What are the health benefits of dates

Dates are the fruits of the date palm tree which are primarily grown and cultivated in dry places such as the Middle Eastern countries. They are oval to cylindrical in shape with the outer fleshy part surrounding a shell of endocarp containing a seed inside. Fresh unripe dates are yellow in color and they turn brown upon ripening. They are sweet with a rich deep flavor and slightly chewy texture. During the Ramadan month, Muslims break their fast with dates.

In the Middle East, dates are often used or added as ingredients in several pastry products and chocolates. They can be pitted and candied but they can also be eaten fresh. Whether fresh or dry, dates offer several health benefits. They are rich in nutritional content and are beneficial to your health in so many ways.What are the health benefits of dates

The health benefits of dates

1. Treats Anemia

Anemia is characterized by a low quantity of red blood cells (RBCs) in the human body caused by certain factors such as bleeding, pregnancy, menstruation or iron deficiency. Anemia caused by iron deficiency can be avoided or treated by consuming iron-rich foods such as dates.

While iron is necessary for the formation of hemoglobin in RBCs, hemoglobin is what binds with oxygen and nutrients to be distributed to the different organs of the body. Dates contain a significant level of iron making them the perfect home remedy treatment for anemia.

2. Treats and relieves constipation

Dried or fresh dates are high in dietary fiber which is essential for promoting healthy bowel movements. Many people do not get the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber in their diet but a small pack of dates for snacks can fill in where the diet is lacking.

However, in order to take advantage of the digestive benefits of dates and maximize its benefits to relieve constipation, it must be soaked in hot water overnight. Eat these soaked dates in the morning and drink the liquid they have been prepared in.

3. Dates are high in antioxidants

In a study published in the “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry” in 2005 where the antioxidant compounds in three varieties of both the fresh and dried dates were examined, it was determined by the researchers that all three types of fresh dates contained high concentrations of two potent antioxidants, carotenoids and anthocyanins. Dried dates on the other hand contained a significant amount of polyphenol compounds. It was concluded that any variety or form of dates could add beneficial amount of antioxidants to your diet, which in turn are beneficial in preventing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neurological problems like Alzheimer’s disease.

4. Promotes healthy bones

Dates are packed with significant amount of materials such as selenium, manganese, magnesium and copper which are required in keeping our bones healthy and curing painful diseases like osteoporosis. These minerals found in dates greatly contribute to healthy bone development and are useful in strengthening bones particularly with the progression of age when bones gradually weaken.

5. Assists in weight gain

If you are underweight or thin and slim, dates are the perfect thing for you, as they are a great source of proteins, sugar and many essential vitamins. It is also said that consuming dates with cucumber helps to keep your weight at normal levels. Consuming dates also helps build muscles.

6. Lowers cholesterol, controls high blood pressure and improves the function of the heart

Dates are loaded with potassium which reduces the risk of stroke and other heart-related diseases. Furthermore, the consumption of dates was suggested as a healthy and delicious way to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol or LDL in the body, which is major contributing factor for heart disease and stroke.

Aside from potassium, dates contain several vitamins including vitamins A, C and several B vitamins such as Folic acid which helps manage homocysteine (high levels of which are linked to heart disease) and Niacin which helps raise good cholesterol or HDL.

7. Maintains healthy skin and prevents advance aging

Regular consumption of dates provides the body with ample amount of vitamin C which has been proven highly effective in maintaining the beauty of skin. Dates also contain vitamin B5 which helps to prevent skin problems like stretch marks.

As mentioned earlier, dates are high in antioxidants which can effectively counter the harmful free radicals in the body, thus preventing the skin from aging prematurely. Vitamin C in dates helps to decrease the occurrence of wrinkles by preventing the accumulation of melanin inside the body

Daily consumption of dates is highly advisable. You can soak 6-7 dates overnight and then have them with milk in the morning. This will not only make your skin radiant but it will also provide you with enough energy to last the whole morning.

 

*** Do you have sweet tooth but want to stay healthy? Adding 3 dates to your daily diet is a smart way to do this. You can satisfy your cravings for sweets without having to worry about breaking your healthy eating habits. Dates are good for overall health despite their fructose concentration.

 

12 thoughts on “What are the Health Benefits of Dates?”

  1. This is so fascinating! I always thought dates and raisins were kind of the same thing and didn’t give them a second thought. I realize that raisins are dried grapes but are there any benefits to the raisins? Thanks for this useful information perhaps I will add them to my oatmeal!

    1. Oh no, dates and raisins are completely different. Yes, raisins are dried grapes but dates are a different group, which like grapes can be eaten fresh or dried. I often add raisins to my oatmeal but not dates. Dates are much bigger and they are usually eaten alongside Arabic coffee/tea or can be eaten for snack.

      If I were to choose between raisins and dates, I’ll definitely go for the latter as they have more health benefits. I specifically take dates,fresh or dried, in order to maintain a normal hemoglobin. I hope you will give dates a try, I know you will like them. If you have sweet tooth, you will really like chocolate-coated dates.

    1. That’s true, dates are not really recognized as super food because they’re sweet and are often thought of as unhealthy. But I believe it’s all about having a healthy, balanced meal, that way, we can always add about 2-3 pieces of dates to our daily diet.

      My hemoglobin is always low and that’s why I always try to include dates in my daily food consumption.

  2. Wow, I love dates, I didn’t know they are that healthy. I love the ones from Morocco, they are really sweet and super ripe when they sell them on the fresh markets. They also produce some kind of dry date paste, it is the chocolate of the Moroccans, sweet, healthy and very nutritious.

    1. Hello Stefan,

      I’m glad you love dates just like I do. I have never tried those from Morocco but I hope to try them someday. Well, I’m sure they taste as good as the ones we have here in the Middle East.

      I’m not sure I’ve tried date paste but my all-time favorite so far are coconut chocolate covered dates with almond, which I always bring with me whenever I go back to my homeland on vacation as gifts for my family and friends.

      I love dates not only because they’re sweet but more so because of the health benefits they provide.

  3. Lots of information on the health benefits of dates and all I can do is read!! I am not a big fan of dates, or figs for that matter, and I now I feel bad due to all the health benefits.
    Do you know if they make date as a supplement or additive where I would not to taste the date flavor? I might be persuaded that way.

    1. Hello Brad,
      I’m not sure if dates come in the form of supplements or additives. But you may want to try chocolate-coated dates. You might still be able to taste the date flavor but not as much as when it’s plain because you will be tasting the chocolate flavor more.

      I didn’t really like dates too when I first tasted it but after having it several times, I came to like it especially when I found out about its high iron content. My hemoglobin is low that’s why dates became attractive to me.

    1. Hi Melani,

      My hemoglobin is low too that’s why I love eating dates. I just have to control myself at times because over-eating can also raise blood sugar. As they say, anything in excess is bad.

      By the way, do you know that there’s another kind of dates? Chinese dried dates which also come in two kinds, small red ones and the big ones that they add for long soup. Anyhow, Arab or Chinese dates, they give the same health benefits.

  4. Hello Alice,

    Thanks for all the great info about dates, we in the Middle East use dates to make our desserts in special occasion such as Eid El Fitr, and we eat lots of dates in most of our occasions, and next time I eat dates I’ll remember all these lovely benefits dates have.
    I enjoyed reading your post.
    Best of Luck!
    Rawan

    1. Hi Rawan,

      I only got to eat dates since coming to the Middle East. In fact I didn’t know about them. My colleagues (locals) always eat it with “gah-wa” (Arabic tea/coffee) because they are so sweet. I really love dates but I like them better when fresh. There’s a garden nearby the hospital where I work and some male colleagues often gather fresh dates during their season.

      Because of its health benefits, particularly in weight gain and its high iron content, now I came to love eating dates all the more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *