Dates are the small, oval-shaped fruits of the date palm that grow in tropical climates. Because of the long distance they must travel to reach American tables; they are often sold dried, which concentrates their sweetness and gives them a pleasant texture to chew. To be honest, eating dates can be similar to eating gummies, except they are much healthier.
There are many nutritional benefits to eating dates. A 3.5-ounce serving is enough to provide about 20% of your daily potassium needs; contains 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and several types of antioxidants. they also contain a good amount of copper, manganese, vitamin B6, magnesium and iron.
Fresh dates can be bright red or bright yellow (or somewhere in between), but dried dates are usually golden brown. The most commonly consumed varieties are Medjool and Deglet Noor, but there are over 3,000 different varieties worldwide!
Whichever variety you choose and whether you eat them dried or fresh, dates offer some really important health benefits. Try eating just two dates a day for a week and see what happens to your body. We’ve rounded up some of the more exciting possibilities, but honestly, number 5 is almost enough!
dates have Better digestion
Fiber is an important part of healthy digestion, even if we don’t actually digest it. Instead, fiber helps compact the stool. This may sound crazy, but it actually helps the body move waste through the large intestine and eliminate it more easily and regularly.
Dates contain a whopping 7 grams of fiber per serving (3.5 ounces); making them a good way to get more fiber. You can crush a few and sprinkle them over your oatmeal for an even bigger contribution; but it’s best to be prepared for this meal. Fiber should be introduced into your diet gradually so as not to cause the very constipation you want to avoid.
dates gives Sustained energy
Although dates are quite sweet, they don’t spike blood sugar levels. Again, it’s the fiber that deserves the praise. The fiber slows digestion and ensures that the sugar in the dates passes smoothly into the bloodstream. When you eat dates, there is no rise and fall, but a continuous source of energy.
Despite their sweetness; dates are considered low glycemic index foods; meaning they score poorly on a test that measures the rate at which blood sugar levels rise after eating certain foods.
Significant disease prevention
Dates are rich in different types of antioxidants; which are compounds that can bind and neutralize free radicals in the body. Free radicals tend to cause cell damage until they are neutralized, which increases the risk of many common diseases. Of all related fruits, including figs and plums, dates have the highest antioxidant content. The three most powerful antioxidants in dates are
Flavonoids: Flavonoids are antioxidants known to reduce inflammation in the body. They have been studied extensively and found to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and certain types of cancer.
Carotenoids: Carotenoids are antioxidants that do a lot for your heart health; they can also help keep your eyes healthy by reducing the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Phenolic Acid: Phenolic acid is another powerful anti-inflammatory that is thought to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation is a factor in just about every known disease; so a diet rich in antioxidant foods goes a long way toward maintaining your overall health. Dates are one such food.
Age-related mental decline slows down
Now is the time to protect your brain from the ravages of age-related mental decline. Right now. There are many ways to challenge your brain and keep it sharp; but they all rely on proper nutrition to keep pathways clear in the brain. Dates have been; found to decrease inflammatory markers in the gray matter; which are associated with higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease.
Animal studies also indicate that dates have the potential to prevent the formation of beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain. When these plaques form, they disrupt communication between brain cells and lead to accelerated cell death. Other animal studies have shown that mice fed a diet including dates had better learning ability; longer memory and less anxious behaviors.
Less dependence on white sugar
Sugar overconsumption is a serious health crisis that doctors say is fueling the obesity epidemic. Refined sugars are found in so many foods; under so many different names, that even people who are trying to eat healthier can fall victim to them. If you are really determined to reduce your sugar intake; it is best to eat almost exclusively home-cooked meals.
Dates are an excellent substitute for sugar in this regard. Eating them whole is a good treat, but you can also substitute dates for sugar in many recipes. Simply mix dates and water in a blender until you have a paste. The paste can then be; replaced with sugar in a 1:1 ratio in whatever you are making. Although date paste is quite high in calories, it contains dietary fiber and antioxidants, which refined white sugar does not.
Dates are a great addition to your daily diet. Since they are high in calories, we recommend you stick to about 2 per day. Fortunately, that’s enough to reap the considerable health benefits. The nutrients, fiber and antioxidants they contain make dates a treat you don’t have to feel guilty about.
So chop them up for salads or oatmeal, use date paste instead of sugar in cookies; or just snack on whole dates. The result will be a healthier body and mind; as well as the sustained energy you need to tackle your day. So what are you waiting for? There are 3,000 types to choose from!