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Dates and Their Benefits

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Something we do daily, without planning or forethought, is relieving our system of its waste. We go about our days and nights with the assumption when we need to go, we will go.  However, there are so many diseases that can cause us to be irregular and this could have a grave impact on the rest of our body. Many of these diseases come from the lack of roughage or inadequate fiber in our colons. 

A healthy colon has many benefits, including weight loss, weight maintenance, lower risk for type 2 diabetes, lowers the risk of heart disease, increased beneficial gut bacteria, reduced risk of certain cancers, extended life and develops stronger bones. It seems amazing that we can prevent disease and assist in healing our colon with one fruit.

This fruit is a simple little Date.

Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, grown in many tropical regions. Almost all dates sold in western countries are dried. You can tell if they are dried by their appearance. When they are dried, they have a wrinkled surface, and when the skin is smooth, it indicates they are fresh. Dates are chewy and naturally sweet and they range in size and color. Dates are very high in important nutrients and have many advantages and use. Nutrients from one date provide fiber, protein, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron, and vitamin B6. 

The American Heart Association Eating Plan suggests the total fiber intake daily should range from 25-30 grams. One date provides seven grams of fiber, so eating four dates a day would deliver your needed fiber intake.

Dates are good to eat at breakfast, especially if you’re trying to lose weight because they can keep you full and satisfied and the sugar in dates allows for a slow rise in your blood sugar which helps you to feel energized without crashing. Dates also are a good pre-workout aid because they provide a type of slow release of carbs that allows for a steady stream of energy to boost your workout.

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However, there are times when you should not eat dates. If you have IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which is small-chain carbs, some people have difficulty digesting. Eating dates with IBS can cause bloating and stomach upset. You shouldn’t eat dates after a large meal because they are high in fiber and they take a long time to digest, which can make you feel very full. Also, you should not eat dates if you have diarrhea or loose stool, as they contain a sugar alcohol known as sorbitol, which might increase bowel movement.  Other than that, go ahead and enjoy dates, so you can increase your fiber and assist with a healthy colon. The saying “I will fight this with every fiber of my being ”Now when you hear this saying, it should mean something a little different to you.

There is a strong association with the Muslim world, especially during the month of Ramadan (when Muslims fast for 30 days out of the year). It’s commonly used to break fast in Muslim homes around the globe. There is one specific type of date that we want to bring to your attention; they’re called “Ajwa”.

Besides selenium and other essential nutrients in them that some say may be a cancer preventive measure, it’s also reported that Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings Be Upon) said: “One who takes seven Ajwa dates in the morning, he remains under the protection of Allah from magic and poison for whole of the day”.

Seven Ajwa dates can equal about 120 calories, so make sure you consult your physician about your specific health dietary needs. 

Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah.

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