Lots of our nibbles contain dates. They are sweet, sticky and super yummy. But, what makes them good for you? Luckily, I’ve recently qualified as a nutritional therapist, so I feel I’m one of the right people to talk to you about nature’s sweeties.
Firstly, although they have many health benefits, they are still very sweet and should be thought of as a treat. I just thought I’d mention this point, as I know I could live on dates – or things made out of dates!
Fun date facts
They contain a lot of fibre, an average of 6.7g per 100g. It is a zero calorie carbohydrate that the body can’t digest (unlike sugars and starches, which are the other types of carbohydrates). Fibre comes mainly from plant foods; fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes.
Fibre helps keep you full by adding bulk to foods. It can’t be broken down by the body, so isn’t absorbed into the blood stream. In fact, it simply passes through the digestive tract.
There are two kinds of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming a gel-like material. It can help to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fibre can be found in many foods, including; oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
Insoluble fibre resists digestion and does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stools (sorry, we are talking poo!) and promotes movement of material through your digestive system. Because of this, it can be of benefit to those that struggle with constipation or irregularity. Good sources of this are nuts, beans, cauliflower, green beans and potatoes. Whole wheat flour and wheat bran are also high in fibre, although I am aware that many of you are likely to be free-from. Dates contain mainly insoluble fibre.
Fibre is present in all plant foods in varying amounts. Fruits, vegetables and legumes are ideal sources of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
I thought I should mention a little about the vitamins and minerals they contain too.
Essential for protein digestion and utilisation, brain function and hormone production.
Essential for energy production and brain function. It helps to balance blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels.
Pantothenic Acid (B5)
Involved in energy production and controls fat metabolism. Essential for brain and nerves. Helps make anti-stress hormones. Helps to maintain healthy skin and hair.
Strengthens bones and teeth. Helps to relax muscles (important for PMS, heart muscles and the nervous system). Essential for energy production.
Helps to form healthy bones, cartilage, tissues and nerves. Activates more than 20 enzymes, stabilises blood sugar and is important for insulin production.
Enables nutrients to move into cells and waste products to move out. Maintains fluid balance in the body and relaxes muscles.
Many of our products contain dates. Three of our favourites are below.
Please remember that these are treats – and fibre, plus the vitamins and minerals above are available from many sources. Having said that, we do love a good treat!