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Dates are full of energy, nutrients

Food
 Dates are full of energy, nutrients (Photo: iStock)

A date, also known as tende in Swahili, is defined as a sweet and chewy fruit that grows on the date palm. It has a wrinkled exterior and a caramel-like flavour and is often used in various cuisines and enjoyed as a snack.

The oval-cylindrical fruit changes colour from bright red to yellow when ripe, depending on the variety.

There are many varieties of date palms. According to various reports by researchers, there are at least 100 varieties grown in specific regions.

However, some varieties have managed to be universal, such as Deglet Noor, originally from Algeria, Yahidi and Hallawi from Iraq, Medjool from Morocco and Mazafati from Iran.

They can be classified as soft, semi-dry and dry. Most of the dates consumed in Kenya are dry, with a more wrinkled outer skin.

Energy is not the only nutritional benefit these fruits have to offer. They are a powerhouse of nutrients.

Dates contain essential vitamins and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin K. These nutrients support overall health, including heart and bone health.

They are rich in fibre, which promotes digestive health, and regular bowel movements and helps to prevent constipation.

They are also a good source of antioxidants, including flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acid, compounds that help neutralise harmful free radicals in the body, reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and inflammation.

If you are looking for a natural sweetener, dates should be your fruit of choice as they are a healthier alternative to refined sugar in recipes. They provide a sweet taste while offering nutritional benefits such as fibre and vitamins.

Including dates in your diet will contribute to your overall health and well-being.

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