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12 Proven Health Benefits Of Dates
Dates may have some really powerful health benefits like boosting energy, increasing iron in the body, and aiding digestion. Rich in various nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, dates are popular throughout the world. These dried fruits may prove to be beneficial in treating various conditions due to their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor properties.
What are Dates?
Dates are the sweet, chewy fruit of the date palm tree (Phoenix dactylifera). Dates have been the staple food of the Middle East for thousands of years. Muslims consider date palms and dates sacred, and throughout the religious fasting period of Ramadan, these dried fruits are a common ingredient in the diet. Each date can be about 60 to 70 percent sugar and a high amount of fiber, depending on the variety, which makes it ideal as a healthy energy booster. It is also high in iron and may help in fighting anemia.
Dates are now popular all over the world and are used as a natural sweetener in smoothies, juices, nutrition bars, and baked products like cakes and muffins. You can buy also premium varieties that are stuffed with almonds or peanut butter and specialty products like date molasses, a sweet sticky syrup that can be drizzled on pancakes or porridge.
Watch Video: 9 Surprising Benefits Of Dates
|Serving Size : |
1 date, pitted (24 g)
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||0.15|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||74.97|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||6.7|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||66.47|
|Glucose (dextrose) [g]||33.68|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||64|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||0.9|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||54|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||62|
|Potassium, K [mg]||696|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||1|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||0.44|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||0.36|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||0.3|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.81|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||0.25|
|Folate, total [µg]||15|
|Folate, food [µg]||15|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||15|
|Choline, total [mg]||9.9|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||7|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||89|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||149|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||23|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]||2.7|
|Aspartic acid [g]||0.22|
|Glutamic acid [g]||0.27|
|Sources include : USDA|
According to USDA FoodData Central, dates are a good source of energy, fiber, sugar, and various vitamins and minerals. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, and zinc can be found in them. Apart from the above-mentioned nutrients, they may also contain important vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K.
A 2008 review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition journal by Cornell researchers Chang Yong Lee and Mohamed Ali Al-Farsi suggests that over 15% of the daily requirement of essential minerals such as copper, potassium, magnesium, and selenium can be fulfilled by consuming 100 grams, or about 4 pitted dates per day.
Let us look at some of the key health benefits of dates in detail below.
Can Be Good Source of Energy
Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose. The high energy present in them can be attributed to this high sugar content. Many people around the world are estimated to eat natural low-fat dates for a quick afternoon snack when they are feeling lethargic or sluggish to help bump up energy levels fast.
Often when you exercise in a gym, outside, or even on a stretching machine at home, you feel exhausted. A study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition suggests that dates rich in essential nutrients may help you regain your energy immediately.
People who follow Islam and observe fasting break their fast by eating them along with water. This also helps avoid overeating food once the fast is over.
May Boost Brain Health
A study led by Musthafa Mohamed Essa, Ph.D. et al. suggest that dates may protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. According to research, “date palm fruits are a good source of dietary fiber and are rich in total phenolics and natural antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, ferulic acid, protocatechuic acid, and caffeic acid”. The presence of these polyphenolic compounds may potentially help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Can Potentially Relieve Constipation
In traditional Tunisian medicine, dates are used for treating constipation. A serving of 100 grams of Medjool dates provides 6.7 grams of dietary fiber. A 2005 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry also suggests that these dried fruits have high levels of dietary fiber and insoluble fiber, in particular. The insoluble fiber found in dates may potentially promote healthy digestion by bulking up the stool and may also aid in relieving the symptoms of constipation.
How to use: Start by soaking dates in water overnight to help them soften. Next, add soaked dates and a bit of the soaking liquid to a food processor and blend to make a thick, fiber-rich date paste.
Might Offer Relief from Intestinal Disorders
Research suggests dates contain insoluble and soluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids that may stimulate the digestion of food and ensure quick passage through the gastrointestinal tract. According to a review published in the Journal of Nutrition Reviews, fiber may also aid in the treatment of conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids.
May Offer Relief from Anemia
Dates can be a good source of many nutrients, including iron. A deficiency of iron can contribute to anemia, a condition characterized by fatigue, dizziness, brittle nails, and shortness of breath. Fortunately, increasing your intake of iron-rich foods such as dates may help provide relief from anemia symptoms.
May Prevent Heart Diseases
A study by Waseem Rock et al. in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry concluded that consuming dates was effective at reducing triglyceride levels and decreasing oxidative stress, both of which are risk factors for heart disease and atherogenesis, which is the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries.
Can Potentially Treat Sexual Dysfunction
There are many benefits of dates for men but this makes for one of the most important ones.
In 2006, an animal study revealed the effects of date palm pollen and its oil on sexual functioning, reporting that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components in dates are helping increase sperm count and motility. Another study conducted in India states that date palm pollen may have been used to treat male infertility in traditional medicine.
Therefore, if you are looking for an easy way to boost your libido and sexual function, you may consider consuming organic dates, thanks to their aphrodisiac-like properties.
How to use: Soak a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk overnight, then grind them in the same milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey. However, consulting with a trusted medical practitioner before trying is strongly recommended to determine the best course of treatment for you.
Can Prevent Night Blindness
According to an article in the Heart Views journal, dates are rich in carotenoids, which may help prevent night blindness and preserve healthy vision.
Might Help Treat Chronic Diarrhea
According to an article published by the Columbia University Medical Center, foods rich in potassium such as dates may help replace and replete electrolytes lost due to chronic diarrhea. Thanks to their high fiber content, they may also aid in digestion and alleviate the unpredictable nature of chronic diarrhea.
Can Aid Bone Health Improvement
A publication by Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., et al., and colleagues of North Dakota State University suggests that dates contain boron which is amongst the nutrients that promote healthy bones. A study published in the Journal of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition suggests that significant amounts of minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium found in dried fruits may make them a superfood for strengthening bones and fighting off painful and debilitating diseases like osteoporosis.
Organic pitted dates may contain selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, all of which may aid in managing bone health, particularly amongst older adults.
May Promote Healthy Weight Gain
According to USDA, these dried fruits are rich in sugar along with proteins, and many other essential vitamins and minerals. They are also high in fiber, which can aid in weight management. Medjool dates are easily available in grocery markets and make for a healthy and delicious snack!
An animal study conducted in 2014 suggested that intake of dates may aid in weight gain. However, another animal study done in 2016 indicated no such increase in weight. Given the conflicting reports, more research is needed to support this benefit.
Can Potentially Aid in Relieving SAR Symptoms
According to a study conducted in 2012, dates may have a positive impact on SAR (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis), a condition that affects approximately 30 million people in the United States alone. The study published in Inflammatory Research found that date palm immunotherapy was effective at decreasing several markers of inflammation in patients with allergic rhinitis.
May Promote Natural Labor
Eating dates may help promote natural labor and also ease late-term labor for pregnant women. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that 154 pregnant women, when given dates, did not needto be induced for labor with prostaglandin and oxytocin. Dates also did not have any adverse effects on the mother and the child. Another study found that eating 6 dates daily for 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for labor induction.
Where to Buy?
Dates are easily available in supermarkets, grocery stores, and online. Make sure you select the type that provides all the benefits you are looking for. Some of the popular varieties include:
- Organic Medjool dates
- Noor dates
- Ajwa dates
How to Eat?
Apart from eating them as is, people consume them in several ways.
- Mix the paste of the dates with milk and yogurt.
- Use the date paste as a bread spread as part of a delicious and healthy breakfast.
- Add date crumbles to your cereal and porridge.
- Use date sugar, which is the dried variety ground into tiny pieces.
You can also try our delicious recipes with dates:
- Date Cake, A Festival Treat
- Classic British Sticky Toffee Pudding: A Holiday Favorite
- How To Make Sheer Khurma (Milk With Dates)
- Delicious Bacon-Wrapped Dates Recipe
Word of Caution: Although these dried fruits carry tremendous nutritional value, great care should be taken in their selection because their surface is very sticky, which may attract various impurities.
Finally, keep in mind that dried dates are relatively high in sugar and calories, which may contribute to weight gain and other health issues if consumed in excess. Therefore, it’s best to keep intake in moderation and enjoy it as part of a healthy, balanced diet to maximize the potential health benefits.
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What are the Health Benefits of Eating Dates?
Dates are one of the best ingredients for a daily diet because of their numerous health benefit. The date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera L.) is widely grown in hot, dry locations, primarily in the Middle East and North Africa, and supplies nutrition, food security, and raw material to the food industry. It has been a staple food for generations and possesses several health benefits.
Image Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com
Dates are a natural reservoir of sugars such as sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Fresh dates have about 157 calories per 100 grams, and dry dates have more than 300 calories per 100 grams. Dates include extra nutritional components in the form of proteins, crude fiber, lipids, and antioxidants in addition to their high natural sugar content, making them a functional food with substantial health advantages.
Dates are extremely sweet, containing between 50 and 88 percent of their total weight depending on the cultivar, ripening stage, and overall moisture content.
The predominant sugars in dates are fructose and glucose, which make up two-thirds of the overall fleshy content. Water accounts for one-fifth of the whole fleshy makeup, and the remaining (small) amount is dietary fibers. Protein, lipids, crude fiber, minerals, vitamins (particularly vitamin B), and tannins are also abundant in dates. Dates have significant nutritional content and can thus assist in meeting human dietary requirements.
Date flesh contains between 0.2 and 0.5% oil, whereas the seed or pit contains 7.7–9.7%. The primary unsaturated fatty acids include palmitoleic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. The oleic acid concentration of date seeds fluctuates between 41.1% and 58.8%, making them a possible source of oleic acid.
Dates contain 23 different types of amino acids, some of which are missing from popular fruits like oranges, peaches, grapes, and apples. A small quantity of vitamin C, vitamin B(1) thiamine, B(2) riboflavin, nicotinic acid (niacin), and vitamin A are also present in them.
Dates – classification
Dates are divided into four groups based on their sugar content. Dates of the first class are high in sucrose (40-65%). These have a glucose and fructose content of 20-40% and water content of 10-25%. The dates in the second class are high in glucose and fructose (40-75%) but low in sucrose (10-35%).
The dates in the third class have a water content of 10-35%, glucose and fructose content of 65-90%, and sucrose content of 0-10%. Dates from fourth grade have a lot of water in them (35-65%). These have a 35-37% glucose and fructose content, with no sucrose.
Dates – proportion of minerals
Dates are a good source of potassium, magnesium, copper, and selenium, among other minerals. A 100g serving of dates provides around 15% of the recommended daily intake for these minerals. Dates contain moderate amounts of iron, calcium, phosphorus, and manganese, and 100 g of dates can provide around 7% of the recommended daily consumption of these elements. Dates are great for patients with hypertension since they are low in sodium and high in potassium. Boron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and zinc are some of the other minerals and salts found in varying amounts.
In addition, the seeds contain varying amounts of aluminum, cadmium, chloride, lead, and sulfur. Dates contain elemental fluorine, which helps to keep teeth healthy and free of disease. Dates also contain selenium, a mineral that is thought to help prevent cancer and is vital for immunological function.
Phytochemicals in dates
Fruits’ anti-inflammatory properties are ascribed to phytochemicals, which are bioactive non-nutrient found in combination with secondary plant metabolites or essential cellular components.
Researchers and physicians are increasingly interested in phytochemicals because of their antioxidant activity, cholesterol-lowering qualities, and other possible health benefits such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease prevention. Carotenoids, polyphenols, isoflavones, lignins, tannins, and sterols are some of the bioactive components present in date fruits.
However, there is still little research on the comprehensive identification, characterization, and quantification of phytochemicals in various date types at various phases of fruit ripening. The amount and content of phytochemicals found in date fruits vary greatly depending on the date variety, stage of maturation, storage, postharvest processing, hydration, analytical settings, and geographical origin of dates.
Some major health benefits
Date palm trees have been feeding people as a source of energy, nutrition security, and healthy fruit for the previous 5000 years in the worst climatic conditions. The following are some of the health benefits of date fruits. Soft, easily digested flesh and simple carbohydrates like fructose and dextrose make up fresh dates.
When consumed, they rapidly replenish energy and invigorate the body. Tannins, a type of health-promoting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidant, have anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevents easy bleeding) effects.
Antioxidant flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin can protect cells and other biological structures from the detrimental effects of oxygen-free radicals. As a result, consuming dates have been reported to provide some protection against malignancies of the colon, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreas. Zea-xanthin protects against age-related macular degeneration, which is common among the elderly. Potassium is an essential component of cell and body fluids, assisting in the regulation of heart rhythm and blood pressure, and so protecting against stroke and coronary heart disease.
Dates have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral characteristics, as well as the ability to prevent chronic inflammation and other disorders, due to their high phenolic content. Due to their high fiber and phenolic content, dates can aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and immune system regulation.
Due to their anti-allergic immunomodulatory properties, phenolics produced from dates can reduce the hypersensitive immunological response. Anti-inflammatory reactions are induced by the regulation of proinflammatory pathways, which is one of phenolics’ immunomodulatory properties.
Dates can serve as an important food in the human diet and, they can play a significant part in human health and nutrition due to their unique nutritional content. Dates include a variety of functional and bioactive substances such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, phenolics, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, all of which have anti-tumor, anti-ulcer, anti-microbial, and immuno-modulatory characteristics.
Furthermore, dates are regarded as a nutraceutical and functional food. When compared to the regular diet, a few dates can satisfy our daily nutrient needs. As a result, date consumption is strongly encouraged.
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