Just Jujubes
Better Nutrition|May 2021
If your only experience with jujubes involves the candy that got stuck to your shoe at the movie theater, Alisha Taffwould like to introduce you to the “real” version of this timeless treat—a nutrient-packed fruit with deep roots in ancient Chinese medicine.
NEIL ZEVNIK

Until recently, the only jujubes I knew were those tiny fruit-flavored hard candies I ate as a kid—annoying sticky little things that stuck in your teeth and took forever to dissolve or dislodge.

Alisha Taff grew up experiencing an entirely different version of jujubes in her Asian-American household. For her, jujubes were a slightly sweet, mahogany-colored fruit with a history stretching back for millennia. “I remember visiting my mother’s Chinese friends, who always loved to give out jujubes,” she recalls. “Just sweet enough, it was candy in my eyes! However, at the time, I had no appreciation for its high nutritional value and that it played an important role in traditional Chinese medicine.”

Nutrients galore: vitamin C, calcium, iron, & more

Jujubes have played a prominent role in the culinary and medicinal traditions of many countries, probably originating in China, India, and Persia, but eventually finding their way across the globe.

The jujube’s nutritional profile offers an abundance of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber in a sweet, delicious form, with especially generous amounts of vitamin C, calcium, and iron. In traditional Chinese and Korean medicine, jujubes are prized for their antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, and are used to alleviate stress and stimulate the immune system.

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