Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree, which is grown in many tropical regions of the world. Dates have become quite popular in recent years.
Almost all dates sold in Western countries are dried.
You can tell whether or not dates are dried based on their appearance. A wrinkled skin indicates they are dried, whereas a smooth skin indicates freshness.
Depending on the variety, fresh dates are fairly small in size and range in color from bright red to bright yellow. Medjool and Deglet Noor dates are the most commonly consumed varieties.
Dates are chewy with a sweet flavor. They are also high in some important nutrients and have a variety of advantages and uses.
This article will discuss 8 health benefits of eating dates and how to incorporate them into your diet.
1. Very Nutritious
Since they’re dried, their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit. The calorie content of dates is similar to that of other dried fruits, such as raisins.
Most of the calories in dates come from carbs. The rest are from a very small amount of protein. Despite their calories, dates contain some important vitamins and minerals in addition to a significant amount of fiber.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides the following nutrients (1):
Carbs: 75 grams
Fiber: 7 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Potassium: 20% of the RDI
Magnesium: 14% of the RDI
Copper: 18% of the RDI
Manganese: 15% of the RDI
Iron: 5% of the RDI
Vitamin B6: 12% of the RDI
Dates are also high in antioxidants, which may contribute to many of their health benefits.
Dates contain several vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber and antioxidants. However, they are high in calories since they are a dried fruit.
2.High in Fiber
Getting enough fiber is important for your overall health.
With almost 7 grams of fiber in a 3.5-ounce serving, including dates in your diet is a great way to increase your fiber intake (1).
Fiber can benefit your digestive health by preventing constipation. It promotes regular bowel movements by contributing to the formation of stool.
In one study, 21 people who consumed 7 dates per day for 21 days experienced improvements in stool frequency and had a significant increase in bowel movements compared to when they did not eat dates.
Furthermore, the fiber in dates may be beneficial for blood sugar control. Fiber slows digestion and may help prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high after eating.
For this reason, dates have a low glycemic index (GI), which measures how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a certain food.
Dates are high in fiber, which may be beneficial for preventing constipation and controlling blood sugar control.
3. High in Disease-Fighting Antioxidants
Dates provide various antioxidants that have a number of health benefits to offer, including a reduced risk of several diseases.
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that may cause harmful reactions in your body and lead to disease.
Compared to similar types of fruit, such as figs and dried plums, dates appear to have the highest antioxidant content.
Here’s an overview of the three most potent antioxidants in dates:
Flavonoids: Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and have been studied for their potential to reduce the risk of diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and certain types of cancer.
Carotenoids: Carotenoids are proven to promote heart health and may also reduce the risk of eye-related disorders, such as macular degeneration
Phenolic acid: Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, phenolic acid may help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease
Dates contain several types of antioxidants that may help prevent the development of certain chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
4.May Promote Brain Health
Eating dates may help improve brain function.
Laboratory studies have found dates to be helpful for lowering inflammatory markers, such as interleukin 6 (IL-6), in the brain. High levels of IL-6 are associated with a higher risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Additionally, animal studies have shown dates to be helpful for reducing the activity of amyloid beta proteins, which can form plaques in the brain.
When plaques accumulate in the brain, they may disturb communication between brain cells, which can ultimately lead to brain cell death and Alzheimer’s disease.
One animal study found that mice fed food mixed with dates had significantly better memory and learning ability, as well as less anxiety-related behaviors, compared to those that did not eat them.
The potential brain-boosting properties of dates have been attributed to their content of antioxidants known to reduce inflammation, including flavonoids.
However, human studies are needed to confirm the role of dates in brain health.
Dates are a very healthy fruit to include in your diet.
They are high in several nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, all of which may provide health benefits ranging from improved digestion to a reduced risk of disease.
There are several ways to add dates to your diet. One popular way to eat them is as a natural sweetener in various dishes. They also make a great snack.
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