Dates: The complete list of instant health benefits this dry fruit can bestow


Last Updated October 11th, 2019

What are dates?

Dates are Asian delicacies that provide the essential nutrient required to stay healthy. Dates are sweet, juicy fruits of date palm trees that are scientifically known as Phoenix dactylifera. The date fruit grows as a cluster on the date palms. The word date was derived from the Greek word “daktulos”, which means fingers.

They were grown mostly in tropical regions and later spread in growth to different parts of the world. The appearance of the dates determines if they are dried dates or fresh ones. Most of the western region is habituated to dry dates. History has proved that dates were discovered in Iraq, and most of the Egyptians use to make wine out of dates. In due course of time trade and travel, took dates to places around the world such as southwest Asia, Spain, northern Africa, and were later also taken to Mexico and California.

Till date, it is the most important ingredient in every Middle Eastern home. Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals, energy, sugar, and fiber. It also contains calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. In traditional ancient diets, dates were a part of every meal as a sign of hospitality that the host showers towards their guest. In many cultures especially in the Middle East, this tradition is still followed and is carried out with dignity and pride.

The nutritional content of dates

The nutrition that is present in 100 grams of dates is as follows,

  • calories: 20
  • total fat: 0.03 grams (g)
  • total carbohydrates: 5.33 g
  • dietary fiber: 0.6 g
  • sugar: 4.5 g
  • protein: 0.17 g
  • vitamin B-6: 0.012 milligrams (mg)
  • iron: 0.07 mg
  • magnesium: 3 mg
  • potassium: 47 mg

What are the health benefits associated with eating dates?

Contains all vital nutrients

Dates are excellent benefactors of all the necessary nutrients. The dates contain a higher quantity of calories and are similar to fruits like raisins and figs. In addition to their calories, dates also contain important minerals and vitamins that are essential to maintaining a healthy body. It also possesses a significant amount of fibers and antioxidant which contribute their part to a healthy lifestyle.

Aids in digestion

As mentioned earlier, dates contain 7 grams of fiber in a 3.5 ounce of serving. The inclusion of dates in your diet help increases the fiber intake. The fiber consumed helps to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system and digestive health. It prevents constipation and promotes bowel movement for easy formation of stools. It also helps prevent spikes in blood sugar levels as it slows digestion and prevents the spiking of blood sugar levels after eating. Dates are naturally low in glycemic index (GI) and help to measure the rate the rapidness in the rise of your blood sugar levels after eating.

Helps fight diseases

The antioxidant properties present in dates help prevent the risk of diseases. Dates contain antioxidants that protect your cells from free radicals. These free radicals are unstable and tend to cause infection and disease to the body.

There three types of antioxidants present in dates, they are flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid. Flavonoids play a major role in reducing inflammation and also contribute to preventing the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancer. Carotenoid helps in maintaining heart health and also helps reduce the risk of eye-related disorders. Phenolic acid is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties and its nature to lower the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Helps promote brain health

Dates as mentioned earlier contain high levels of anti-inflammatory properties. The consumption of dates helps reduce the inflammatory markers present in the brain and prevent the rise of IL-6 inflammatory marker in the brain. The high levels of IL-6 are linked with a higher risk of a neurogenerative disease similar to Alzheimer’s. It helps prevent the degeneration of brain tissue and prevent age-related brain disorders.

Controls blood pressure

Dates contain low sodium and high potassium which make them heart-healthy fruits. The intake of potassium helps promote sodium secretion and excess water. This feature of dates helps regulate blood volume and reduces blood pressure. This also helps to prevent the body from experiencing a stroke or a coronary heart malfunction.

Helps maintain teeth and bone health

Date fruits are rich sources of calcium and other necessary minerals. Calcium is an essential component that plays a vital role in building bone and teeth health. The consumption of calcium is also important for muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve impulse condition. It helps treat bone-related disorders and help them regain bone health.

Promotes natural labor

It is a commonly known phrase that every woman who has a problem with their menstruation hears, “please eat dates regularly”. It is because of the high iron content present in dates that promotes a healthy menstrual cycle. Apart from helping regulate menstrual cycle it also helps increase hemoglobin in women suffering from anemia. In pregnant women, the consumption of dates helps ease late-term labor. It is essential to take dates during the late few weeks of pregnancy as it enhances cervical dilation and lowers the situation of induced labor. Dates play a role in pregnancy due to their compound which binds to oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone which is responsible for labor contraction during childbirth.

Improves skin health

Dates contain vitamin D and C which are the essential vitamins necessary to maintain the elasticity of your skin and also maintain its smoothness. The intake of dates also provides anti-aging benefits and avoids the accumulation of melanin in your body. It is a great source of nutrients which could be incorporated in diets to revitalize the skin of people suffering from skin problems.

Takes care of your hangover

According to a study published in the Journal of Organic Systems, dates have been used along with pepper to reduce intoxication of beer. Therefore it is, evident that dates possess the features to control intoxication and in a way cure hangovers. In order to experience its entire benefits, it would be good to rub the skin a bit and soak it overnight in water and eat it in the morning after a really bad hangover.

Assists in weight gain

For those who feel you are lean and need to put on some weight, then your best ingredient that you can add in your diet are dates. Dates contain sugar, protein, and essential vitamins that help you gain weight, especially when you are in need of it. But however, for those who fear to put on weight, a combination of dates and cucumber helps to maintain your weight in the long run.

Strengthens your nervous system

As dates contain high levels of potassium they are little structural instructors that keep your nervous system on track. Potassium in dates promotes blood flow through the body and helps maintain a healthy nervous system.

The best natural sweetener you can get

It is pretty much evident that dates are natural sweeteners. Dates consist of high levels of fructose which is a natural component present in many fruits. The fructose in dates helps to give dates a sweet and caramel-like flavor. They are the healthiest substitute for white sugar which can be implemented in your diets.

If you feel your health is not up to the mark then it’s high time you take that sugar jar out of your kitchen and replace them with a jar of dates. Dates can be made into a paste which makes it easy to use. On the other hand, people with high blood sugar levels should keep an eye as dates cause a rise in sugar level due to its high levels of calories and fructose.

Dates can be easily added to your diet

Dates have versatile features and can be used to make a delicious snack. Though they are best when they are eaten by themselves they still go well with almonds, nuts, or cheese. Their sticky nature makes them a wonderful ingredient for baked goods, cookies, nutrition bars, or energy balls. Dates can also be used to sweeten up sauces, dress salads and marinades, or they could be blended into a smoothie. The rising rates of sugar-free revolution have influenced people to switch to dates syrup instead of white sugar. Below are some delicious ways in which dates can be eaten. They are,

  • Mix the paste of the dates with milk and yogurt.
  • Use the dates paste as a bread spread for a delicious and healthy breakfast.
  • Dates can be added with your cereals and porridges to make a sweet, tasty, and healthy breakfast.
  • Date sugar, which is basically the dried variety ground into tiny pieces, can be substituted instead of white sugar for both hot and cold beverages.

Few adverse reactions

The consumption of this delectable fruit can at times cause adverse reactions to us in several ways due to its excessive consumption.

  • Abdominal issues: Dates by themselves aren’t harmful but when mixed with any probiotics can alter the gut digestion and cause stomach upset. On the other hand, sulfites are a common essence added to dates which can contribute to abdominal As dates are rich sources of fibers they tend to cause abdominal bloating and constipation in people who have fewer fiber levels.
  • Rashes: The sulfites added to dates are the major reason that leads to skin rashes. These sulfites are compounds or chemicals that are added to dried fruits to maintain their shelf life and preserve the same. However, these sulfites are harmful and tend to cause an adverse reaction to your body.
  • Can lead to asthma attacks: Though there isn’t any scientific evidence that dates cause In certain situations dates can cause allergic reactions to asthma patients as they contain airborne substances called molds. People suffering from asthma are allergic to molds and tend to react when they consume dates.
  • Causes weight gain: For those who are keeping a track of their weight, then it is high time you watch your date-intake. As dates are rich in sugar content, they tend to make you gain weight. Though they are high in energy density they are relatively high in calories and can cause unprecedented weight gain.
  • Can lead to hyperkalemia: Hyperkalemia is a condition associated with excessive levels of potassium in the blood. Since dates are rich sources of potassium, excessive consumption of it can lead to hyperkalemia.
  • Linked to fructose intolerance: Dates derive their sweetness from the high content of fructose present in them. Some people find it difficult to digest fructose and become prone to fructose intolerance. It is, therefore, advisable to consume dates to a restricted level.

Dates are nutritional fruits that possess versatile health benefits. This Asian delicacy has made a way to your dietary plan with its numerous health advantages that it nurtures. On the whole, dates are essential fruits that can be consumed on a daily basis but within a limited quantity. Excessive consumption of dates can lead to the above-mentioned side effects, which you do not want to experience.

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