Dates are a good source of various vitamins and minerals. It’s a good source of energy, sugar and fiber. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc are found in dates. It also contains vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin A and vitamin K.
The following nutritional data outlines some of the key nutrients found in dates, and is based on a 100g serving of the fruit.
- Fiber – 6.7 grams. 27% RDA.
- Potassium – 696 milligrams. 20% RDA.
- Copper – 0.4 milligrams. 18% RDA.
- Manganese – 0.3 milligrams. 15% RDA.
- Magnesium – 54 milligrams. 14% RDA.
- Vitamin B6 – 0.2 milligrams. 12% RDA.
Health Benefits of Dates
1. Intestinal Disorders
The nicotine content in dates is thought to be beneficial for curing many kinds of intestinal disorders. Continuous intake of dates helps to inhibit growth of the pathological organisms and thus, they help stimulate the growth of friendly bacteria in the intestines.
In terms of digestive issues, dates contain those insoluble and soluble fibers, as well as many beneficial amino acids which can stimulate the digestion of food and make it more efficient, meaning that more nutrients will be absorbed by the digestive tract and enter your body for proper usage.
2. Blood Sugar
One of the main reasons people avoid eating dates is the belief that they will raise their blood sugar levels, but studies have shown that belief to be erroneous. The May 28, 2011, issue of “Nutrition Journal” reports a study in which date consumption was tested on diabetics.
The study shows that while dates contain high amounts of natural sugars, they are actually a low-glycemic index food and did not significantly raise blood sugar levels after they were eaten. If you are diabetic, speak to your doctor before adding dates to your diet so that you can monitor your blood sugar levels and determine how dates affect you personally.
Dates are commonly used as a remedy for alcoholic intoxication. Dates provide quick relief and have a sobering effect in case you feel as though have consumed an uncomfortable amount of alcohol. They can also be used the following morning to prevent severe hangovers. Again, they should be rubbed and soaked overnight for the best results.
4. Healthy Pregnancy and Delivery
Further adding to the health benefits of dates, one study performed by researchers at the University of Science and Technology set out to discover how the date fruit impacted labor parameters and delivery outcomes. After studying 69 women for a year and 1 month, the researchers found that “the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome. The results warrant a randomised controlled trial.”
5. Lower Triglycerides
Though the fiber in dates has the ability to lower cholesterol levels, researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Israel report that dates have better results at lowering triglyceride levels, which is another type of fat in the blood.
A study published in the Sept. 9, 2009, issue of the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” shows that consuming dates may lower triglycerides by 8 to 15 percent. Reducing your triglyceride levels will lower your risk of hardening of the arteries, heart attack and stroke, according to the National Institutes of Health.
One of the most interesting facets of dates is the presence of organic sulfur in them. This is not a very common element to find in foods, but it does have a worthwhile amount of health benefits, including the reduction of allergic reactions and seasonal allergies.
According to a study done in 2002, organic sulfur compounds can have a positive impact on the amount of suffering people experience from SAR (Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis), which affects approximately 23 million people in the United States alone. Dates are a great way to somewhat stem the effects of those seasonal allergies through its contributions of sulfur to the diet.
7. Low Fat
Dates contain very low levels of fat, and are a popular energy food among fruitarians because they are high in simple sugars and low in fat, which is an excellent combination for health. The body uses carbohydrates and fat for energy for cells, but the body uses carbohydrates first and then it uses fat. They western diet is high in fat, so fat often goes unused for energy and is stored in fats cells and can lead to obesity.
8. Sexual Weakness
Studies have shown that dates are even beneficial for increasing sexual stamina. Soak a handful of dates in fresh goat’s milk over night, then grind them in the same milk with a mixture of cardamom powder and honey. This mixture becomes a very useful tonic for increasing sexual endurance and reducing sterility caused by various sexual disorders.
The science behind this phenomenon is largely due to traditional usage which stimulated formal research. In 2006, Bahmanpour studied the effects of date palms and their oil on sexual functioning and found that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components of dates are what increase sperm count and motility, as well as promoting increased testes size and weight. So, if you are looking for a masculine boost, eat some dates, because they are a great natural aphrodisiac.
9. Dates for Abdominal Cancer
Date consumption is effective in condition of stomach cancer. The fruit is natural and does not cause any side effects. It is a very good source of energy and could be digested easily. Dates contain many anti-oxidants which help in curbing damage from free radicals. Studies have shown that anti-cancer property of dates is so powerful that it could fight benzo(a)pyrene, a compound which triggers cancer.
10. Nervous System Health
The vitamins present in dates make it an ideal boost to nervous system health and functionality. Potassium is one of the prime ingredients in promoting a healthy and responsive nervous system, and it also improves the speed and alertness of brain activity. Therefore, dates are a wonderful food source for people as they begin to age and their nervous system becomes sluggish or unsupported, as well as for people who want to keep their mind sharp.
11. Dates Improve Muscle Function
Eating dates are a good way to support healthy heart and muscle function. The heart and muscles need proper amounts of electrolytes to support normal electrical activity in the muscles. Dates are high in the potassium and magnesium electrolytes. Without proper amounts of electrolytes you can experience muscle fatigue which can lead to a feeling of tiredness even though cell energy levels might be high.
12. Help Relieve Constipation
Dates are often categorized as a laxative food. This is why dates are so frequently eaten by people suffering from constipation. In order to achieve the desired laxative effect of dates, you should soak them in water over night. Then, eat the soaked dates in the morning like syrup to get the most optimal results. Dates have high levels of soluble fiber, which is essential in promoting healthy bowel movements and the comfortable passage of food through the intestinal tract, which can relieve symptoms of constipation.