Sanjeev has given a new meaning to food Image: Fotocorp
The holy month of Ramadan is here and the tradition of feasting after a day-long fast has also started around the world. The fast-breaking meal, Iftar, generally includes items such as fruits, juice, milk, dates and water. It is believed that Prophet Mohammad ate three dates when he broke his fast.
Apart from the cultural-religious significance, breaking fasts with dates has also earned the approval of scientific experts. Dates give our bodies a quick boost of energy, which may be dehydrated or tired after a day-long fast. Dates activate the body to adapt to the inflow of food, by helping secrete digestive juices.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, known for giving a new twist to common food items, listed out seven reasons on his website as to why people should include dates in their Ramadan feasts or even otherwise. And we are all ears.
A complete food
Fresh dates are a premium source of vitamin C and carbohydrates, protein, fibre and potassium. Kapoor says if we mix dates with a glass of milk, it fights general weakness, virus and infections.
Get an energy boost with a bowl of dates Image: Twitter
Easy to digest
Dates are easy to digest and are perfect to break your fast with. Eating a heavy meal right after a day-long fast can lead to acidity and other digestive problems. "Eating dates provides the body with necessary energy to start the digesting process for other more complex foods," Kapoor added in his blog.
Dates contain a large amount of natural sugar, which lifts your mood and acts as fuel for your body.
Help prevent unplanned weight loss
Fasting for the holy month of Ramadan can cause weight loss. Kapoor addressed this issue, saying, "While most of us will be glad with it, eating dates is a great way to prevent slimming down. A kilogram of dates contains about 3000 calories."
Fill you up
Dates are a good source of fibre and the best part about them is that they totally fill up your stomach. The chef pointed out that this works out wonderfully because it prevents you from binge eating, which is usually what happens when we eat after a long fast.
A chef’s delight
Kapoor said dates are a chef’s dream ingredient. Soft and sweet, they provide a brilliant chocolatey colour, texture and taste to anything they are added to. "Take for example, a simple date walnut cake which is soft and moist even when baked without eggs. You will find that you can greatly limit the amount of sugar you add to them," he wrote.
Date walnut cakes, anyone? Image: Twitter
There are more than 3000 types of dates available in the Middle East itself. Globally, dates are classified based on their stage of ripening. Kimri, khalal, rutab and tamr are some popular varieties available in different ways — seeded, deseeded, packed and loose.