Ramadan is the holy month of Islam. Muslims all over the world observe fast from dawn to dusk. They forgo food and water. As we all know at sunset Muslims break the fast by consuming dates first. According to the history of Islam Prophet Mohammad used to break fast with dates as it was the only fruit available in the Arabian Deserts. But do you know the scientific reason behind this practice and why dates are the ideal fast breakers during Ramadan?
Dates are commonly known as Date Palm as it comes from Palm family. According to the researches, since 4000 BC the date palms are in cultivation. Date Palm is the most ancient cultivated tree in the world. It is believed that they are native to Arabia and Persian Gulf.
There are more than 2000 varieties of dates known, some of them are Khudri, Safawi, Barhi, Saghai, Zahidi, Kholas, etc.
Why Dates are first consumed to break the fast?
- During Ramadan headaches and dizziness are very common due to low blood sugar. Dates when consumed on an empty stomach help in boosting instant energy as it consists of sugars.
- Since dates are also high in Potassium, which is a major mineral to maintain the electrolyte balance, hence helps in rehydration after day long fasting.
- Dates have lot of fibre, so they help in relieving constipation and proper digestion after heavy meals are consumed at Iftar.
- Dates are high in iron, therefore they help in carrying oxygen in blood.
- Dates are high in Magnesium. Potassium and Vitamin B6, therefore they also help in regulation electrical impulses. Thus maintaining steady heartbeat and reducing the chances of a stroke.
The most common varieties of dates used in Ramadan to break the fast are:
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Ajwa dates have rich history. They are native to Saudi Arabia and are believed to be the fruits of the oldest tree in the world. It is believed Prophet Mohammad used to break the fast with these and planted the first Ajwa date palm in Madinah. Ajwa Dates are dark in colour and tend to be dry, soft and fruity. They have capacity of preventing and curing heart diseases. Seed powder of these dates are effective for the treatment of blocked heart arteries. They also help in reducing cholesterol levels (LDL) and triglycerides in the blood.
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Medjool Dates as called “King of Dates” as they are available all over the world. These dates are native to Jordan. They are soft compared to dry and semi dry varieties of dates. They have caramel like flavour with deep brown skin colour. Medjool are rich in Potassium, and thus help in preventing muscle cramps. They are natural sweetners and are high in minerals like Magnesium, Manganese, Copper and Calcium, therefore they help in strengthening bones as well.
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Amber dates are native to Madinah, Saudi Arabia. They are soft, fleshy unlike Ajwa which are dry. Amber have dark brown to brownish black skin. They are famous for their size as they are the largest of Madinah dates. Amber dates have sweet cinnamon flavour.
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Mabroom Dates are native to Saudi Arabia. They are semi transparent and dark brown in colour. They are similar to Ajwa which are soft and dry. In comparison to Khudri Mabroom are less sweet. They have high content of antioxidants and minerals, thus are high in energy. Because of low glycemic index, Mabroom are suitable for diabetic patients.
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Sukkari dates are cultivated in Al Qaseem region, Saudi Arabia. Sukkari is an Arabic word, which means sugary. They are very sweet and need not be soaked before consuming. They are also known as “Queen of Dates” as these are soft, chewy and golden in colour. They help in curing digestive disorders, fatigue, tooth decay, lack of energy, drowsiness, dizziness,etc.
I enjoyed knowing the reason behind breaking of fast by Dates in Ramadan. Hope u did too. Ramadan Kareem!