Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Ingredient of the month 2: Date Syrup


I bought this jar from a Middle Eastern grocery, but major wholefood brands such as Meridian also import it. I think you can get organic date syrup too- try "Crazy Jack's" brand. I love date syrup (or "rub" as it is called in Arabic) for its sweet stickiness and strong date flavour. It is made in the Middle East (countries such as Iran, Iraq, UAE, Egypt and even Pakistan being major producers) where it is traditionally used to sweeten drinks and as a spread on bread.
Nutrition (per 100g):

Energy :287 kcal
Glucose :Min 41%
Fructose :Min 29%
Fiber :4.0 g.
Protein :3.3
Iron :2.60 mg.
Carbohydrate :68.0 g.
Br ix :70 ± 1%
Vitamin B1 :0.03 mg.
Vitamin B2 :0.06 mg.
Vitamin C :2.60 mg.


Date syrup is 65-70% sugars in total. mainly glucose and fructose. It is also high in iron, therefore recommended for those suffering from anaemia. If you are looking for a very slow-releasing sugar, however, you might be better off with stevia, xylitol or malt extract, as eating more than a moderate amount can have the same effect as white sugar. Personally I find that date syrup is fine for me- I don't get the "rush" then dip in my blood sugar that I get from cane or beet sugar.

  • Dates contain many health benefitting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin-A (contains 149 IU per 100 g), which is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. Vitamin A also required maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The fruit is very rich in antioxidant flavonoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants have the ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen free radicals and thereby found to be protective against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreatic cancers. 
  • Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective light-filtering functions; thus it offers protection against age related macular degeneration, especially in elderly populations.
    (Source: www.nutrition-and-you.com)

    Uses:
    Date syrup is great stirred into warm milk or soya milk as a drink or substituted for sugar and/ or sugar syrup in cakes and flapjacks. It's also a really delicious sweet spread when mixed with tahini (sesame paste). On a cold winter's morning, date syrup drizzled over your porridge brings a warming taste of sunshine!

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