New Delhi, April 22: Come Ramzan and one is immediately reminded of dates. Yes, that sumptuous fruit with which the faithful break their fast during the Iftar (breaking time of the fast) are healthy and highly nutritious.

This year, according to ANI, people in the State of Jammu and Kashmir are buying the fruit in large quantities as it used by one and all for breaking the fast.

The Srinagar markets are inundated with a large variety of dates. These are the imported varieties from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Israel. One shopkeeper remarks: “Dates are great, and by eating dates, pains and sorrows go away. It is a very special fruit of our Prophet. I appeal to people to eat them and eat them well!”

Connection with Islam

Islam which was born in the 7th Century highlighted the significance of the date palm even though it can be traced back to 4000 BCE in ancient Arabia. Islam stressed the holiness of the date and the date palm more than any other religion. The Prophet Muhammed said that Ajwah dates which is grown in the Madinah region of Saudi Arabia are from paradise.

Interestingly, the date palm is mentioned more than any fruit in the Quran – 22 times, and all over the world, dates form an integral part of the Muslim upbringing.

Equivalent to the proverb “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, is a Muslim one which says, “seven dates a day keeps the doctor away.” The Prophet had argued that seven dates in the morning protected one from poison and witchcraft.

It is mentioned in the Quran that Mary was advised to eat dates while in labour with Jesus, to ease childbirth and strengthen the body. In fact experiments show that dates have stimulants that strengthen the uterus muscles in the last months of pregnancy.

Benefits of Dates

Dates are highly nutritious and the dried ones have higher calorie content than the fresh ones. It has carbs, fibre, protein, potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, iron and Vitamin B 6. One date contains more potassium per weight than a banana. The high sugar intake of dates makes it natural candy.

Dates are high on antioxidants thereby reducing the risk of several diseases. The three potent antioxidants in dates are flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid.

A great source of fructose dates make a great healthy substitute for white sugar.

Easy to add to the diet, dates add to bone health and have potential to help with blood sugar regulation.

Sweet for shopkeepers

Shopkeepers in Srinagar are expecting good profits as they are selling dates as varieties are being sold in prices ranging from Rs.300 a kg up to Rs.2000 a kg. “Last year we sold nothing, everything was under lockdown. This year with God’s grace things look good,” said a Suhail Ahmad, a shopkeeper.

(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

–indianarrative/