Why eating dates during Ramzan is a great idea | Recipes | Chef Sanjeev Kapoor

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Energy booster

One of the many physical benefits of breaking the fast with dates is that our body benefits from the date's high level of natural sugars. Sugars travel most quickly to the liver, where they are converted into energy more quickly than any other nutrient. Muslims have an immediate need for this energy when they break their fast, for they need energy to perform their sunset prayers. Ironically, one also needs this energy to consume the iftar meal. When a person eats, the body uses energy to digest the food. Eating large quantities of food immediately after fasting is not healthy for the body, which is in a weakened condition. Eating a date first helps the body start its digestive process and gives it the energy to deal with the secondary, more complex foods, eaten during iftar.


Nutrient power house

Dates are also high in vitamins A and B6, folic acid, potassium, natural sodium, iron, and magnesium. Thus, eating dates daily during Ramadan is like taking a daily multivitamin. This daily multivitamin can create a stronger and healthier body, one more fit for fasting. Dates also contain large amounts of dietary fiber, which can prevent any constipation that might result from eating the traditionally rich foods served during Ramadan. Additionally, dates protect the stomach and intestinal tract from parasites and bacteria, and thus is a good preventative medicine when eating iftar at unfamiliar locations.


Spiritual significance

Dates also have a special place in Islam. In fact, they were one of the Prophet's (SAW) most frequently consumed foods. For this reason, their benefit is most likely spiritual as well as physical. If their benefit were purely physical, one could perhaps consume any fruit high in natural sugars before iftar to gain similar benefits. However, the act of following the Prophet's (SAW) tradition is one way of connecting and remembering him, which is spiritually beneficial for Muslims.


Ramadan Facts

  • It is believed that Muhammad received the first revelation during Ramadan. If a non-Muslim meets a Muslim during the month of Ramadan, the appropriate greeting for good wishes is "Ramadan Mubarak" which means "Have a blessed Ramadan."
  • The beginning of Ramadan can move as many as 11 or 12 days each year. Fasting can last longer each day for those in in polar regions where daylight can last for up to 22 hours. During Ramadan, Muslim-majority countries often shorten work days to allow for additional prayer time each day. In some other countries it is a crime to ignore Ramadan and break the fast.
  • During the holy month of Ramadan pious muslims give to charity through Sadaqa (voluntary giving), or Zakat (mandatory giving). In Arabic it is known as zakat which literally means "purification", because zakat is considered to purify one’s heart of greed.
  • They are also encouraged to read the Quran all through Ramadan and offer 5 prayers a day. The first prayer of the day is called Fajr. The meal before the beginning of the fast is called suhoor, and the meal after sunset is called iftar. Muslims often break the daily fast with three dates and then a prayer called the Maghrib prayer. A meal follows which is often a buffet-style large meal.
  • Despite the exemptions to fasting during Ramadan such as illness, breastfeeding, or medical conditions, many Muslims will persist with fasting because of their spiritual needs. If one is not able to fast, but is able to in the future once their condition changes, they must still complete the fast. Children are not obligated to fast during Ramadan, not until they have reached puberty, but some practice in order to prepare for adult participation.
  • At the end of Ramadan culminates to Eid ul Fitr to celebrate the end of the fast. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated by wearing best clothes, giving gifts, having a large meal, and spending time with family. Muslims also use this time to ask for forgiveness for sins and to praise Allah (God).

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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.