Tuesday, February 28, 2017: 7:28 am
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Make a Date

Discover a sweet food with benefits

Dates are a sweet alternative that are free of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol. They’re a heart healthy food. But does the high sugar content counteract their benefits?

Michael Greger, M.D., on nutritionfacts.org says, despite the 80 percent sugar content of dates, they are extremely good for you. He cites a study by Israeli scientists that sought to find out whether high sugar content meant dates were not a healthful food, or whether the high antioxidant content offset the high sugars and meant it was a neutral food—or better yet, a healthful food.

The study determined eating a lot of dates did not heighten blood sugars or increase weight, but did result in improvements in triglycerides and antioxidant stress level. The study said dates are an extremely healthful option.

The livestrong.com website notes that researchers at the Department of Health and Human Services in London referred to dates as an “almost perfect food” because of their high mineral content (magnesium, selenium, potassium and calcium) plus high levels of antioxidants, fiber and vitamins.

Spring Peas With Dates and Walnuts

Kosher salt

2 cups shelled fresh English peas or thawed frozen peas

(about 10 ounces)

1 pound sugar snap peas, trimmed

1⁄4 pound snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts

1⁄4 cup chopped pitted dates

Pinch of cayenne pepper

2 teaspoons walnut oil

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Fill a large bowl with ice water. If using fresh English peas, add to the boiling water and cook until tender, about 1 minute. Add the snap peas and cook until bright green, about 2 minutes, then add the snow peas and cook 30 seconds. Drain the peas and plunge into the ice water to cool. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until soft, about 2 minutes.

Add the walnuts, dates and cayenne and cook until the nuts are slightly toasted, about 1 more minute. Drain the peas, shaking off the excess water, then add to the skillet (if using frozen peas, add them here). Add 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the walnut oil and toss. Add more salt to taste. Serves: 6-8 servings

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

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