or mithai.Dates have been held in high esteem from ancient times and are one of the earliest fruits cultivated by man. The people of the Middle East have consumed dates as a part of their staple diet for centuries mainly owing to its high nutritional value. The fruit has often been referred to as the bread of the Sahara. Dates have been found to have natural benefits as well as curative properties. They have a tonic effect and are extremely valuable as medicine. Dates are good for those with weak hearts. They are beneficial for those who wish to keep their hearts healthy and have been known to cure abdominal cancer. The date is a laxative food. It is highly effective in the treatment of constipation as the roughage provided by it stimulates sluggish bowels. Due to its potassium content, it can also be used for controlling diarrhea. The nicotinic properties of dates make them an excellent cure for intestinal disturbances. They have also been known to be an excellent remedy for alcoholic intoxication. Dates are an excellent source of iron and are extremely beneficial for people suffering from anaemia. They help increase the hemoglobin level of the body. Dates have been considered as one of the best food for women who are breast-feeding. They contain elements that assist in alleviating depression in mothers and enrich breast milk which in turn makes the child healthy and resistant to disease. Dates are considered to be one of the most energy-boosting snacks. They have about 7.3 mg of iron and about 120 mg of calcium. Zero in fat, four dates add up to just 100 calories, making them a dieter’s delight! Do add this amazing dry fruit that provides natural sugar to your diet this winter.
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