Dates are a fruit that come from the date palm tree, which is native to the Middle East, although they are also now grown in the Mediterranean, Asia, the USA and Mexico.
Dates grow in large clusters which hang from the top of these palm trees. As they ripen, their skins turn brown and wrinkle as more and more moisture leaves the fruit. This is when they are usually harvested by hand, either by someone climbing up the palm or using a mechanical lift.
When picked, they resemble a large shrivelled raisin. Despite their appearance they still contain some moisture. Whole dates have a stone in the middle that should be removed before eating, or you can buy pitted dates.
Dried and fresh dates are available year round, but the fresh type are best between November and January.
There are lots of different varieties of the fruit, but the medjool date is one of the best known, as it has a sweeter and stickier taste and texture than others.
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile.
Most of the calories in dates come from carbs. The rest are from a very small amount of protein. Despite their calories, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber.
- Calories: 277
- Carbs: 75 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Potassium: 20% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
- Copper: 18% of the RDI
- Manganese: 15% of the RDI
- Iron: 5% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI
Nutritious value of dates
Dates are full of nutrition, especially dry dates. Dry dates are high in calories particularly carbohydrates (74 grams). It also contains several essential vitamins and minerals with fibres. Dates are famous for their rich concentration of antioxidants which can be beneficial for your cardiac and pulmonary health, making them one of the most ideal heart-healthy foods.
The benefits of dates are:
Dates contain several nutrients that give various health benefits to your body from reducing cholesterol to healthy bones.
Dates should include in your diet as they can instantly reduce the cholesterol and help to manage your weight.
Rich in disease-fighting antioxidants
The date provides various kinds of antioxidants to treat different diseases. Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease. Dates are rich in antioxidants including:
- Carotenoids – It is very beneficial for your heart health. It also reduces the risk of eye-related disorder.
- Flavonoids – It is a powerful antioxidant with multiple benefits. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that it is useful to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.
- Phenolic acid – It has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to reduce the risk of some cancers and heart issues.
Dates are rich in copper, selenium and magnesium which are very important nutrients to keep your bone healthy and prevent bony related disorders. It is also rich in vitamin K which helps to regulate the coagulation of blood and helps metabolize your bones.
People who are suffering from osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from bony fractures. Dates can strengthen your bone and make it strong.
Promotes brain health
Each date contains choline, vitamin B that is very beneficial for the learning and memory process, especially in Alzheimer’s disease children. Regular consumption of dates has been linked to a lowered risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and better cognitive performances in older individuals.
Dates are also helpful for reducing inflammation and preventing plaque formation in the brain, which is important for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Improves digestive health
Dates are high in natural fibre, with nearly 8g of fibre in 100g of dates. This natural fibre helps to regularise bowel movements and improve your overall digestive health. Normal and healthy digestion also has a cascading effect of improving the other systems in your body like better nutrient absorption, better liver and kidney health and also keeps you mentally relaxed. Additionally, regular consumption of dates can help you avoid or even ease constipation and the host of problems that it brings.
Helps to detoxify the body
Dates and date extracts help to support liver health and also work to prevent liver fibrosis. By supporting healthy liver function, dates allow your body to detoxify in a natural way, as the liver performs the task of keeping waste and harmful substances out of your body. Liver fibrosis is significantly reduced with regular consumption of date extract, this lowers your risk of developing liver cirrhosis.
Diabetes mellitus is one of the most common diseases. Mostly diabetes is treated by using several oral diabetic medicines and insulin supplementation. Research suggests that dates are helpful to reduce blood sugar and fat levels.
It can increase the production of insulin and also help reduce the rate of absorption of glucose from the intestine. This can help to reduce the risk of getting diabetes.
Satisfy your sweet tooth
Dates are the sweetest fruit with natural sugar content in them. It can reduce your cravings for unhealthy sweet products and sugar. It is a great substitute for white sugar due to its sweetness. So, next time whenever you thought to eat something sweet, you can think about dates.
Dates are an excellent source of vitamin C and D which helps to maintain your skin elasticity and keeps your skin smooth. Dates also come with anti-ageing properties and prevent the accumulation of melanin.
Aids Weight Loss
Consuming dates every morning on an empty stomach before your workout can help to keep you feel, give you a burst of energy and thus aid in healthy weight loss. This is because dates are high on fibre, slowing down absorption in the large intestine. This makes you feel full for longer hours thereby cutting down on the need to eat more food which equals more calories. The more calories you eat the more you need to burn. Similarly, you can also gorge on 6-7 dates in between your big meals as a healthy yet satisfying snack. Dates can also stimulate metabolism by cutting down on the manufacture of short-chain fatty acids.
The other health benefits of dates include helping to deal with insomnia. If you have been suffering from insomnia for many months now and are considering purchasing over the counter medications, you should stop for a moment and try a quick and easy home remedy with only a few ingredients to sort out the issue naturally. Make a drink with dates, fox nuts and milk all blended and drink it up before going to bed. Try this for a couple of weeks and notice the difference!
Improve heart health
A handful of dates per day may improve your heart health. Dates have antioxidant properties that help to prevent the formation of atherosclerosis and prevent cardiac diseases.
There are few other benefits of dates, particularly in men and women. Those are as follows –
Benefits of dates for males
Improve sexual health in men – Dates have been eaten for ages as a fabulous food that also enriches men’s sexual health. Some research states that dates can enhance your sexual stamina.
Increase sperm count – Dates content flavonoids and estradiol which have positive effects to increase sperm count and sperm quality.
Benefits of dates in females
Tackles Iron Deficiency- According to studies it has been found that women are naturally more prone to suffer from low haemoglobin in the body. If you are suffering from an iron deficiency you should consider incorporating dates into your daily diet as opposed to purchasing the iron supplements. Consuming natural iron-rich foods is always the best option in place of having supplements or medications. For proper nutrition, have about 100 grams of dates each day which is equivalent to around 4 portions.
Promote Natural Labour – Eating dates in the later stage of pregnancy can make you easy. It promotes cervical dilation and lowers the need for induced labour. Dates successfully mimic the action of oxytocin and bring natural contraction of uterine muscle during labour.
Dates also have a compound called tannin which also helps to facilitate uterine contractions during labour.
Prevent Piles During Pregnancy – Piles are the commonest problem during pregnancy due to poor intake of fibres. Dates are an amazing source of fibres. They may help to reduce the risk of piles during pregnancy.
Post-menopausal bone health
Research shows that bone loss in post-menopausal women can be reduced by increasing the intake of potassium. One dried date provides a high amount of potassium and other nutrients. Scientists believe that high potassium intake protects bone mass by reducing the amount of calcium excreted through the kidneys.