7 Sensational Health Benefits of Dates

These Middle Eastern fruits are available all year long.

Oct 7, 2020

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You can do almost anything with dates. You can bake with them, use them in your favorite recipe, drizzle date honey on yogurt or ice cream, or just snack on them. Available year-round, fresh or dry, this fruit of the date palm is so very good for you.

Dates are a popular fruit and there are many varieties of them. The most well-known one is the medjool date that is sweeter than others. People have been eating dates since the dawn of human-kind.

Believed to have originated in Iraq, dates have been a staple in Middle Eastern cooking for thousands of years. Although known to have a high sugar content – dried have a higher calorie content than fresh – these little brown fruits have a host of health benefits.

Dates are chock full of nutrition

According to Med Life, the nutritional data of dates is “off the charts.” The fruits are full of essential vitamins and minerals that make them very helpful for your overall health and wellbeing. Dates contain around 277 calories a serving (around four dates), 7 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate, and a host of minerals including potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese, and iron. All of this makes it one of the world’s healthiest fruits.

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Contain antioxidants that helps to prevent diseases

Dates contain three very valuable antioxidants (carotenoids, flavonoids, and phenolic acid) that inhibit the process of oxidation and remove the free radicals that can damage your cells according to MedLife. Carotenoids are very good for your eyes and are known to reduce the chances of macular degeneration, as well as for improving cardiac health.

Flavonoids are known for anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the effects of chronic diseases like diabetes and arthritis, can help reduce the risk of some cancers, and have been shown to be beneficial to your brain. A 2009 study showed that flavonoids can suppress neuroinflammation and have the potential to promote memory, learning and cognitive function. The third, phenolic acid is known to reduce the risk of cardiac issues and some types of cancer. Who knew dates were so beneficial?

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Helps Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is how the body reacts to fight against disease, trauma, and infections according to Med Life. That’s why when you have a sports injury, the area swells. But too much or chronic inflammation is bad for your health. A 2014 study showed that natural products like dates are beneficial in the prevention and treatment of diseases due to the potent antioxidants they contain. Eating a healthy diet and less processed food is one of the key ways to reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic pain and diseases. Make dates a part of your diet.

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A great source of fiber

Getting enough fiber is important for your overall health according to HealthLine and with almost 7 grams of fiber eating dates is an easy and tasty way to get it. Fiber can help you with gut health by preventing constipation. In a study, about the benefits of fiber from dates on intestinal microbiota, the participants showed improvements in stool formation and frequency.

But fiber does much more. Fiber slows digestion and could help prevent blood spikes after eating so even though dates contain a large amount of sugar, they can still be beneficial for diabetics. Snacking on dates is much healthier than cookies or chips.

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Dates are good for your brain

Eating dates may help brain function according to Healthline. In fact, a 2016 study about the effects of palm fruit on neurodegenerative diseases show that phenolic compounds (antioxidants) found in dates play a preventive role against free radicals and could have beneficial effects against neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s (the leading form of dementia), Parkinson’s,  Huntington’s Disease, and ALS. This animal study found that dates were beneficial in reducing the activity of amyloid beta proteins that form plaque in the brain which leads to the death of brain cells and Alzheimer’s. It sounds like an ounce of prevention really pays off here as there are no cures for these serious diseases, yet.

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Helps to prevent microbial infections

Bacterial infections can be very serious and expensive to treat with antibiotics. According to Med Life, substituting antibiotics with natural products like date syrup help relieve microbial infections. A study published in Science Daily showed antibacterial activity against staph infections and E-coli. Date syrup could also be used for wound care because it has healing properties similar to honey

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Dates are good for pregnant women

Compounds in dates can actually facilitate natural labor according to Healthline. But you should eat them during your entire pregnancy. Dates are a healthy energy source, they contain folic acid that can help prevent birth defects, provide iron and vitamin K that will help your baby develop strong bones, and are rich in potassium that can help lower blood pressure.

There is also an old wives’ tale that eating dates can facilitate labor and there is truth to that. A 2011 study showed that women who ate dates six dates a day for 4 weeks prior to their due dates experienced shorter labor and 96 percent of the test subjects had spontaneous labor as opposed to the women who didn’t. it appears that dates can be a natural induction and make labor shorter. So, go ahead and indulge.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.