Sweet and Tender Dates are Good for Your Health

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Today I wanted to go away from classic herbals into food as medicine.  Since this is the topic of my upcoming book it is very near and dear to my heart.  We have looked at chocolate and coconut but we haven’t looked at one of the basic ingredients of many raw food dessert recipes, Medjool dates.

Dates are the fruit of the date palm and have been eaten for centuries.  The Medjool date is the only one that can be picked and eaten fresh.

Dates are a source of

  • Dietary fibre
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Vitamin A and K

Let’s look at each benefit individually.

Dietary Fibre

Dietary fibre is necessary for keeping your colon clean and functioning.  Medjool dates contain fibre which prevents LDL (bad) cholesterol from being absorbed in the gut.

The fibre also acts as a bulk laxative which protects the health of the colons mucous membrane.  It speeds up clearing of the colon and helps prevent the buildup of cancer causing agents.

Iron

Iron is a component of the blood which helps your body to create healthy red blood cells.  Many people are diagnosed with iron-deficiency anemia.  This is a condition where they do not have enough healthy red blood cells to carry the oxygen your body needs.

Iron assists in creating hemoglobin which is the part of the blood that carries the oxygen.  Iron is also important for healthy hair, skin, nails and cells.

Potassium

The importance of potassium is by far one of the most unrecognized causes of health issues.  The following is a partial list of potassium related health issues taken from the Natural News website.

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity

Many allopathic medications deplete potassium levels in the body but in many cases there is no instruction given for diet change or supplements when these medicines are prescribed.

Sadly for those of us that love licorice, it is a major culprit in potassium depletion.

As with all allopathic medications I truly recommend that you do the research on what the medicine actually does, what are the side effects, interactions and dietary concerns.  There are many reputable sources on the internet that can assist you with this.

Vitamin A

This is one of my happy discoveries.  Vitamin A is essential for eye health.  A few years ago I was told that I would need to use eye drops daily in order to maintain a healthy moisture level.  (oh growing old is a bummer)

I always take this type of advice as a challenge, so I did the research and discovered vitamin a.

One tiny capsule of this vitamin daily and I don’t need the drops.  The caution is that with vitamin a you also need to drink a healthy amount of water.  One or two glasses a day is not enough for your body.  The commonly recommended amount of water is 8 glasses and it can do wonders.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is known as the “clotting” vitamin.  It helps your blood to clot.  It is also thought to maintain strong bones in the elderly.  It is fat soluble so your body stores it in fatty tissue and your liver.

Signs of vitamin K deficiency are excessive bleeding and bruising.

Those people taking blood thinners should be cautious about consumption of vitamin k rich foods.

It’s hard to believe that all this goodness is contained within the humble date.  Food truly is the best medicine for us, so if you are healthy and wishing to stay that way, pay attention to your diet.  You will be glad you did.

 

For awesome recipes using Medjool dates see Ani Phyos dessert page.  I particularly recommend her Chocolate Raspberry Ganache cake.  The best raw food you will eat!

References:

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/dates.html

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dates.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iron-deficiency-anemia/basics/definition/con-20019327

http://www.hematology.org/patients/blood-disorders/anemia/5263.aspx