Benefits of Dates & Hot Tips to Get More of Them In!

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People see Medjool Dates as superior to other dates, because they’re nice and soft, larger in size, sweet in taste and the perfect snack to satisfy those sweet cravings!

Heaven.

That being said, there isn’t much difference nutritionally. So let’s look at the benefits of both.

 

Frankly, I know that above looks like… well, poop. But we’re actually talking about…

dates dates dates!

They’re heavenly things.

Sweet, chewy, caramely pockets of goodness. Don’t you think so?

Scroll down for:

  • why dates are such a powerful force for health
  • ways to use them
  • recipes
  • hot tips

But first, you gotta learn a thing or 2 about these bad boys…

Dates are the fruit of a date palm tree.

Seen one of those before? Me neither. Here you go.

 

They’re high in some important nutrients and you can use them in so many ways!

Don’t believe me? Check out the infographic we made for you above.

And – this sweet little info-morsel below blew-my-mind….

 

Not getting enough fibre (combined with having too much processed sugar) creates inflammation, which both:

a) stops your body from producing enough serotonin (our feel-good hormone)
b) blocks the serotonin receptor in our brain, so the serotonin our body doesmanage to make, barely even registers!

So… getting enough fibre [hello dates!] helps us feel gooood, and lowers our risk of depression.

Thank you to Dr David Perlmutter for that amazingness.

 

Dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content of similar types of dried fruits.

And antioxidants?

They protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease.

Think heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

So that’s a good thing.

These 3 antioxidants found in dates are to thank.

  • Flavonoids: Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.
  • Carotenoids: Carotenoids are proven to promote heart health and may also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
  • Phenolic acid: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

 

Because of the minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals found in dates, along with their high fibre content, they’re classed as a ‘functional food’.

(‘Cos they “serve a function” in our bodies. Cool concept huh.)

High in fibre, they also have high levels of selenium, copper, potassium, magnesium, and moderate levels of manganese, iron, phosphorus, and calcium.

Winning!

 

Dates may be helpful for preventing plaques from forming in the brain, which is important for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Dates may promote and ease natural labour when eaten during the last few weeks of pregnancy. The role dates may have in pregnancy is likely due to compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors and appear to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes labour contractions during childbirth.

Not only that, dates contain tannins, which are compounds that have been shown to help facilitate contractions.

They’re also a good source of natural sugar and calories, which are necessary to maintain energy levels during labour.

 

It’s important to remember that although dates are high in fibre and nutrients, they’re still fairly high in calories and best consumed in moderation.

Some people are sensitive to oxalates (those on the spectrum, those with leaky gut etc). If that’s you, you may wish to avoid or reduce dates in your diet, as they are high in oxalates.

 

Hot Tips!

Replace the more expensive Medjool Dates with Pitted Dates in most recipes by doing this

Just soak ’em in hot water for a few minutes, and they’ll be super soft – ready to blend up easily for bliss balls or a variety of desserts.

 

How to Make Date Paste (a healthier sugar sub)

Date paste is a highly nutritious substitute for refined white sugar (we know regular sugar does our body and mind NO favours!).

Turning dates into a paste sounds like quite a task but it is as easy as soaking them in water and blending them up the next day. Date paste stores well and is easily added to anything that requires some extra sweetness.

Curries, smoothies, cereal, overnight oats, as a bread spread or in date bars.

Use as a 1:1 replacement for a granular sugar. Cookies will come out a little softer and cake-like, but still amazing.

When replacing maple syrup, use double the amount of date paste than syrup that the recipe calls for.

 

Directions

  1. Fill a jar with very tightly packed dates, and just cover with water.
  2. Soak for 30mins to 8 hours.
  3. Empty jar into a food processor.
  4. Optional: Add a pinch of salt and a little vanilla.
  5. Blend until paste is creamy. This can take 7-8 mins. (It might be tempting to stop after a minute or two, but don’t. While the taste will be the same, the texture will improve!)

 

Recipes

Paleo Sticky Date Pudding

sticky date pudding

Paleo Sticky Date Pudding

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 2

Equipment

  • Thermomix

Ingredients

Pudding

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 150 g dates soaked in boiling water for 10 minutes
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp salt or suit to your taste
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

Pudding

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease round cake tin (20cm) and dust with flour or line.
  • Chop dates finely by hand or in a food processor, or Thermomix chop for 8 seconds on speed 7.
  • Put water and dates into a saucepan and gently simmer on stove for 5 minutes constantly stirring. Thermomix 5 minutes, 100°C, on Speed 1.
  • Add bicarb soda to the water/date mixture and mix well. Thermomix 3 seconds, speed 2.
  • Set bicarb, date, water mixture aside.
  • In a bowl add coconut oil, flour, sugar, eggs, flour and vanilla and mix well.
  • Add date, water, bicarb mixture to oil, flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla – mix well.
  • Pour mixture into prepared tin and place in preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Leave in tin 10 minutes before turning out onto a plate.
  • Serve with caramel sauce or fresh fruit as desired.

Caramel Sauce

  • Add the drained dates, vanilla and oil mix in food processor or Thermomix until they form a thick paste.
  • Add salt and coconut cream until well combined and creamy. Can be served hot or cold.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Course Appetizer, Baking - Sweet, Dessert, Freezer Friendly, Snack, Special Occasion - Adult Party, Special Occasion - Christmas
Keyword coconut cream, coconut sugar, pitted dates
Allergy Dairy Free, FODMAP Friendly, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Legume Free, Nightshade Free, Nut Free, Peanut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Sesame Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free
Value Halal, Paleo, Vegetarian

Chocolate Coated Banana Nice Cream & Caramel Bars

Chocolate Coated Banana Nice Cream & Caramel Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Freezing Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 4 bars

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a food processor or high speed blender, process the bananas and vanilla powder until you have a creamy, ice cream-like consistency.
  • Spoon banana ice cream mixture onto a lined baking tray into bar-like shapes or use a silicone mould. Do this quickly, so your ice cream doesn't melt, and pop into the freezer to keep chilled.
  • Using a food processor or high speed blender again, process the dates, almond butter, water and salt. Start slowly so the ingredients can combine, then increase the speed until a caramel-like paste forms.
  • Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the date caramel over each banana ice cream bar and spread out using a spatula, to ensure every bite has a nice amount of caramel, then return to the freezer.
  • Finely chop the cacao butter and place into a bowl with the coconut oil. Pour some boiling water into a bigger bowl, and place the bowl of cacao butter on top. The steam from the boiling water below will melt the cacao.
  • Once melted, add the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt, and stir to combine.
  • Finally, add the cacao powder. Adding this last will ensure you don't damage the heat-sensitive beneficial properties in the cacao. You should now have a liquid chocolate.
  • Remove your banana ice cream and caramel bars from the freezer and one by one, coat in the chocolate. The easiest way is to get two forks– use them to lower the ice cream bars into the chocolate, coat them evenly and then place back onto the baking tray.
  • Coat all ice cream bars, then return to the freezer to set for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Drinks, Snack, Special Occasion - Christmas, Special Occasion - Kids Party
Keyword almond butter, banana, cacao butter, pitted dates
Allergy Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Legume Free, Nightshade Free, Oil Free, Peanut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Sesame Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free
Value Halal, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian
Author: Kate Levins

Five Ingredient Cherry Ripe Bliss Balls

Cherry Ripe Bliss Balls

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 30 balls

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Using your food processor, blend the dates until smooth.
  • Add the desiccated and shredded coconut and blend until combined.
  • Add the frozen cherries and raspberries and blend again until combined.
  • Roll mixture into balls, roll in extra desiccated coconut and set in the refrigerator before serving.

Notes

These can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Dessert, Freezer Friendly, School Lunches, Snack
Keyword Bliss Balls, Cherry
Allergy Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Legume Free, Nightshade Free, Nut Free, Oil Free, Peanut Free, Refined Sugar Free, Salt Free, Sesame Free, Soy Free, Wheat Free
Value Halal, Vegan, Vegetarian
Author: Emily Arkosi

Boosted Chocolate “UP N GO” Milkshake

 

 

 

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About the Author: Kate Levins

Kate Levins is a holistic Nutritionist, writer, caterer and plant-based food educator. Kate practices clinically as a Nutritionist, and teaches cooking classes and workshops that combine nutritional information with practical ways in which to incorporate the benefits of good nutrition, every day. The goal of Kate’s teachings and her work overall, endeavors to show people that healthy eating can be simple! She’s also passionate about showing people how delicious it is to incorporate more plant food on their plates at each meal.

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