Dates, a fruit of the date palm tree, grow in the tropical regions of the world. It is its innate composition of macronutrients that make them extremely healthy. There are some amazing health benefits of dates that make this sweet dry fruit worthwhile.
Dates are believed to have originated in the Middle East around 5320 BC. Fruit of the tropical region dates grow on the date palm tree, scientifically known as the Phoenix Dactylifera tree. While dates are categorised as dry fruit, they are available and consumed in both forms; fresh and dried. The date fruit is fairly small in size, with colours ranging from bright red to dark brown, depending upon fresh or dried.
While dried dates have a wrinkled appearance, fresh ones are smooth and shiny. In either case, they have a chewy texture, a sweet flavour, and are a nutritional marvel.
Nutritional Composition of Dates
Dates, especially dry dates, are full of nutrition. Dry dates are caloric-rich and contain high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and Potassium. Dates have high fibre content. Although rich in sugars (fructose and glucose), dates have a low glycemic index. Furthermore, every 100 gm serving of dates confers 80400 micromoles of antioxidants. The unique composition of dates nutrition value makes it an ideal health-promoting food.
Health Benefits of Dates
Eating dates can provide a nutrition boost that paves the way for good health. Listed below are the innumerable benefits of eating dates:
1. Complete Nutrition Source
Dates benefits can be ascertained from its unique nutritional composition. Dates are considered one of the healthiest fruits in the world. Every 100 gm serving of dates confers:
- Calories – 277
- Fats – 0.4 gm
- Carbohydrates – 75 gm
- Fibre – 8 gm
- Sugar – 63 gm
- Protein – 2.5 gm
- Sodium – 2 gm
- Vitamin B6 – 12% of the RDI
- 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
- Antioxidants – 80400 micromol
2. Promote Healthy Bowel Movements
Dates are extremely fibrous. They are rich in natural fibre that helps regularise bowel movements and improve overall digestive health. Furthermore, healthy bowel movements provide important insights into the proper functioning of the body. It is a cause and effect of proper nutrient absorption and liver and kidney functioning. Thus, proper bowel movements ensure overall improvement in health.
3. Provide a High Antioxidant Mix
Antioxidants are important for the body as they inhibit the process of cell oxidation, thereby neutralising free radicals. This safeguards the structural and genetic integrity of the body cells. Eating dates provides a rich dose of Carotenoids, Flavonoids, and Phenolic Acid. These antioxidants prevent macular degeneration, organ and tissue inflammation, and destructive breakdown of cells, thus protecting the body from several diseases and ailments.
4. Promote Brain Health
Dates benefits also include improving brain health as they contain high amounts of choline and vitamin B. These nutrients are typically essential for improving learning and memory. Eating dates is also linked to reduced inflammation and plaque formation in the brain. This helps lower the risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and improves cognitive functioning in older individuals.
5. Improve Bone Health
Dates are exceptionally high in copper, magnesium, and selenium. These micronutrients are crucial for promoting bone health and preventing bone-related disorders. Furthermore, the presence of Vitamin K in dates helps regulate blood coagulation, which helps metabolise bones. Eating dates also helps prevent and correct bone conditions like osteoporosis – common in post-menopausal women.
6. Promote Male Fertility
Research suggests that vitamins and minerals present in dates help improve male sperm motility and count, thereby promoting male fertility. The fruit is also known to increase sexual libido. Microelements like estrone and sterols and the presence of flavonoids and amino acids in dates further provide an energy boost for a long and satisfying sexual encounter.
7. Facilitate Natural Labour
High amounts of tannins, a compound present in dates, help maintain healthy contractions during labour. Studies show that pregnant women who were eating dates in the later stage of their pregnancy were more likely to deliver through natural labour. The smooth and fibrous texture of dates helped make the delivery process smoother and easier for women and reduce the risks and complications associated with C-Section delivery.
8. Alleviate Iron Deficiency
Anaemia or iron deficiency is marked by low haemoglobin in the body. Dates are naturally rich in iron and help make up for iron deficiency. Blood loss due to menstruation and piles during pregnancy can also be sorted by eating dates regularly.
9. Aid Weight Loss
Dates are incredibly fibrous and confer a feeling of fullness. This reduces dietary intake. Furthermore, eating dates on an empty stomach in the morning provides an energy boost that sustains throughout the day. Dates also stimulate metabolism, thereby helping you lose weight more quickly and effectively.
10. Improve the Health of Skin & Hair
Dates are rich in nutrients that promote skin elasticity. The antioxidants present in dates possess anti-ageing properties. Eating dates also prevents the accumulation of melanin which is responsible for dark spots and hyperpigmentation. The benefits of eating dates also extend to hair health. Dates are believed to combat hair fall. They are rich in iron, which increases blood circulation in the body. Proper blood circulation to the hair roots and scalp facilitates hair growth.
11. Help Detoxify Body
Eating dates is extremely crucial for good liver health. Dates nutrition composition and texture promote the task of eliminating harmful waste from the body. As the liver detoxifies the body, dates help prevent liver fibrosis, thus working as a natural way to detoxify the body. A healthy liver faces a lower risk of developing liver cirrhosis, a fatal liver ailment.
12. May Help Prevent Cancers
Beta D-glucan, an antioxidant compound known for its anti-tumour activity, is widely present in dates. A high concentration of Beta D-glucan in dates helps reduce the free radicals. This reduces the chances of wanted cell division that leads to cancer.
13. May Help Fight Diabetes
Diabetes is widely prevalent. It is typically treated through insulin supplementation. Dates help increase the production of insulin in the body. Eating dates also reduces the rate of absorption of glucose in the intestine. This helps combat diabetes.
14. Help Protect Kidneys
The health benefits of dates extend to kidneys too. Studies reveal that eating dates helped reduce the lesions caused by nephrological issues. Regular consumption of dates also helped reduce excess plasma and creatinine from the kidneys, promoting the overall health of the kidneys.
15. Act as a Natural Sweetener
Dates are naturally high in fructose. Substituting regular processed sugar with dates can prove to be a healthier way to sweeten up your meals. Excessive intake of regular, processed sugar is linked to a series of health complications like weight gain, diabetes, and heart ailments.
16. Help Promote Heart Health
Dates are rich in magnesium and potassium, which regulate blood pressure and promote heart health. The anti-inflammatory properties of magnesium are known to reduce the risk of heart strokes. Antioxidants, namely Tannins and Polyphenols in dates, are vital for fighting atherosclerosis and plaque build-up within the artery walls. Furthermore, the high fibre content promotes cardiovascular health.
17. Help Treat Insomnia
The high content of Tryptophan, an amino acid, is typically helpful in relieving symptoms of insomnia. The amino acid helps in the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for controlling the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
18. Reduce the Risk of Night Blindness
Night blindness is caused due to vitamin A deficiency. Dates are an excellent source of Vitamin A. Their inclusion in daily diet is commonly recommended to correct problems stemming from vitamin A deficiency.
Health Tips While Eating Dates
Dates are undoubtedly a superfood. Listed below are the tips to reap maximum benefits while eating dates.
- Eating dates on an empty stomach will give an instant energy boost.
- Do not eat dates after meals. Its high fibre content can spur digestive issues.
- Limit yourself to five-six dates per day as overeating can lead to adverse reactions.
- Do not eat dates that smell sour or are very hard. Eating contaminated dates can cause food poisoning.
- Consider eating dates as a mid-day or evening snack.
Eating dates can be an easy way to level up your daily nutrition. Dates nutrition composition includes a comprehensive mix of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Health benefits of dates include improved digestion and protection from cancer, cardiovascular ailments, bone disorders, and kidney as well as liver problems. The benefits of eating dates also extend to improved skin and hair health. But as the fruit is high in calories, it is important to eat it in moderation to avoid any kind of adverse reaction.