The numerous health benefits of dates has made the delicious fruit the most sought after food in the world of health and nutrition. Dates possess a rich nutritional profile having high-calorie content than other fresh fruits. These fruits arise from date palm trees grown in tropical regions of the world. Dates can be either fresh or dried. You can quickly identify them based on their appearance as dried dates will look wrinkled. They are sweet in flavor with a chewy texture.
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Nutritional facts of dates
There lies no doubt in the richness of vitamins and minerals present in dates. They are highly rich in Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6), Vitamin A, and K. They are deeply beneficial for the body as they contain rich nutrients and carry a lot of importance in regulating cholesterol levels, bone health, and boost cognitive importance.
This table states the only important nutritional values of a 100g of dates as approved by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture).
|Total Fat||0.15 g|
|Dietary Fiber||6.7 g|
|Potassium (K)||696 mg|
|Magnesium (Mg)||0.296 mg|
|Manganese (Mn)||54 mg|
|Iron (Fe)||0.90 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.249 mg|
11 Health benefits of dates
Fruits contain natural sugar, which does not cause any harm to the body if eaten in the right amounts. Dates are one of them; they contain plenty of natural sugar in them loaded with nutrition. This combination makes them a highly consumable snack.
1. Exceedingly nutritive
Several minerals and vitamins such as vitamin B, potassium, iron, magnesium along with natural sugar, are present in dates. Fibre and antioxidants prevent our body from various types of illnesses.
2. Rich in fiber content
Consuming dates is one of the best ways to enhance your fibre intake and accomplish its need. Fibre present in dates is known to control blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. This process prevents the levels from rising immediately after eating food. Due to this reason, the glycemic index is low in dates.
3. Fights off diseases
Dates, with the help of antioxidants, fight off disease-causing agents. Antioxidants’ presence prevents the body from free radicals, reactive oxygen species molecules, that may cause life-threatening reactions in our bodies. The three most important antioxidants are –
- Flavonoids: Their primary role is the reduction of inflammation to reduce the possibilities of diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and some cancer.
- Carotenoids: They function to reduce the chances of macular degeneration or other eye-related disorders.
- Phenolic acid: They also contain anti-inflammatory properties. They function to reduce the likelihood of heart diseases and cancer.
4. Enhances brain health
Dates can enhance the functioning of the brain by decreasing amyloid beta proteins activity. These proteins are capable of the formation of plaques in our brain, which, when accumulated, can cause brain cell death leading to Alzheimer’s disease and even death. You are likely to have a better memory and a good learning ability by including dates in your diet. It leads to a decrease in anxiety-related disorders.
5. Good for pregnancy
Dates can support a healthy pregnancy by helping the women in their calorie intake and promote natural labor by cervical dilation in the last few weeks. It reduces the need for induced labor and can decrease labor time. Some doctors believe that the compounds present in dates bind to the hormone oxytocin, which is known to cause labor contractions. It appears to imitate the functions of oxytocin during childbirth. The presence of tannins in dates facilitates the contractions during childbirth. The natural sugar and calories present in them are useful in maintaining high energy levels during labor as well.
6. Acts as a natural sweetener
Fructose, also known as fruit sugar, is abundant in dates. They are useful and a healthy alternative for white sugar. In addition to sweet taste, they are nutritious, fibrous, and high in antioxidants. You can make dates puree and store in the refrigerator and use it instead of white sugar too, but one must always keep in mind that – moderation is the key to a healthy living.
7. Regulates cholesterol levels
Dates are a good source of soluble fiber, which can help to reduce LDL cholesterol, which is a major factor contributing to heart problems. Also, dates being rich in potassium reduces the risk of stroke and other heart related problems.
8. Improves bone health
The vitamins present in dates assists in the development of bone and eye health. Minerals like copper (Cu), selenium (Se), magnesium (Mg), and manganese (Mn) assists in keeping our bones in healthy condition by preventing them from osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions.
9. Promotes skin health
Vitamin C and vitamin D present in dates is good enough to promote skin elasticity properties. It fights from other skin conditions like rashes, itching, and acne. It provides the skin with anti-ageing benefits with the help of phytohormones and prevents melanin accumulation. The incorporation of dates in diet can produce long-term effects.
10. Dates can help in the regulation of blood pressure
The presence of magnesium and potassium in dates help in the regulation of blood pressure and in maintaining the heart’s health. Potassium in dates eases out the tension in your arteries (blood vessels) to reduce high blood pressure. However, excess potassium in the diet is harmful to the kidneys. Therefore, it is recommended that you discuss with your physician before consuming potassium if you are having kidney issues.
11. Dates can prevent hair loss
Dates are beneficial in circulating oxygen all over the body. This process of oxygen circulation leads to the strengthening of the hair follicles, which prevents our hair from breakage and hair loss. Consuming 2-3 dates per day will help you to get stronger hair.
12. Dates can enhance sexual health
The presence of amino acids in dates causes an elevation in the sexual stamina and enhancement of sexual health. It gives the body an instant energy boost.
Wholesome dates recipes
Dates can be consumed in whichever way you want. You can directly chew them, blend them, or add them as your natural sweetener. You can try these two delicious and popular date recipes –
#1 Dates milkshake
- 1 cup Cow’s milk or Nut milk
- 2-3 soaked Dates, pitted
- 4-5 Almonds/ 3-4 halves Walnuts
- A pinch Cardamom powder
- Add all ingredients in a blender along with ice cubes.
- Blend it till smooth and serve.
#2 Chocolate dates’ bites
- 10-16 medium-sized dates
- ½ cup of unsweetened almond butter/ 10-15 dry roasted almonds
- 1 cup of dry roasted rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Add all ingredients in a blender or a food processor and mix well until a thick dough.
- Shape the mixture into small balls and serve.
Consuming dates and including them in your diet is a step forward to a healthy lifestyle. Dates are highly nutritious fruits and contain the highest amount of antioxidants if compared to any other fruit. Their high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content make them fight off various diseases. Dates’ fiber is useful in constipation issues and regulating blood sugar levels. Moderate consumption of dates can provide the body with some essential nutrients like potassium, iron, manganese, and magnesium. You can consume them in either of its two forms, fresh or dried. Replace your artificial white sugar with a natural sweetener and get relieved from various ailments like diabetes. Take a step towards better health today itself!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
A. Dates are rich in dietary fiber and essential fatty acids that aid weight loss. Therefore, it is safe to consume 3-4 dates/day.
A. Yes. Low glycemic Index and good fiber content allows diabetics to add 2-3 dates per day as long as they exercise and maintain healthy eating habits overall.
A. Dates are best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container to help them retain moisture. They can be stored up to 6 months in the refrigerator, but may lose moisture the longer they sit. Large quantities of dates can also be frozen for up to one year.
A. Dates are also a source of folate, which helps reduce the likelihood of birth defects. They also provide iron and vitamin K, thereby helping a growing baby develop strong bones, and improving muscle and nerve function. Furthermore, randomized trials have found that eating dates in late pregnancy may increase cervical ripening, reduce the need for a medical labor induction or augmentation.
A. The great range of date varieties can be classified in three groups depending on their maturation in the tree; they can be Fresh -soft, semi-dry and dry. All have it’s own unique taste and health benefits. Hence you can keep changing dates you get home for more benefits. A Few popular varieties are Medjool, Ajwa, Kimia, Dayri, Barhi, Deglet Noor, Halawy, Khadrawy, Thoory and Zahidi.