Dates are key in a lot of homes during Ramadan. Especially in our house, not having a date to open our fast was seen as nearly being a sin. Lol. Ramadan is a tradition celebrated by Muslims all over the world. We come together for a month of fasting and completing charitable acts within our community. This shows our devotion to our faith. This offers us unique opportunities to reconnect with our local communities and do more for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
While food is obviously not the most important thing about Ramadan, it is something many of us start thinking more carefully about in the lead up to the starting date. With such limited opportunities to eat, we need to think more carefully about how we’re going to maintain a balanced diet during Suhur and Iftar, the meals before sunrise and after sunset.
One thing that should definitely be included on your shopping list this year is dates. While lots of people are put off by them, they provide many benefits that can make your fasting periods much easier to endure. They also protect you from potential side effects or the development of health conditions that may force you to stop your fast before the month is over.
If you need some convincing before you add dates into your Ramadan diet, here are 10 of the biggest reasons why you should. Or, you could always go for our Choco Date Delights, dates stuffed and covered in milk, white or dark chocolate.
1. Release Energy Slowly
During Ramadan, there are long periods of time where we are without food or water, which can have a dramatic impact on our energy levels. We can get angry, frustrated and lash out. It’s good to keep your anger under check, and dates with their slow release can help you with that.
We as Muslims often get involved in our local community and doing what we can to help others during Ramadan. Having the energy to do these activities isn’t always easy, however, which is why we need to make smart choices about the things we consume during Suhur, the meal we eat before sunrise.
The good news is that dates are perfect for this, providing you with instant energy hit before slowly releasing further energy throughout the day. You don’t need big portions to notice a difference, either; even having two or three as part of your pre-sunrise meal can help!
2. Dates Are Rich In Protein
Dates are such a big source of protein that personal trainers and nutritionists recommend gym-goers eat a couple of dates every day to boost their muscle-building routine.
Even if you aren’t looking for ways to build muscles during Ramadan—or at any other time, if you’re anything like me, for that matter!—protein is incredibly essential for our diet. Not only can protein be used to make enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals, but it is also an essential building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood.
With that being said, finding high protein sources when you’re eating for a very limited portion of the day isn’t always easy, which is why dates come in handy. For small fruits, they sure do pack a punch when it comes to their protein properties!
3. Help To Maintain Weight
During Ramadan, maintaining weight is a difficulty that many of us face. With limited windows to eat and long periods of starvation, we may find ourselves appearing slimmer as we get further into the month.
For some people, this might be welcome news, but others might be looking for ways to maintain weight by making healthy choices during Suhur and Iftar meals.
The good news is, dates are great for this due to the significant sugar, proteins and other vitamins they contain.
4. Dates Are Versatile
A lot of people assume they don’t like dates because they are quite an acquired taste in their traditional form. To some, they are too bitter and leave quite a strong aftertaste.
But Dates are actually very sweet, try having a Medjool date. Not only is it soft and juicy, but it also has a natural caramel taste that literally just melts in your mouth!
The good thing about dates, however, is that they are completely versatile and can be included in many things to change their taste and enhance the flavours of other things.
Why not take advantage of this renewed knowledge and try a different way of eating dates yourself this Ramadan?
There are many ways you can try them, including buying chocolate covered ones, investing in sugary syrups, or including them as part of your Iftar sweet treat.
Even if you do already like them, mixing things up provides you with the perfect opportunity to introduce your love for dates to friends and family at Iftar parties who may have previously been turned off from dates in their traditional form.
Also, if you didn’t know already, having 7 ajwa dates can protect you again Shaitan. Bukhari:
Whoever eats seven dates of the High Land of Madinah in the morning will not be hurt by poison or sorcery on that day.
5. Increases Blood Sugar Levels
During Ramadan, lots of people report feeling dizzy, having headaches and even fainting at some point during their fast. In most cases, this is due to low blood sugar, which means your body doesn’t have fuel to carry out your body’s functions as it usually would.
While there is no way to completely prevent these symptoms from occurring because Ramadan does involve fasting for long periods of time, dates provide the perfect opportunity to minimize the opportunity of this happening to you.
This is because dates are naturally high in lots of sugars including fructose, glucose and sucrose. These sugars are easily processed and can be utilized by your body extremely quickly, providing you with increased blood sugar that may carry you through to Iftar depending on the activities you are doing.
6. Dates Are Rich In Essential Nutrients
Known as a superfood, dates are extremely rich in essential nutrients, containing 15 minerals and 6 vitamins that help to improve and maintain our physical health. They are especially rich in calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium and potassium.
It’s incredibly important to do what we can to take in essential vitamins and minerals during Ramadan at Suhur and Iftar, so dates provide the perfect opportunity to do so.
Unlike vitamins and minerals you can buy in tablet form, dates contain high quantities of several different nutrients at once. They also aren’t going to contain gelatine or other ingredients that we cannot consume, saving us a lot of time in supermarkets!
7. Increases Iron & Treats Anaemia
It’s generally recommended that you avoid taking part in the fasting portion of Ramadan if you are already suffering from a health condition like anaemia. Due to the hours of fasting, however, some people may find themselves struggling to get the required amounts of iron into their diet, leading to mild cases of anaemia.
If you begin feeling tired or sluggish during Ramadan, this could be the case for you. The good news is that consuming a few dates during your Suhur and Iftar meals can help as, like aforementioned, dates are extremely high in iron and other essential nutrients.
8. Improves Memory
Have you ever found yourself forgetting things more often during Ramadan, or on days where you simply find yourself too busy to eat? I definitely have!
This is because your body is not receiving the necessary vitamins and minerals to work to its maximum capacity, and is therefore letting go of things that are seen as less important than other things in order to maintain regular functions.
If you’re looking to combat this, dates are great for helping. With each one containing over two milligrams of choline, a B vitamin in acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter, they’re great options to keep your wits about you during the fasting period.
Choline is also associated with better learning capabilities, too. This makes them perfect for teenagers and young adults taking part in Ramadan so that they can continue studying productively while respecting their devotion to their faith at the same time.
9. They Hold Traditional Value
Most Muslims will already be aware of this, but if you aren’t, dates are considered to hold traditional value within our religion. According to the things we have been taught for generations, Muhammad would traditionally eat dates to break up his fast.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) made clear the importance of dates and its sustenance value through the following hadith. Narrated by Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him):
The Prophet said there is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim (in goodness), and that is the date palm tree. (Bukhari)
The Quran also mentions the benefits of dates in Surah Al-Raad, verse 4:
And in the earth are tracts (diverse though) neighboring, and gardens of vines and fields sown with corn, and palm trees — growing out of single roots or otherwise: watered with the same water, yet some of them We make more excellent than others to eat. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who understand.
10. They Make Perfect Eid Gifts
After devoting yourself to our religion by fasting for an entire month, getting your friends and family together for a dinner party or other event is a great feeling. It provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on your experiences throughout the month, and encourage the continuation of your journey to becoming a better person in all aspects.
When you start thinking about the gifts, a tradition shared by many Muslim families, knowing what to get can be difficult. You want to make sure that your gift stands out, and is going to be used by the person who is receiving said gift.
If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect gift, we recommend giving dates a try. The versatility of the fruit means they have been transformed into a variety of exciting treats.
These Choco Date Delights are delicious, and make the perfect Eid gift for someone with a sweet tooth! With many different chocolate concoctions to choose from, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Why not go all out and treat all of your friends to a box of their favourite sweet treats with a twist for your Eid dinner party, or buy a few for your chocolate-loving children?