Dates, also popularly known as date palm (Khajoor/Khajur) in Hindi, ‘Tawarikh’ in Arabic and ‘Palmier’ in French.. It is a flowering plant species from the palm family. It is usually cultivated for its sweet fruit.
They are a very rich source of vitamins and minerals and are very beneficial for the body,dates are also extremely rich in antioxidants, tannins being the most important of them. These tannins prevent cell damage and protect against inflammation. In fact, eating dates on an empty stomach is known to kill intestinal worms.
Coming to the calorie count, one date contains about 20 calories. It contains 2.8 mg of calcium and 5 g of total carbohydrates. And by the way, not just for us adults, dates work great for babies as well. The fruit promotes stronger bones and teeth, boosts the immune system, improves weight, offers added nourishment during fever, and cures dysentery.
The many health benefits of eating dates include constipation relief, regulating cholesterol levels ,intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia and sexual dysfunctions.
1. Dates For Constipation
As per a study, the date pulp extract stimulates the gastrointestinal transit activity and can aid in treating constipation. The pulp of the fruit achieves this by correcting the mineral content deregulation that occurs during constipation. The fibers in dates were also found to prevent cancers of the digestive system.
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, inadequate intake of fiber could cause constipation. Dates, being good sources of fiber, can solve this problem. Eating a minimum of 20 to 35 grams of fiber every day makes your stools soft and prevents the condition. And more importantly, limit your consumption of foods that contain no fiber at all.
2. Improve Heart Health
Just a handful of dates a day was found to improve heart health. The antioxidants in dates prevent atherosclerosis, which is basically the arteries getting hard and clogged with plaque. These antioxidants stimulate cholesterol removal from the artery cells.
Dates also contain isoflavones (the second highest of any fruit) that are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
We already saw dates contain fiber. As per one UK study, regular intake of dates has been linked to a lower risk of coronary heart disease. Fiber also helps in weight management, which can also lead to heart disease.
3. Help Regulate Cholesterol
One of the effective dates benefits. According to one Israeli study, intake of dates, even by healthy individuals, can have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and oxidative stress.
Dates contain no cholesterol. They are also rich in iron and have more fiber than bananas.
4. Improve Bone Health
Dates are rich sources of copper, magnesium, selenium, and manganese – all of which are important to keep your bones healthy and prevent bone-related conditions like osteoporosis.
Dates are also rich in vitamin K, which is a blood coagulant and helps metabolize your bones.
As per a report by the North Dakota State University, dates also contain boron that is healthy for the bones.
5. Regulates Blood Pressure
Dates are rich in potassium, and the mineral helps lower blood pressure levels. One medjool date contains about 167 mg of potassium, which is relatively high compared to other fruits. Not taking adequate potassium can also lead to kidney stones.
One report by the Harvard Medical School discourages the use of drugs for blood pressure. Though certain drugs work well, they might not solve the exact problem. And they also have side effects.
Fiber also stabilizes blood sugar levels. It also counterbalances the effects of sodium in your diet – and this lowers blood pressure. The magnesium in the fruit relaxes the muscles in your heart and blood vessels, consequently reducing blood pressure.
6. Enhances Sexual Health
As per an Indian study, the date palm pollen is used in traditional medicine for enhancing male fertility.
7. Treat Diarrhea
According to a report by the Columbia University Medical Center, diarrhea can get better or aggravated by the choice of foods you consume. Which is why choosing the right food is important. Dates, being high in potassium, can help improve the condition.
8. Promote Brain Health
Dates have been found to offer protection against oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Regular consumption of dates and similar fruits has been linked to a lowered risk of neurodegenerative diseases and better cognitive performances in older individuals.
Another study has concluded that supplementation of date fruits has the potential to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Another Oman study says that dates can help prevent inflammation in the brain.
9. Prevent Colon Cancer
Intake of dates can reduce the development of colorectal cancer.
Consumption of dates also increases the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, and this promotes colon health.
10. Boost Energy
The date fruit contains many nutrients that help boost your energy levels. It also contains natural sugars like sucrose, fructose, and glucose – all of which offer an energy boost.
11. Promote Weight Gain
Sounds like an absurd benefit? Of course, who would want to gain weight? But yes, if you are too skinny and are looking to put on some pounds, dates could be one of the additions to your diet.
According to a study conducted on lambs, weight gain was observed (by as much as 30%) following the consumption of ground date seeds. This could also be observed in humans, although more research is required.
12. Help Prevent Night Blindness
The primary cause of night blindness is a deficiency in vitamin A. Dates are rich in this vitamin as well and help combat this condition. In fact, regions with more date consumption have rare incidences of night blindness.
Dates, the oldest cultivated trees in recorded history, can cure night blindness.
13. Prevent Intoxication
Though there is no extensive research on this, we do have something interesting – in parts of northern Nigeria, dates (along with pepper) are added to native beer to make the drink less intoxicating.
14. Prevent Hemorrhoids
This holds true, especially in the case of pregnancy. Hemorrhoids are a common complication during pregnancy. And this could be caused by an inadequate fiber intake. Dates, as we saw, are excellent sources of fiber. They can help prevent hemorrhoids during pregnancy.
15. Dates Benefits For Skin
Dates contain vitamins C and D that work on the skin elasticity. The fruits can also help combat skin issues – you can incorporate dates into your diet and see the results in the long run.
Dates also come with anti-aging benefits; they prevent the accumulation of melanin in your body, which otherwise has undesirable effects.
We know that hormones play a major role in skin aging and appearance. Date palm kernel extract is known to have phytohormones that exhibit significant anti-aging effects. The extract can combat wrinkles too.
16. Prevent Hair Loss
Coming to the dates benefits for hair, it is equally effective. Being rich in iron, dates promote blood circulation to the scalp and promote hair growth. This happens as oxygen is properly dispersed to your entire body, your scalp included. This ultimately prevents hair loss and stimulates new hair growth.
17. Prevent Inflammation
As per a report by a popular online library, date palms contain components that fight inflammation.
Dates also contain good amounts of magnesium – a mineral that is important for immune functioning. If your diet is low in magnesium (which is the case with most regular diets), your immune system cannot be strong enough to fight inflammation.
18. Support Healthy Pregnancy
Heard of benefits of dates during pregnancy? One way dates help pregnant women is through their calories. Pregnant women need about 300 calories more than their non-pregnant peers. But most pregnant women tend to choose high-calorie foods that are low in nutrients, which is a mistake.
This is where dates can help. Though a little high in calories, they are immensely nutrient-dense. And we have already seen how the fiber in dates prevents pregnancy hemorrhoids.
According to a Jordan study, consuming dates in the last four weeks before labor can produce more favorable outcomes.
Dates are also known to strengthen the muscles of the uterus in the last months of pregnancy.
Best ways to Eat Dates
-You can take them as a stuffed snack. Remove the pits and include dates with walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans for a delightful snack.
-You can also mix diced dates with your breakfast cereal.
-Wrap dates with tuna or chicken salad and other vegetables.
-You can dice dates and serve them along with frozen vanilla yogurt.
-The simplest – enjoy dates as they are.