Dates have become quite popular over the years. They are grown on date palm trees in many tropical regions. Most dates sold all over the world are in dried form. You can tell whether a date is dry or fresh by looking at its skin. If it is wrinkled, it means that it is dried, whereas if it is smooth, it means that it is fresh. Depending on where they are grown and the variety as well, dates come in different sizes and range in color from bright red color to bright yellow. They are considered one of the most powerful fruits in the world featuring a huge amount and variety of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Dates Are Very Nutritious
To begin with, dates are both very powerful and nutritious. Furthermore, since they are mostly found in dried form, their calorie content as compared to other fruits is higher as well. Dates contain the same amount of calories found in other dried fruits such as figs and raisins. Moreover, the majority of calories found in dates come from carbohydrates. The rest comes from a very small amount of protein. Lastly, dates tend to include a high concentration of antioxidants as well that play a huge role in protecting and improving overall health.
High in Fiber
Amongst the benefits of date palm, one is that it is rich in fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient that is required by your body especially the digestive system to help digest the food. It is required by the gut bacteria that helps dissolve, absorb, and extract nutrients and vitamins from the foods we intake. If you were to consume a 3.5-ounce serving, you will get almost 7 grams of fiber. This is a great way to incorporate dates into your daily routine. Another major benefit of consuming dates is that fiber helps eliminate constipation. It encourages the movements of the bowel and contributes to stool formation.
A study conducted on 21 people found that those who consumed 7 dates per day for 21 days experienced and observed improvements in stool frequency and also showed improved signs of bowel moments as compared to when they were not eating them. In addition to that, the fiber found in dates might also help with blood sugar control. The reason being that fiber slows down the process of digestion and prevents blood sugar levels from spiking all of a sudden.
High in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Apart from controlling the blood sugar level, dates have the potential to protect your body against harmful diseases as well. This, as a result, helps improve your overall health. The purpose of antioxidants is to protect your body against free radical cells that are basically unstable molecules causing chemical reactions in your body, ultimately misbalancing it. Furthermore, as compared to other dried fruits such as figs and dried plums, dates tend to contain the highest antioxidant concentration.
The first type of antioxidants found in dates is called Flavonoids. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that might help reduce inflammation and reduce the chances of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other types of cancer. The second type is called Carotenoids that promote heart health and may also reduce muscle degeneration.
And, the last type is called Phenolic acids. Phenolic acids are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Dates Might Promote Brain Health
Dates have been associated with promoting brain health as well. Studies conducted in laboratories have found that dates are lowering inflammatory markers. It helps reduce the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, studies conducted on animals have observed that dates reduce the activity of amyloid-beta proteins that can form plaques in the brain. Upon the accumulation of plaques in the brain, the communication between brain cells is disturbed, ultimately leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
A study conducted on mice found that the intake of diet including dates significantly improved memory and learning ability compared to those who did not eat them.
Might Promote Natural Labor
Several studies have been conducted on the benefits of date palm in pregnancy and the potential to ease late-term labor in pregnant women. The intake of dates throughout the last week of pregnancy might promote cervical dilation and might also lower the need for induced labor. Additionally, they might also reduce labor time.
In one study consisted of 69 pregnant women found that those who consumed 6 dates per day for 4 weeks prior to their due date had 20% more chances of going into natural labor and spent comparatively less amount of time in labor than those who did not eat them.
Additionally, dates also contain tannins that help facilitate contractions. And since they are a good source of natural calories and proteins, consuming them will provide sufficient energy required for labor.
Excellent Natural Sweetener
Dates contain fructose, which is a natural type of sugar found in fruits. Dates are sweet and feature a subtle caramel-like flavor. Due to this reason alone, they can be used as an excellent alternative to white sugar in recipes. However, it is important to note that although dates are high in fiber and nutrients, they are still fairly high in calories and should be, therefore, consumed in moderation.
Easy to Add to Your Diet
Dates are versatile and make a delicious snake. Therefore, they are usually combined with other foods such as nut butter, almonds, or soft cheese. Since dates tend to be sticky as well, it makes them an ideal ingredient in baked goods. You can combine them with nuts and seeds to make healthy energy bars. Remember that date palm benefits and side effects might sometimes go hand in hand. If you are careless with the intake, you might end up with a high sugar level due to sugar and calories found in dates.
Dates Might Promote Skin Health
It is a well-known fact that dates contain Vitamin C and D. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these might help improve skin elasticity. It might also help the skin prevent other types of diseases and irritations. Moreover, dates might also have anti-aging benefits. They prevent the accumulation of melanin in your body that might otherwise lead to skin issues.
Dates May Regulate Blood Pressure
Dates are rich in potassium. This helps manage hypertension. One Medjool date contains around 167 mg of potassium. As compared to other fruits, this is fairly high content. Lack of potassium might also lead to kidney stones. At the same time, fiber also helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Additionally, the magnesium found in the fruit relaxes the blood and heart vessels while reducing blood pressure.
In the end, dates are a very healthy fruit that consists of powerful antioxidants and vitamins, and minerals. There are several ways to incorporate them into your daily diet. Since they are high in calories, you should consume them in moderation whether you are having a smoothie or energy bars.