During Ramadan, the far-flung Muslim communities from all around the world are unified by one food: Dates. But what makes dates such a favored staple of the holy month?


The history of dates is as rich as their flavor. Dating back to at least 8,000 years ago, the cultivation of palm date trees is thought to be one of the oldest agricultural practices in human history which can be traced back to the Middle East, where the hot, arid climate provides ideal conditions for date palms to thrive. In Arab culture and other cultures, date palm trees have always been revered as timeless symbols of prosperity, hospitality, and peace.

The date palm is also mentioned over 20 times in the Holy Quran and a collection of sayings attributed to Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) mention that He always broke His fast with dates and water, and so, many Muslims are careful to follow this tradition.

But beyond their cultural and religious significance, dates are truly a remedial reserve, especially when it comes to fasting.


For starters, thanks to their high carbohydrate content that packs a lot of energy in such a small volume, dates help to quickly renew empty carbohydrate stores, boost energy after a long day of fasting, suppress sugar cravings, and thus control appetite in the meal to follow.

Dates are also rich in soluble fibers – namely pectin – which helps your gut keep things flowing and prevent constipation.
Fiber also attracts water into the stomach, thereby increasing “stomach fluidity” – i.e. the time food spends in the stomach – thus contributing to a more prolonged feeling of fullness.

Dates also contain phytonutrients which may help lower levels of cholesterol and decrease risk of diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.

Furthermore, dates contain moderate levels of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6 – all essential for energy metabolism and the healthy functioning of the nervous system. If you’re running low on any of these vitamins, you are likely to suffer from symptoms like brain fog, weakness, and fatigue – more intensely when you’re fasting.

Dates are also high in body-building amino acids, vitamins A and C, as well as many minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron, zinc, copper and selenium, making dates truly a powerhouse of nutrients.

A ½-cup serving of pitted dates, for instance, provides 4 grams or 15% of the daily value of dietary fiber, 10% of the daily value of iron; and 4% of the daily value of calcium.


As dates are mostly made up of simple carbohydrates, mainly glucose and fructose, moderation is key when it comes to eating dates, as excessive consumption of this sweet fruit could lead to weight gain and imbalances in blood sugar.

It is therefore recommended to limit your portion to 2-3 pieces of dates a day. Also, watch out for added sugars in the form of glucose syrup, which might be used to sweeten and brighten the dates!