Dates are the fruits of a date palm, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. Dates have become quite popular in recent years. Almost all dates sold in stores and markets are dried. To determine whether or not a date dried in front of you is possible by appearance. A dark wrinkled peel indicates that the dates are dried, and a smooth and even peel indicates that you have a fresh fruit.
Dates can look quite diverse: they are usually small in size and have a color from bright red to bright yellow. Dates Medjool and Deglet Noor are the most commonly used varieties.
Dates have a very sweet and sugary taste. They are high in some important nutrients and have many health benefits.
In this article we will consider the nutritional value of dates, the benefits and harms to human health, as well as how to include them in the diet and how much to use.
The benefits of dried dates
Denote the eight proven beneficial properties of dried dates.
1. Dates have an excellent nutrient profile
Since the dates are dried, their calorie content is higher than that of most fresh fruits. The calorie content in dates is similar to the calorie content of other dried fruits, such as raisins and figs.
Most calories in dates are found in carbohydrates. The rest is from a very small amount of protein. Despite its high calorie content, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber.
100 grams of dates contain the following nutrients:
Calories : 277 kcal
Carbohydrates : 75 gr.
Fiber : 7 gr.
Protein : 2 gr.
Potassium : 20% of the daily intake
Magnesium : 14% of the daily intake
Copper : 18% of the daily intake
Manganese : 15% of the daily intake
Iron : 5% of the daily intake
Vitamin B6: 12% of the daily intake
There are also many antioxidants in dates, which can contribute to a number of positive health effects.
Dates contain several vitamins and minerals, as well as dietary fiber and antioxidants. Dried dates contain a lot of calories.
2. Contain a lot of fiber
Getting enough fiber is important for your overall health. Almost 7 gr. dietary fiber per 100 gr. dried dates are a great way to increase fiber intake in your diet.
Dietary fiber can benefit the health of the gastrointestinal tract by preventing constipation. They contribute to regular bowel movements, contributing to the formation of normal stools.
In one study, 21 people who consumed 7 dates per day for 21 days experienced an improvement in stool frequency and general bowel motility compared to the period when they did not eat dates ( 1 ).
In addition, fiber in dried dates may be useful for controlling blood sugar. Dietary fiber slows down digestion and can help prevent an increase in blood sugar after eating. For this reason, dates have a low glycemic index, which measures how quickly the level of sugar in the blood rises after eating a certain amount of food ( 2 ).
Dates are high in fiber, which can be helpful in preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar.
3. High levels of antioxidants
Dried dates contain various antioxidants that offer a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of several diseases. Antioxidants protect cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause harmful reactions in the body and lead to illness.
Compared to similar types of fruits, such as figs and dried plums, dates have the highest antioxidant content.
Below is a brief overview of the three most powerful antioxidants in dates:
Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of developing diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and certain types of cancer ( 3 ).
Carotenoids have been shown to enhance heart health and can also reduce the risk of eye-related diseases, such as macular degeneration ( 4 ).
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid can help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease ( 5 ).
Dates contain several types of antioxidants that can help prevent the development of certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.
4. Dried dates are good for brain development.
Dates can help improve brain function. Laboratory studies have shown that dates are useful for lowering inflammatory markers, such as interleukin 6 (IL-6), in the brain. A high level of IL-6 is associated with a higher risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease ( 6 ).
In addition, animal studies have shown that dates are useful for reducing the activity of amyloid beta proteins, which can form plaques in the brain ( 7 ). When plaques accumulate in the brain, they can break the connection between brain cells, which can ultimately lead to brain cell death and Alzheimer’s disease.
In one animal study, mice eating food mixed with dates had significantly better memory and learning ability, as well as less anxiety compared to those who did not eat them ( 8 ).
Scientists believe that these useful properties of dates are explained by the content of antioxidants in them, especially flavonoids. However, human studies are needed to confirm the role of dates in human brain health.
Dates can be helpful in reducing inflammation and preventing plaque formation in the brain, which is important in preventing Alzheimer’s.
5. Dates prepare the body of a woman for natural childbirth
The potential of dates was studied to alleviate the state of late gestosis and other serious conditions of pregnant women in the last months of pregnancy.
It has been found that consuming these fruits during the last few weeks of pregnancy can help to relax and naturally open the cervix and reduce the need to stimulate labor. They can also be useful to shorten the duration of a bout.
In one study, 69 women consumed 6 dates per day for 4 weeks prior to their expected date of birth. As a result, they were 20% more likely to naturally enter the birth and their birth lasted significantly less than those who did not eat dates ( 9 ).
Another study among 154 pregnant women found that those who ate dates were much less likely to stimulate labor than those who did not ( 10 ).
The third study showed similar results in 91 pregnant women who consumed 70-76 grams of dates daily, starting from the 37th week of pregnancy. They were in the active phase of labor on average 4 hours less than those who did not eat dates ( 11 ).
Despite the striking results of these studies, additional experiments are needed to confirm these effects before recommending that all pregnant women use dates before childbirth.
This effect of dates during pregnancy is probably due to compounds that bind to oxytocin receptors and seem to mimic the effects of oxytocin in the body. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes the onset of labor and stimulates contractions.
In addition, dates contain tannins, which are compounds that have been shown to help ease contractions. They are also a good source of natural sugar and calories, which are necessary to maintain energy levels during childbirth.
Dates can contribute to the onset of natural birth and facilitate the birth process for pregnant women when they are consumed during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
6. Great natural sweetener
Dried dates are a source of fructose, a natural type of sugar found in fruits. For this reason, dates are very sweet and also have a delicate caramel flavor. They can become a healthy substitute for white sugar thanks to the nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants they provide.
The best way to replace white sugar with dates is to make date pasta. This is done by mixing dates with water in a blender. The rule of thumb is to replace sugar with date paste in a ratio of 1: 1. For example, if a recipe requires 1 cup of sugar, you will replace it with 1 cup of paste.
It is important to note that, despite the fact that dates have a lot of fiber and nutrients, they are still quite high in calories and are best consumed in moderation.
Dates are a healthy substitute for white sugar due to their sweet taste, nutrients, fiber and antioxidants.
7. Other Potential Health Benefits
It is argued that dates have several other health benefits that have not yet been explored.
Bone Health : Dates contain several minerals, including phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium, due to which dates have the potential to prevent conditions like osteoporosis.
Blood sugar control: dates can help regulate blood sugar due to their low glycemic index, dietary fiber and antioxidants. Thus, their use can help control diabetes.
While these potential health benefits are promising, more research with human involvement is needed before drawing conclusions.
Dates are said to help improve bone health and help control blood sugar levels, but these effects are not well understood.
8. Dried dates are easy to add to your diet.
Dates are incredibly versatile and are a simple and tasty snack. They are often combined with other products such as almonds, peanut butter or soft cheese.
Dates are also very sticky, which makes them useful as a binder in bakery products such as cookies and candy bars. You can also combine dates with nuts and seeds to make healthy snacks.
Moreover, you can use dates to sweeten sauces such as salad dressings and marinades, or mix them with smoothies and oatmeal.
It is important to note that dates are very high in calories due to their sweet taste – they are easy to eat more than you need. For this reason, dried dates are best consumed in a few pieces and not every day, in moderation.
There are many different ways to eat dates. They are usually eaten as a healthy and sweet snack, or as a bite with tea. But also from dates you can cook many other interesting and healthy dishes.
Dates: contraindications and side effects
To date, not a single case of the appearance of side effects from the use of dates in moderation has been recorded.
An exception to the use of dates can, as always, be individual intolerance and an allergic reaction (rash, redness, sneezing).
In general, dates are considered a safe product, even for consumption by children (starting from 2 years of age). But remember that it is not recommended to exceed the daily dose of dates – 5-7 fruits.
- Dates are a very healthy fruit that you can include in your diet.
- They contain several important nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, all of which can provide health benefits from improved digestion to a reduced risk of developing diseases.
- There are several ways to add dates to your diet. One of the most popular ways to use them is to use a natural sweetener in various dishes. They are also great as a small snack.
- Dried dates are definitely worth adding to your proper nutrition, as they are nutritious and delicious.