ISLAMABAD: With the advent of holy month of Ramzan, the demand of dates has increased manifold as it considered to be the most important item of Iftar according to religious perspective.
The tradition of breaking fast with Khajoor (date) is connected to the religious practices in Ramzan as Muslims across the globe prefer to eat dates in iftari prior to anything else.
Besides religious importance, dates are one of the most popular fruits with a list of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, required for normal growth, development and overall well-being.
“The dates are the most selling item as compared with any other fruit in Ramazan and mostly the fruit-sellers offer dates exclusively on their stalls and carts,” Saad Ahmed a date-seller in Sector G-9 markaz said.
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Besides breaking fast with dates, people prepare many dishes and use dates during Ramazan feasts, he said.
Ahmed said breaking fast with eating dates help to avoid overeating. When body absorbs the nutrition of dates, the feeling of hunger gets pacified, he added.
With increasing demand of various varieties of dates, the prices also increase according to the quality and supply of the item.
Mostly, the kinds of dates are being sold in twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, including Irani dry dates, Arabian dates, Pakistani Aseel, Karblain, Irani Rabai, Mazafati, Shareefa and others, Inaam Ullah a dates-seller in Sunday bazaar said.
People usually buy Iraqi Basra and Pakistani Aseel due to the taste and affordable price. There are more than 150 varieties of dates produced in Pakistan.
Out of these varieties, Begum Jangi of Balochistan, Aseel of Sindh and Dhakki of Dera Ismail Khan were the varieties which are much popular among people due to their exotic taste, he added.
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According to health experts, dates were rich in natural fibres, several vitamins, minerals, natural products contain oil, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium which are advantageous for health.
Highly nutritious and filling, dates are found on every table during Ramazan. One of the most revered staples of the month, they are very versatile and can be used to make a variety of scrumptious desserts, appetizers as well as sauces.
According to dieticians, during Ramazan, when fasting lasts from sunrise to sunset, the body can develop mild health problems such as headaches, low blood sugar, and lethargy.
Stall holders display dates for sale at a market in Rawalpindi. PHOTO: ZAFAR ASLAM /EXPRESS
To avoid such problems, one should carefully monitor their eating habits once fasting for the day has ended. Dates are an excellent source of fiber, sugar, magnesium, potassium, and have carbohydrates which will aid the body in maintaining health. The carbohydrates found in dates also make the fruit a slower digesting food, much better than fried or fatty foods which digest fast and leave one hungry for more.
Dates considered a blessed fruit are especially consumed during the Holy Month of Ramadan. It is not only a custom to have dates during this holy month, but also a delightful and delicious fruit to eat.
It is recommended to start Iftar by eating 2-3 dates, as it provides the body with sugar, helping restore low blood sugar after fasting all day. One of the most common reasons for headaches or dizziness during Ramadan is low blood sugar, which is why eating dates is very beneficial at the start of Iftar.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2017.
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