Islamabad-The month of Ramazan is known as a period of fasting for Muslims, the sales of several varieties of dates (Khajoor) have picked pace in the wholesale and retail market all across the country and the demand for it has sky rocketed as it carries significant health benefits.

A report aired by a private news channel said in Ramazan, dates are the most favourite item of every household, restaurant and hotel for iftar, since dates are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. They are also a good source of energy since they contain sugar and fibre. The tradition of breaking fast with `Khajoor’ (dates) is connected to the religious practices in Ramazan as Muslims across the globe prefer to eat dates in `Iftar’ prior to any other item.  “Dates are the most selling item if compared to any other fruit in Ramadan and mostly the fruit-sellers offer dates exclusively on their stalls and carts,” said a shop owner, Imran Abbas.

Besides breaking fast with dates, people prepare different dishes and use dates in deserts during Ramazan feasts, he said. When the body absorbs the nutritional value of the dates, the feeling of hunger gets pacified. Another shopkeeper said mostly people buy Iraqi Basra and Sindhi Aseel dates due to the taste and affordable price. There are more than 130 varieties of dates produced in Pakistan. Out of these large numbers different types of dates include those of Balochistan and Aseel of Sindh which are highly sought after in the world over due to their exotic taste.

Modern communities, restaurants offer iftar specials and buffets, and all-night food markets pop up. Dates are always available, out of respect for tradition and because they provide a quick boost of energy. Medical specialist, Dr Muhammad Noman said that dates carry numerous health benefits for human beings especially during Ramazan.