Make your brain wiser, improve your memory and learn faster just by including date palm fruits in your diet.
When we think of including healthy food in our diet, we don't usually consider dates. "How can this sweet food help us lose weight or have health benefits. It may contain lots of sugar", we may think. It's a myth. Just search in google health benefits of dates, and you will find several of them.
Dates come from the date palm tree and are grown in tropical climates. They stand out with their sweet taste, chewy texture, and health benefits. Arabian people, for example, consume this fruit very much, and this is not just because they are aware of it or it grows in their country. They prefer it because it's highly nutritious and has a low agricultural cost.
Dates at once replenish energy after being consumed and revive the body. Dates are natural sweeteners mainly composed of sugar (glucose, fructose, and saccharose). 5-6% of dietary fiber is also present in their composition, along with small amounts of fat, ash, and protein.
They contain essential nutrients for our body like fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, and several others. After all this, how can they not be considered one of the healthiest fruits in the world?
Dates can help you lose weight, fight against such serious diseases as cancer, diabetes, and heart diseases, provide you with lots of vitamins, stimulate your muscles to work, to name just a few.
Along with all these, another fascinating property they possess is that they are brain food. Yes, dates can help you have a healthier brain and have effects on such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer's and dementia. There are lots of experiments carried out with rats that come to prove their above-mentioned properties.
Let's discuss some of them and discover how dates can make your brain healthier.
Effects of Dates on Neurodegenerative Diseases
Besides their nutritious value, dates also contain phenolic compounds that are a good source of antioxidants and help protect brain cells from damage. Antioxidants are known for their preventive role against free radicals, and thus they prevent several age-related diseases.
One of the most famous progressive neurodegenerative diseases is Alzheimer's disease that leads to dementia, thus causing memory and cognitive impairment. Other well-known neurodegenerative diseases include Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The regular consumption of dates can have beneficial effects on such conditions.
The whole problem is with the so-called plaques that can be formed in the blood vessels and outside the neuron. This can lead to the neuron's death and disturb the communication between other neurons, thus resulting in neurodegenerative disease. In AD, for instance, such plaques are formed because of the activity of amyloid-beta proteins. Dates can reduce their activity and prevent the development of AD.
Studies also show that high levels of such inflammatory markers as IL-6 can also be associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease. The regular consumption of dates also helps to lower the high levels of inflammatory markers.
Laboratory Experiments on Rats
One 2015 year study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine showed that including dates in the diet helps improve learning abilities and memory and refuses beta-amyloid in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
The study was carried out with a group of mice from the age of 4. Scientists fed them with a diet containing 2% and 4% of dates. The mice were divided into 4 groups, and for each group, scientists have chosen different doses of dates. For the first two, they did not include dates in the diet: they were the control groups. For the third group, they included 2% of dates into their diet. And the last group had a diet composed of 4% dates. These were the experimental groups.
Scientists assessed spatial memory and learning ability, psychomotor coordination, and anxiety-related behavior in all the animals two times. During the first assessment, they were 4 months old. The second assessment was made after 14 months of treatment with the date diet.
The results showed that really there were improvements for the mice groups who consumed dates regularly. Those fed with standard diet had significant memory deficits, increased anxiety-related behavior, severe impairment in spatial learning ability, position discrimination learning ability, and motor coordination compared to those rat groups fed 2% and 4% date supplementation. The neuroprotective effect offered by the 4% date fruits diet to AD mice is higher than the 2% date fruits diet.
However, to be sincere, we should mention that this kind of study was only conducted on rats, so we cannot be 100% sure that they will have the same effect on humans. But dates are highly possible to prevent the progress of different neurodegenerative diseases. It also matters what kind of date you consume. The study showed that among the effective ones are these three types found in Oman - Fardh, Rutab, and Khalas dates. They are rich in neuroprotective phenolic and flavonoid contents.
How to Consume Dates?
The question may seem a bit strange at first. Actually, there are different ways to consume dates. If you want to include them in your daily diet, you may get bored eating them all the time in the same way. So, there are lots of recipes that you can try with dates. Here I will introduce some of the most famous ones to help you make your date consumption process diverse.
Cocoa Date Balls
Here is a straightforward recipe for making cute small balls with dates that are also crunchy. For the first step, prepare the ingredients - 2 beaten eggs, a cup of white sugar, a cup of chopped dates, 3 cups rice cereal, a cup of coconut flakes, a tablespoon butter, and teaspoon vanilla.
Take a saucepan of medium size and combine in already beaten eggs, sugar, and chopped dates. Boil them for 5 minutes and stir the mixture occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat, add vanilla and butter and continue stirring. Then mix in cereal and coconut flakes. With your buttered hands, make small balls from the mixture. Freeze for a while and enjoy!
Vegan Energy Bars
A healthy snack idea for vegans! Made with hazelnuts and cherries, they work perfect as a morning snack. Here is what you need to prepare it - 2 cups of dates, 2 cups hazelnuts, a cup of dried and divided cherries, half of the cup old-fashioned oats, vanilla, kosher salt, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of cocoa powder.
Combine all the ingredients (except for dried cherries) in the food processor and start mixing them. Find the perfect length for processing to make sure that the mixture is smooth enough but not sticky. Then add the cherries to the mixture and continue processing for a very short time. This is for cherries to get mixed in the mixture.
Take the baking sheet and press the mixture into a flat layer. It's up to you to decide how thick you want it to do. Then freeze for half an hour and cut into small bars. You can even store them for later eating in an airtight container.
Raw Brownie with Dates
This recipe is even simpler than you can imagine. But the same cannot be said about its taste - it's incredible. For making it, you need just some simple ingredients, including a cup of dates, 5 tablespoons cocoa powder, some walnuts and almonds, and kosher salt.
In a food processor, process the nuts, then mix in cocoa powder and kosher salt. Mix them together for a while. Then add dates and continue processing. When the mixture becomes smooth, mix in already chopped almonds and pulse a couple of times to incorporate it into the mixture.
Now, it's time to form the brownies. Take a rectangular baking sheet and press the mixture in a flat layer of your desired thickness. Freeze it for 5 minutes and then cut into squares. Serve or enjoy yourself.
Wrapped Dates with Bacon
Here is another unique recipe that is very easy to prepare with just three simple ingredients. To prepare this easy snack, you need only some dates, bacon, which should be sliced and cut into two parts, and blue cheese.
You should prepare it in the oven, so your first step is to preheat it to 190 degrees C. Then cut the dates in half and stuff them with a piece of blue cheese. After loading, again close the dates with their halves and wrap them in bacon slices. You can even use a toothpick to make sure they don't get unwrapped.
Finally, arrange them on a baking sheet and transfer them into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn dates over and continue baking for another 20 minutes. You will get yummy and crispy results.
Take care of your brain with the help of these fantastic recipes or just by eating them single. Dates are an excellent way to improve your cognitive functions and get energized without even getting fat.