Dates are great. The date fruit is high in many vitamins and minerals and is a great source of energy. It is not only healthy but also delicious. Dates have been mentioned in the Quran as well as numerous narrations from the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to break his fast with date and it is reported from him (meanings of which) is that date fruit is the best food for Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal before fasting). There is a deep wisdom behind starting a fast with date and breaking it again with a date. When we fast, we do not eat for many long hours throughout the day, so the date diet provides us energy all day long. After sunset when it is time for breaking the fast, naturally we are hungry and there is a great chance of overeating. Breaking a fast with a date eliminates it.
In this video the Dr Zakir Naik explains the various health benefits of dates in general and also explains the wisdom behind breaking the fast with it. At the end of the video, I have transcribed it in English for easy reading and understanding. Please note Zakir Naik is a medical doctor and knows what he is talking about
“Question: The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to break fast with a date and it is highly recommended to break fast with date. Can you inform us of the medical benefits of dates?”
“Dates is a wholesome food. Dates contain high level of carbohydrates, 44 to 48 percent. It has a low fat content 1 to 1.5 percent. There are about 15 minerals and salts in dates and about 6 vitamins. The protein level is 3 to 5.6 percent. It has high fiber content of 6.4 to 11.5 percent depending upon the different type of dates. And if you realize, because of the high carbohydrate content, it is very good source of energy. The moment you have date, immediately it gives you energy. It is far better than any other instant energy booster like glucose powder etc. A person can survive only on dates and water for days and months; and our Prophet (peace be upon him), used to survive only dates and water as there would be no food in his house for days and months. Sometime he would take date and sometime milk. So, date is wholesome food. The fat content in date is hardly any, so there is no risk if increased weight.
As far as the minerals are concerned, it contains 15 different minerals. It contains fluoride which prevents the tooth decay. It contains selenium which fights against cancer and increases the immune system of the human body. It contains about six vitamins including C, B, A, Niacin. It has protein which has 23 different amino acids which are not normally present in other foods like oranges, apples, bananas etc.
Date also has very high content of fiber which is good for digestive systems. It makes the digestive system clean. It has various benefits and it is a wholesome food and, alhamdulillah, the production of dates has increased by 2.9 times in the last forty years while the population of the world has increased twice in the same time period. The population of the dates is more than the population of the world. It is a wholesome food and instant energy.”