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I love my 'date'

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dr Shernaz Avari highlights the virtues of this dry fruit as it a boon for many ailments

Before you jump to conclusions reading this title with a twinkle in your eyes, let me state that a ‘date’ has three meanings – The calendar date, a ‘date’ with your loved one and the sweet dry-fruit ‘date’, jhjajoob.  While the other two dates are equally noteworthy in our lives, we’ll celebrate the virtues of the ‘khajoor’ and welcome it in this auspicious month of festivals.

The khajoor is the only dry fruit which is affordable to one and all, being the cheapest of the dry fruits with numerous health-giving benefits. Khajoors contain proteins of high quality, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorous, iron, Vitamin ‘A’ with trace amounts of ‘B’ and ‘C’ vitamins and natural sugars like glucose and fructose.  You can have four to seven khajoors daily if you like.  

It is a fact that in the olden times, natives staying in the desert area of Africa and Asia had superb energy levels and vitality as they regularly consumed dates along with camel’s milk.  In Arabian countries they still blend butter with khajoor and eat it at breakfast. Nowadays packets of khajoor slivers are also available to make cooking easier - no more de-seeding or cutting.  Available throughout the year, life’s bounce becomes bubblier with ‘the date’.  Over to my sweet date.

Constipation and bowel cleansing
As dates are easily digested and assimilated into the system, they can be eaten with papayas as a meal—either breakfast or lunch to ease constipation by effectively cleansing your bowels.  When dates are taken with papaya seeds they cleanse the bowels of worms and their eggs.  Next time when you eat the papaya take note of the soft grey-back seeds before discarding them.  If you like you can eat a few along with your morsel of papaya and khajoor.

Strengthens the heart
Can dates strengthen the heart muscles? Yes if they are soaked in water and then eaten the next morning with sprouts of moong or alfalfa.

A boon for bones  
As dates contain a fair amount of calcium, phosphorus and iron, they are a boon to weak-boned people.  Arthritis patients can have apples with khajoor or mix it in their salads.

Dates and sexual drive
Sexually weak?  Try dates.  When dates are mixed with pistachios, almonds and cardamoms they drive away sexual weakness. Low sperm count? Well, try dates again. No one is ever too old to get that extra zing in life!

A tonic for senior citizens  
Senior citizens should consume a few dates daily.  They can soak a handful of dates in water and churn it along with the water in the morning.  This excellent tonic beats hollow all other artificial tonics.

Healing ulcers
For ulcers in the mouth, stomach or colon, drink khajoor water in the morning by blending three to four khajoors in a cup of water.  Milk cream, bananas and apples are excellent foods for ulcer patients.  However, get rid of constipation and indigestion first.

For teenagers and menstruating women: Some people are under the wrong notion that dates are ‘heaty’ and therefore best avoided by teenagers prone to pimples and acne and also by women who have a heavy menstrual flow.  Of course you cannot pop them like popcorns in a theatre! In fact, dates are a capital remedy for exactly these problems. Only soak them overnight in a glass of water and blend it well with the same water in the morning.  A few cubes of ice and a sprig of mint leaves will all add up to diminish your problems.

Children and snacking
Inculcate in your child the right eating habits from childhood itself.  Instead of the usal toffees, chocolates and mithais that most parents keep in their school lunch boxes, why not keep a few khajoors instead?  For variety you can cover a walnut over a khajoor or paste a little chocolate sauce over the khajoor.  Your child will love the ‘khajoori-chocolates’. Anyone for a date sandwich? For a change forget the usual ‘pav makhan ne jam’ sandwich. Instead chop very tiny piece of dates or silvers of dates and mix it with butter and a little honey and apply on both sides of the bread slices.  I am sure your child will lap it up as most children have a sweet tooth.
Like me, you too can let your imagination run riot and concoct some superb recipes from the khajoor. I love my dates... all three of them! Do you?

Dr Shernaz Avari is a Consultant Naturopath and Alternative Medical Practitioner

Short Takes

  • Khajoors contain proteins of high quality, minerals, fibre, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorous, iron, Vitamin ‘A’ with trace amounts of ‘B’ and ‘C’ vitamins and natural sugars like glucose and fructose.
  • They can strengthen the heart muscles, bones, heal ulcers and keep you energetic; they are also the least expensive dry fruit.

Try these delectable, nourishing foods
Though dates are generally eaten raw, a variety of sweet dishes and nourishing drinks can be made from them. Here are some sweet goodies to perk up your date.

  • A banana milk shake containing dates, cashews, a tablespoonful of honey and cardamom (elaichi) powder.  A tall glass of this shake becomes a very invigorating drink and can be consumed by children as well as adults. Senior citizens who do not have dinner can guzzle this milk shake.
     
  • Anybody for a date-coffee mousse? Blend a paste of khajoors while preparing your coffee mousse. It’s unique flavor makes it a lip-smacking palatable dessert.  While brewing coffee you can brew a few khajoors in the milk.  You’re bound to go ga-ga over this ‘cuppa that cheers’.
     
  • Grind a few dates with apple and a few mint leaves, honey in your mixer-grinder and then add the required quantity of cold water or a few ice if the climate is hot.  You’ll love this nutritiously delicious squash.
     
  • While baking cakes at home add a cupful paste of khajoors with chopped walnuts. Some like it hot and some like it cold. I prefer to have it when it’s nice and warm and freshly baked. If you wish to avoid ‘maida’ for your cakes, try wheat flour, I do.
     
  • Very delicious are the date pancakes which are on the dessert-menu of Chinese restaurants. The Parsi community makes ‘khajoor ni Ghari’ from dates (pancakes) and relishes the same as a tea-time snack.
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