During Ramadan, people care more about what they eat every day after a long day of fasting. Iftar tables are full of traditional dishes, the most outstanding being khoshaf, a very popular dish for breaking the fast or as a desert after Iftar.
Khoshaf, a dried fruit compote, is made of dried apricots, dates, dried prunes, dried figs and raisins mixed with water and sugar or qamareddin juice. You can also add some nuts to give more nutritional value.
Khoshaf has significant nutritional value as it contains dates that quench the thirst as well as dried fruit that contain a great amount of the sugar and vitamins that the body needs after a long day of fasting.
Here are some of the surprising benefits of this delicious compote.
Raisins are a small fruit packed with health benefits. Since they possess antimicrobial properties, raisins can help to reverse cavities, heal tooth decay, and maintain oral health. They also have high calcium, which is required to strengthen and remineralise tooth enamel. Raisins are also rich in fibre, which can act like a digestion aid preventing conditions such as diarrhea and constipation. They have large amounts of vitamins and iron that can help in reducing anemia in addition to copper that can help in the production of red cells and potassium that can maintain heart health.
Eating dates during Ramadan is like taking a multivitamin. They are rich in Vitamins B6, A, and C (when fresh), minerals, sugar and fibre. These delicious fruits contain oil, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and small amounts of protein as well as fats. They are loaded with tremendous health benefits. Dates can promote healthy teeth and be beneficial for people who suffer from iron deficiency. They are also high in antioxidants and can boost the brain and memory, ease digestion, keep the heart healthy and work as a quick energy booster. They can prevent premature ageing, promote bone health, support the immune system and reduce tiredness and fatigue as well.
These have a nice taste and a very high nutritional value. Prunes are high in antioxidants like carotenoids and polyphenolic acid that can help to regulate the immune system. They have a significant level of Vitamin C, which stimulates the production of white blood cells and has certain antioxidant properties. According to research, prunes can decrease the risk of heart disease, cancer, prevent high blood pressure and regulate hormonal functioning, thus bringing down the risk of chronic diseases. Being a powerhouse of Vitamin K, magnesium and phosphorous, the regular consumption of prunes can help to improve bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. They can also help to lower cholesterol and prevent type 2 diabetes and obesity.
These are rich in fibre and are a naturally fat-free and cholesterol-free food. Figs are also an excellent source of Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, copper, potassium and magnesium. While figs are high in natural sugars, they are good for diabetics if eaten in moderation. They can improve digestion and decrease constipation. They contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce the risk of heart disease. They can also help in strengthening bone density and regulating blood pressure. Figs can boost immunity, treat anemia, and serve as a wonderful remedy for infertility and other problems associated with the reproductive system.
These are packed with life-giving nutrients including Vitamins C, E, and A, potassium, iron, dietary fibre, a number of health-promoting phytochemicals, minerals, antioxidants, and lutein among other nutrients. Dried apricots can provide a higher concentration of nutrients per fruit when compared to fresh ones. However, excess consumption can lead to unpleasant side effects. Dried apricots can improve bone mineral density, protect the skin from damage and ageing effects, and promote vision. They can also help with weight loss when taken in moderation, relieve constipation, reduce blood pressure and treat anemia. They are a powerhouse of iron and Vitamin C.
* A version of this article appears in print in the 13 April, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly