In every attractive-vegan-New Age-woman’s recipe, dates are used to add sweetness, the natural way. “Full of antioxidants and a great energy booster,” Deliciously Ella claims as she shoves them into almond milk, protein balls, and brownies… but even I have fallen victim to this overpriced trend. Dates taste great. Like caramel, but a fruit, and healthwise, they’re not too shabby.
‘High in Antioxidants’ is plastered all over health foods, but the actual mechanics of how they work is a headwreck to explain if you don’t want to dive into chemistry. Simply put, there’s not much evidence that we need to seek them out — our bodies make them already, and a varied diet makes up for the rest. Taking antioxidant supplements is not advisable, as if only one type of antioxidant is present, it will become an oxidant itself and damage cells. You don’t have to worry about your dates though, as they contain a variety of antioxidants, in decent amounts.
The natural energy boost comes from the high (fructose) sugar content. Normally, the water and fibre content prevents a huge consumption of sugar, but, since dates are served dried, the water content is lost, so take into account that this wonder fruit can be 88 per cent sugar.
Dates may be higher in fibre than bananas and apples, but the high sugar levels mean that, as a fruit, they’re pretty average. But the hippies are onto something — dates are a perfect replacement if you’re looking for an unprocessed alternative to the white stuff.