Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. Dates have become quite popular in recent years.
Dates were known to have healing powers. While science has proved that for sure, we love to eat them mostly because of how delicious these dark fruits are.
According to history, date palm is known to have come from what is now Iraq, however Egyptians were known to have made wine with dates a lot earlier as well.
Dates travelled to southwest Asia Spain, northern Africa, and were later also taken to Mexico and California.
Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fiber. It also constains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF DATES
■ VERY NUTRITIOUS
Dates have an excellent nutrition profile.
Since they’re dried, their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit. The calorie content of dates is similar to that of other driend fruits, such as raisin and figs.
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.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides the following nutrients:
●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
Dates are also high in antioxidants, which may contribute to many of their health benefits.
Dates contain several vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber and antioxidants. However, they are high in calories since they are a dried fruit.
■ HIGH IN FIBER
Getting enough fiber is important for your overall health.
With almost 7 grams of fiber in a 3.5-ounce serving, including dates in your diet is a great way to increase your fiber intake.
Fiber can benefit your digestive health by preventing constipation. It promotes regular bowel movements by contributing to the formation of stool.
In one study, 21 people who consumed 7 dates per day for 21 days experienced improvements in stool frequency and had a significant increase in bowel movements compared to when they did not eat dates.
Furthermore, the fiber in dates may be beneficial for blood sugar control. Fiber slows digestion and may help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high after eating.
For this reason, dates have a low glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a certain food.
Dates are high in fiber, which may be beneficial for preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar control.
■ HIGH IN DISEASE-FIGHTING ANTIOXIDANTS
Dates provide various antioxidants that have a number of health benefits to offer, including a reduced risk of several diseases.
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease.
Compared to similar types of fruit, such as figs and dried plums, dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content.
Here’s an overview of the three most potent antioxidants in dates:
●Flavonoids: Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.
●Carotenoids: Carotenoids are proven to promote heart health and may also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration.
●Phenolic acid: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Dates contain several types of antioxidants that may help prevent the development of certain chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
■ MAY PROMOTE BRAIN HEALTH
Eating dates may help improve brain function.
Laboratory studies have found dates to be helpful for lowering inflammatory markers, such as interleukin 6 (1L-6), in the brain. High level of 1L-6 are associated with a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s .
Additionally, animal studies have shown dates to be helpful for reducing the activity of amyloid beta proteins, which can form plaques in the brain.
When plaques accumulate in the brain, they may disturb communication between brain cells, which can ultimately lead to brain cell death and Alzheimer’s disease.
One animal study found that mice fed food mixed with dates had significantly better memory and learning ability, as well as less anxiety-related behaviors, compared to those that did not eat them.
The potential brain-boosting properties of dates have been attributed to their content of antioxidants known to reduce inflammation, including flavonoids.
However, human studies are needed to confirm the role of dates in brain health
Dates may be helpful for lowering inflammation and preventing plaques from forming in the brain, which is important for preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
■ MAY PROMOTE NATURAL LABOR
Dates have been studied for their potential to promote and ease late-term labor in pregnant woman.
Eating these fruits throughout the last few weeks of pregnancy may promote cervical dilation and lower the need for induced labor. They may also be helpful for reducing labor time.
In one study, 69 women who consumed 6 dates per day for 4 weeks prior to their due date were 20% more likely to go into labor naturally and were in labor for significantly less time than those who did not eat them.
Another study of 154 pregnant women found that those who ate dates were much less likely to be induced compared to those who did not.
A third study found similar results in 91 pregnant women who consumed 70-76 grams of dates daily starting the 37th week of pregnancy. They were in active labor for an average of 4 fewer hours than those who did not eat dates.
Although eating dates appears to help promote labor and reduce labor duration, more research is needed to confirm these effects.
The role dates may have in pregnancy is likely due to compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors and appear to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes labor contractions during childbirth.
Additionally, dates contain tannins which are compounds that have been shown to help facilitate contractions. They are also a good source of natural sugar and calories, which are necessary to maintain energy levels during labor.
Dates may promote and ease natural labor for pregnant women when consumed during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
■ LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Did you know that dates are free from cholesterol, and contain very little fat? Including them in smaller quantities in your daily diet can help you keep a check on cholesterol level, and even assist in weight loss.
Dates are free from cholesterol, and contain very little fat
■ PROTEIN RICH
Looking to load up on proteins. Adding some dates in your diet may help. Dates are a strong source for proteins that help us in staying fit, and even keep our muscles strong.
RICH IN VITAMIN
Dates contain vitamin such as B1, B2, B3 and B5, as well as A1 and C. If you have a few dates every day, you won’t have to take vitamin supplements. Not only will it keep you healthy, there will be a noticeable change in your energy levels as well because dates contain natural sugars such as glucose, sucrose, and fructose, too.
Health benefits of dates: Dates contain vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B5 as well as A1 and C
■IMPROVES BONE HEALTH
Dates could do wonders for your bone health. Dates are rich in selenium, manganese, copper, and magnesium, and all of these are required when it comes to keeping our bone healthy, and preventing conditions such as osteoporosis.
Dates could do wonders for your bone health
■ STRENGTHENS THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
Dates are loaded with potassium, and yet contain little sodium, and that goes a long way in keeping your nervous system in order. The potassium helps reduced cholesterol, and keeps the risk of a stroke in check.
■ RICH IN IRON
Apart from the fluorine that keeps your teeth healthy, dates also contain iron, which is highly recommended for those who suffer from iron diciency. Severe iron-deficiency anemia may cause fatigue or tiredness, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Plus it’s great for blood purification as well.
■ PROMOTES DIGESTION
If you soak a few dates in water and chew on them daily, your digestive system will behave itself very well. Due to it’s high in fibre content it also recommended for those who have trouble with constipation.
Dates have high fibre content
■ IMPROVES SKIN
The vitamin C and D works on your skin’ elasticity, and also keeps your skin smooth. Plus, if you suffer from skin problems, incorporating dates into your diet might help you in the long run. Plus dates also come with anti-aging benefits, and prevent the accumulation of melanin in your body.
Dates have decent amount of Vitamin C, one of the most skin friendly antioxidants.
■ FIXES HANGOVERS
While we haven’t exactly tired it out, but it’s said that dates are an excellent way to control inebriation. As similarly, it also helps to cure hangovers. But for best results, you have to rub the skina bit, and soak it in water overnight and eat it.
■ ASSISTS IN WEIGHT GAIN
The sugar, protein, and other vitamins in the fruit help in weight gain, especially when you need it. Incidentally, it’s said that when eaten with cucumber, dates help to you weight at a normal level. Now that’s what we call flexibility.
The sugar, proteins, and other vitamins in dates help in weight gain
OTHER POTENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Dates have been claimed to have a few other health benefits that have not yet been extensively studied.
●Bone health: Dates contain several minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium. All of these have been studied for their potential to prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis.
●Blood sugar control: Dates have the potential to help with blood sugar regulation due to their low glycemic index, fiber and antioxidants. Thus, eating them may bemefit diabetes management.
Although these potential health benefits are promising, more human studies are needed before conclusion can be made.
Dates have been claimed to promote bone health and aid in blood sugar control, but these effects have not been studied sufficiently.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Dates are a very healthy fruit to include in your diet.
They are high in several nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, all of which may provide health benefits ranging from improved digestion to a reduced risk of disease.
There are several ways to add dates to your diet. One popular way to eat them is as a natural sweetener in various dishes. They also make a great snack.
It’s easiest to find dates in their dried from, though these are higher in calories than fresh fruit so it is important to them in moderation.
Dates are definitely worth adding to your diet, as they are both nutritious and delicious.
References: food.ndtv.com / healthline.com