Yes, Dates are Paleo!
What are Dates?
Date is one of the sweetest fruits around. It is the fruit of the date palm tree and is one of the oldest cultivated fruits that is traced back to 6000 B.C. somewhere around the Persian Gulf. Dates are usually cylindrical to oval in shape and are brown in color with shrivelled texture similar to prunes. Its taste is rich and deep and has a slightly chewy texture.
Dates can be eaten both in fresh and dried forms. Most dates have seeds but they are usually removed. They can be chopped, stuffed and dried like raisins and plums. Because of its natural sweetness, dates can be sugar substitute and can be used in cooking and baking sweet and savory dishes.
Types of Dates
Dates come in different varieties and they are all the same in all aspects except for slight differences in taste and size. The most common variety of dates includes medjool and deglet noor.
- Medjool: This variety has its origin in Morocco. These are large and extremely delicious with a rich toffee-like flavor. They are best for eating or stuffing
- Barhi: Native to Basra in Iraq, these types are round and mild amber to darkish brown in color (on ripening). They are gentle with thicker flesh and luxurious taste.
- Halawy: Halawy is native to Iraq. Its taste is very sweet, and the size is small to moderate with a sticky texture.
- Dayri: Also known as the Monastery Date, these dates are lengthy, slim, black in color and gentle.
- Deglet Noor: One of the best varieties available in Algeria and Tunisia. These are semi dry and not so sweet and are mostly used in cooking.
- Saidy: These dates are extremely popular in Libya and have very sweet taste. They are mostly grown in hot weather conditions.
- Maktoom: This variety is huge, thick skinned and reddish brown in color. They have gentle and moderately sweet taste.
- Hayani: Substantially grown in Egypt, these dates are gentle and dark red to black in color.
- Migraf: Also known as Mejraf, they are popular in Southern Yemen because of their excellent quality. These are large and golden amber in color.
- Iteema: Native to Algeria, these dates are big, oblong in shape with mild amber in color and have extremely sweet taste.
Nutritional Value of Dates
Besides its rich taste, dates are powerhouse of nutrition. They are rich in many vital nutrients. Essential minerals such as calcium, copper, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates. It also contains significant amounts of vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K. Dates are high in fiber too.
This Paleo fruit is very low in sodium but has high portion of calories that come from sugar.
Health Benefits of Dates
There are many health benefits of dates and that is regardless whether it is in fresh or dried form. The nutrients found in dates are beneficial for health.
Fiber is known to be essential in promoting healthy digestive system. It adds bulk to stool for easier elimination from the body. Both the soluble and insoluble fiber in dates can help clean the digestive system. With enough amounts of fiber in the body, several digestive disorders such as constipation can be prevented.
Dates are rich in magnesium. It is known to have anti-inflammatory effects especially on inflammation on the arterial walls.
Another known benefit of fiber is its ability to boost heart health by eliminating bad cholesterol levels. Magnesium and potassium both helps in regulating blood pressure and improves heart functionality thus protecting from heart diseases such as stroke and heart attack
Copper, magnesium and calcium are essential in promoting bone health and prevent diseases like osteoporosis.
Because dates are high in natural sugars, they are perfect for quick energy boost.
Dates are High in Sugar!
Dates are naturally sweet because of its high sugar content. While dates are Paleo, it is recommended to limit sugar consumption even when it comes from fruits. Eating too much of it can have negative impact on blood sugar levels, especially on people who are suffering from diabetes.
Click here to know what other fruits are Paleo.
What Experts Say About Dates
Olives, dates, figs, and grapes were some of the first fruits to be domesticated, and pits from these fruits initially appear in the archeological record about 6,000 years ago in the Near East. – Loren Cordain
All you ever wanted to know about Dates and Paleo
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Ultimate Paleo Guide. Are Dates Paleo?
Paleo Porn. Are Dates Paleo?
Original Eating. Dates
Healing Gourmet. Dangers of Fructore in a Paleo Diet
Paleo Diet and Fitness. Dates in a Paleo Diet
Whole Fresh Dates. Are Dates the Ultimate Paleo Fruit?
The Paleo List. Are Dates Paleo?
Organic Facts. Health Benefits of Dates
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photo credit: chooyutshing Dates