Muslims across the world break their Ramadan fast with a date as it was guided by the Prophet.
Although dates are loaded with a diverse profile of nutrients, carbohydrates and sugars contribute the most which makes them one of the best sources of instant energy and nutrition after a long day of fasting.
There are plenty of different types of dates available which not only vary in their taste, size and texture but also in their nutrition values.
Since carbohydrates and sugar are major contents of nutrition profile of a date, its best to be able to identity them on sight. One should know that all dates are a great source nutrients and thus offer plenty of healthy benefits.
Since dates are dried fruit they are significantly higher in calories compared to other fresh fruit and therefore one should keep in mind that they should be consumed in moderate quantities.
Though a majority of the calories in dates come from carbohydrates and sugar, they also contain some vital vitamins, minerals and a significant amount of fibre .
Speaking of dietary fibres, dates on an average contain 7g to 9g of dietary fibres per 100g which is almost four times as compared to spinach for the same quantity, and almost five times compared to the same quantity of mangoes.
Dietary Fibers are great for the health of our gut, it helps keep blood sugars in control, promotes smooth bowel movements amongst many other health benefits.
Flavonoids in dates are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential role in reducing the risk of diabetes, alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancer.
Carotenoids in dates have been proven to promote heart health and also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
Phenolic acids in dates are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and also help lower the risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease.
Phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium in dates are known for their potential to prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis and overall bone health.
Fructose in dates is a natural sugar and makes for a healthier substitute to white sugar in recipes due to the nutrients, fiber and antioxidants present in them.
While there are many types of Dates available today these six varieties are popular.
Safawi aka Kalmi Dates: Are one of the most commonly consumed and easily available varieties. They are dark brown in colour and approx size of a thumb.100g of these dates are roughly around 7pcs and gives you almost 400 calories of which almost 93 percent are carbs. This makes them calorie rich with maximum carbohydrate content thus
Recommended: for people seeking weight gain.
Not recommended: for obese, diabetic patients and those looking to keep a check on their calories
Ajwa Dates: are black in colour and also known as the King of All Dates, these are usually available in different sizes (Price goes up as the size increases ) 12 pcs of small to medium ones are roughly 100g. Ajwa amongst all dates has the highest amount of Iron, almost double compared to any other type of date. It also contains over 700mg of Potassium which is the highest amount of Potassium compared to any other type of dates. It also has a fairly better amount of vitamin D. Overall Ajwa date is best with respect to nutrients, as compared to all dates.
Recommended: better for people with anaemia, constipation
Not recommended: for people with polycythemia
Sukkary Dates: One of the most commonly consumed dates in Saudi Arabia, lowest in calories, only 329 Kcal per 100g which is wight pieces, as compared to other dates. It is the highest source of Fibre ( 9g/100g). Highest in calcium compared to other dates. After Ajwa it has the 2nd highest amount of potassium.
Recommended: for people with constipation, calcium deficiency, osteoarthritis.
Not recommended: for people with kidney issues & hypercalcinemia.
Mabroom Dates: Lower in Calories 9g of Dietary Fiber which makes them richest source of fibre and contains a good amount of calcium. A 100 gems is 7 pieces of mbar dates.
Recommended: for people with constipation, calcium deficiency, osteoarthritis
Not recommended: for people with Hypercalcinemia
Khudri Dates: Low in calorie and sodium, 100 gems is seven pieces.
Recommended: for people seeking weight loss
Not recommended: for people seeking weight gain
It has a unique dual shade with a beige colour crown on the top of the date. It has a good amount of calcium and potassium.
Recommended: for people with calcium deficiency or arthritis patients.
Not recommended: for people with hypercalcemia.
Best Tip for Diabetics: With respect to diabetics we recommend Eating Ajwa as they are small so accounts for fewer calories and sugar or Mabroom as they are amongst the highest dietary fibre and lowest in carbs.
Removing the seeds of the Dates and filling the date with Cinnamon Powder further increases the Dietary Fibre which helps in better control of Blood Sugars compared to eating a date by itself.
If Not cinnamon Powder, added an Almond or a Walnut also will relatively have better blood sugar control compared to eating a date by itself.
(This is not to treat or cure any medical condition. Always Consult and keep your medical professionals in loop before making any modifications to your diet or lifestyle)
For General population it's best to try and add all the varieties of dates on rotation to reap maximum benefits that each type of date has to offer.