Dates are everywhere as we enter into the second half of Ramadan month. Fresh, ripe, dried, stuffed and baked. Breaking the fast with dates is a Ramadan tradition but also has many surprising health benefits.
Boost of Energy
One of the many physical benefits of breaking a fast with dates is that the fruit has a high level of natural sugar, which travels quickly to the liver, where it is converted into energy. This quick burst of energy allows one to first perform sunset prayers and then to get ready to consume the iftar meal, which requires even more energy. One should pray after eating dates and before eating the main meal, because this short break gives the body time to metabolize the dates and water that have been consumed and to start the body’s digestive processes, which have been resting all day. Also, dates help start the digestive process and help with the more complex foods eaten later.
Like a Multivitamin
Dates are also high in vitamins A and B6, folic acid, potassium, natural sodium, iron, and magnesium. Eating dates daily can create a body more fit for fasting. Dates also contain large amounts of dietary fiber, which can prevent any constipation that might result from eating the traditionally rich foods served during Ramadan. Additionally, dates protect the stomach and intestinal tract from parasites and bacteria, and thus is a good preventative medicine when eating iftar at unfamiliar locations.
Dates also have a special place in Islam. In fact, they were one of the Prophet’s most frequently consumed foods. “The Messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he would drink some water.” The act of following the Prophet’s tradition is one way of connecting and remembering him.
How to Break the Fast With Date Recipe
Later this week: How to Put an Apricot Twist on Ramadan