In the holy month of Ramadan, most Muslims practice the sunnah of having sweet titbits before indulging in their main meal3. Dates are fruits that originated from the Middle East and are usually seen to be the “appetizers” to break fast. But why were dates chosen specifically?
“When one of you breaks his fast, let him break it with dates for they are blessed. If they not found, let him break it with water for it is pure”Prophet Muhammad (Sunan al-Tirmidhi 695)
Dates prolong satiety
Dates are high in soluble dietary fibers (especially pectin). According to Demet Cerit, a Turkish nutrition, and dietetic specialist, these fibers attract water and sequentially increase the fluidity of stomach content. Hence, you will feel fuller for a longer period as the fibers prolong the time spent in the stomach3.
By including dates during iftars (break fast) and sahurs (meal before fasting) together with plenty of water, you can gain control over your appetite and prolong satiety.
Dates avoid constipation
Gastrointestinal problems such as constipation are common during the Ramadan season. This is due to the low water intake, eating low-fiber foods, and lack of movement. But no fear, as the dates are here! The high fiber dates promote regular bowel movement by contributing to the formation of stool.
Dates control sugar cravings
After long hours of fasting, your body tends to hunt for sugar, especially on high carbs foods to bring the blood sugar level back up to normal and to replace the empty vessel of your stomach.
However, eating high carbs food will make you feel hungry easily. This is because foods with high carbohydrate content such as white bread, rice, and wheat noodles break down and absorb into your body. As a result, you will consume more, which may consequently lead to a food coma.
In contrast, dates are a source of fructose, which is a natural type of sugar commonly found in fruits2. Hence, dates can be a good healthy substitute for desserts and sugary foods. Not only can they curb your sugar cravings, but they are also packed with nutrients, fiber, and antioxidant properties.
Dates are a quick energy booster
Dates are however small but high in natural sugars that are easily digested3. They can generate immediate and effective energy that punches you awake to make you as productive as the day.
Dates are filled with many benefits and nutrition. Hence, that is why dates are chosen to break fast. Do note these dates are high in calories and are advised to take in moderation. Grab a date in celebration of the holy month of Ramadan!
READ ALSO: Good Fasting Tips
1. Elliot, B. (2018). 8 Proven Health Benefits of Dates. Healthline. Accessed 30th March 2022 from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-dates.
2. Shubrook, N. The Health Benefits of Dates. BBC Good Food. Accessed 31st March 2022 from https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/health-benefits-dates.
3. Ismail, M.S. (2022) This Is Why Everyone Eats Dates During Fasting Month. The Rakyat Post. Accessed 30th March 2022 from https://www.therakyatpost.com/taste/2022/03/30/this-is-why-everyone-eats-dates-during-fasting-month.