Health Benefits of dates – 11 healthy reasons to eat dates
What we think of dates, we are usually reminded of its wrinkly brown skin and its numerous sweet delight preparations. But who would ever think that this unassuming dried fruit is filled with an impressive list of nutritional benefits? It is bursting with essential vitamins and minerals that can help your body stay fit and healthy.
It is high in both iron and fluorine content, as well as a rich source of dietary fiber, protein and Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5 and C. Not only that, it is totally cholesterol-free and contains very little fat.
Dates are the fruits of the date palm tree or Phoenix dactylifera. They primarily grow in the arid regions of the Middle East and parts of California. However, they are naturalized and cultivated in Australia, Northern Africa, China, India, Mexico, Central America and even in tropical nation-islands of Fiji in the Pacific and the Cayman Islands in the West Indies.
That is why it is no shock to see dates in the grocery aisles wherever you may go. It has become a popular food ingredient in different types of desserts, savory dishes and as a component of fruit platter pairings with dessert wines. It is even used to make dates syrup and wine.
Other than its sweet taste and high sugar content – at an astounding 66.5 grams for every 100-gram serving, what else do dates have to offer? Here we list the health benefits of dates that go along with its sugary flavor.
The Irony in its Sweetness
Interestingly, despite its high sugar content, consuming dates will not raise your blood sugar levels. In its May 2011 issue, The Nutritional Journal showed a study that determined glycemic indices of five common varieties of dates in 13 healthy volunteers and 10 individuals with type 2 diabetes. It revealed that while dates have high levels of sugar, it is considered to be a low-glycemic index food and does not have a significant effect in raising blood sugar levels. In fact, it pointed out that it did not result to postprandial glucose excursions in the diabetic individuals. However, it was also emphasized that it should be eaten in moderation and used in a healthy balanced diet.
Maintains Healthy Blood Cells
Dates are a rich source of iron, which is a major component in hemoglobin and in maintaining the amount of blood cells. It contains about 11% of the recommended daily intake of iron. This also helps in regulating the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream. Also, the Vitamin K content in dates is an essential nutrient that is an important component in the coagulant factor of the blood. On top of that, it also is rich in copper, which is required in the production of red blood cells.
Strengthens the Bones
Dates hold a number of important vitamins and minerals that can help make your bones healthy and strong. For one, it has high amounts of calcium, a vital mineral that keeps the bones and teeth durable. It has few amounts of fluorine that helps to slow down the process of tooth decay. Dates also contain high amounts of magnesium, which are essential for bone growth and development. It also contains selenium, manganese and copper. All of which are important in promoting healthy bones.
Helps Maintain Healthy Weight and an Excellent Energy Booster
Dates can help in weight gain for individuals who have over slimming problems. It is packed with calories, which can help pump those muscles without the worry of putting on too much weight. And since it is high in sugar and loaded with essential nutrients, like protein, it provides you that much needed energy during your workouts the natural way.
Increases Sexual Stamina
One of the health benefits of dates that might interest men is that it has been known to be as a natural aphrodisiac. The flavonoid and estradiol levels of dates have shown an effect on sexual functioning, as well as in increasing sperm count and motility. A healthy natural tonic from a combination of dates soaked overnight in goat’s milk and added with honey and cardamom is very useful in sexual sterility problems.
Boosts Nervous System
The potassium in dates helps to promote healthy and responsive nervous system and helps to improve the alertness of brain activity. Also, sufficient levels of Vitamin B6, which can be found in dates, can help in optimum brain performance and functioning.
Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
Another great advantage of dates is that it can help lower the bad LDL cholesterol, thanks to its dietary fiber content. Also, magnesium and potassium have been shown to have an effect in lowering blood pressure, as well as in aiding the proper function of the heart. These help to reduce the risk of stroke and other heart-related diseases.
Promotes Healthy Digestive System
It contains heapful amounts of dietary fiber that helps to improve the digestive system and works at cleansing the colon as a bulk laxative. It helps to relieve constipation and is excellent in controlling diarrhea. It has even been linked to decrease the risk of abdominal cancer, as it helps to remove impurities from the body, is easily digested and gives a boost of energy. Also, it cannot be denied that dates are high in antioxidant properties, which help fight off harmful free radicals that cause certain cancers.
Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties
The magnesium in dates is known to be an essential mineral for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also contains tannins, a healthy flavonoid polyphenol antioxidant, that also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-infective properties.
It has a moderate amount of Vitamin A, beta carotene, lutein and xanthin, which are essential for healthy vision. It has also long been used in traditional medicine to help reduce the frequency of night blindness. Also, the xanthin in dates has protective light-filtering functions that help against the occurrence of macular degeneration.
Gives Youthful Glowing Skin
The same Vitamin A in dates that gives you healthy vision is also responsible for keeping your skin healthy. Its anti-oxidant properties help the skin get rid of free radicals and fight against untimely aging. And because it is rich in essential skin vitamins, like Vitamin C, it helps to keep the skin firm, toned and improve its texture. Also, it is a natural source of Vitamin B5, which is essential skin damage repair caused by harmful free radicals.
There is no denying that the benefits that you can get from dates are plenty. So the next time you munch on a bag dates, do not just look at it as a sweet treat. Rather, enjoy it more because of the healthy benefits it can give your body.