10 Ways to Use Dates
Dried dates are portable treats that satisfy any sweet tooth, but who knew the gems were crammed with nutrients? And I mean crammed, boasting loads of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Here's a sampling of what they deliver:
• Soluble and insoluble fiber: Soluble fiber fills you up and prevents the absorption of LDL (bad) cholesterol; insoluble fiber helps the digestive system.
• Flavonoid antioxidants known as tannins: These can help prevent infection and inflammation.
• Vitamin A: This powerful antioxidant is essential for vision and healthy mucous membranes and skin. In fact, consuming foods rich in vitamin A may help protect against lung and oral cancers.
• Beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin: The three antioxidants protect the body's cells from free-radical damage, which may ultimately protect against colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung and pancreatic cancers. Zeaxanthin offers extra protection against age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly.
• Potassium: The mineral works with sodium to control heart rate and blood pressure.
Quite a resume! Better still, dried dates provide an ideal vessel for nutritious fillings. Here are 10 stuffing ideas to get you started:
Robin Miller is host of Quick Fix Meals, a nutritionist and author of 10 cookbooks, including “Robin Takes 5” and “Robin Takes 5 for Busy Families.” She is the busy mom of two active boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinmillercooks.com.