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Dates are a tropical fruit that grows on the date palm tree in the dry, hot climes of places such as Pakistan, Mexico, California, and the Middle East. The large majority of dates sold in the U.S. are sold dried and have a long shelf life. Dates are a small, bite-sized fruit ranging in color from yellow to red. The more readily available dry varieties of dates are sweet and chewy and lend themselves to eating atop salads as well as alongside or incorporated into other savory dishes. Best of all, dates are a highly nutritious fruit that presents a handful of notable health benefits. Take a look.
Important Note: The assertions contained herein are supported by the most current scientific research at the time of this publication.
One of the greatest benefits of eating dates is that they’re highly nutritious. For starters, because dates are most typically consumed dry, they have a lower calorie count than their fresh counterpart. Although there are about 225 calories in a 3.5-ounce serving, much of those calories come from carbohydrates and protein, not fat. Some of the notable nutrients in dates include 20% of the daily recommended intake of potassium, 14% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium, and 18% of the daily recommended intake of copper; each of these minerals plays a significant role in your overall health. Furthermore, dates contain 15%, 5%, and 12% of the daily recommended intake of manganese, iron, and vitamin B6 respectively. Rife with several powerful vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants, incorporating dates into your diet is a wise choice.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Clearly, dates are a wonderful source of many necessary nutrients.
Loaded With Fiber
One of the best reasons to incorporate dates into your diet is that they’re loaded with fiber essential to digestive health. With a whopping 7 grams of fiber contained in a single serving of dates, these tasty fruits are a great way to boost your fiber intake. A healthy fiber intake improves digestion by encouraging and making healthy bowel movements. One study showed that subjects who consumed 7 dates per day regularly experienced improved stool frequency when compared to bowel movements before the incorporation of dates in their diet. A subsequent benefit to boosting your fiber intake is better control of blood sugars. Studies suggest that the slower rate of digestion caused by fiber may inhibit a spike in blood sugars. Lastly, dates have a low glycemic index because of their fiber content; this is another reason the fiber content of dates may contribute to lower blood sugars.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. There’s no disputing the high fiber content of dates; fiber is a great contributor to both digestive and diabetic health.
Packed With Antioxidants
Another noteworthy benefit of eating dates is that they’re packed full of powerful antioxidants. Specifically, dates contain plant compounds that fend off harmful free radicals and oxidative stress that can eventually lead to chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, and diabetes. Most notably, dates contain the following three impressive antioxidants: flavonoids, carotenoids, and phenolic acid. Flavonoids not only reduce inflammation but are linked to reduced instances of diabetes, some cancers, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Carotenoids enhance heart and eye health while phenolic acid is anti-inflammatory and also reduces instances of heart disease and some cancer types. With several important antioxidant types noted in the makeup of dates, these sweet fruits can help fend off many chronic illnesses.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. With a hefty antioxidant profile, eating dates can help reduce your risk of receiving a diagnosis for a handful of scary chronic illnesses.
Enhances Brain Health
Some studies suggest that regularly eating dates may enhance your brain health and functionality. Studies have indicated that the antioxidative powers of dates reduce inflammation in markers specific to brain health. One such marker, interleukin 6, is associated with degeneration of the brain; the antioxidants in dates have been specifically connected to reduced inflammation in this marker. Additionally, some animal studies have shown that dates reduce the activity of proteins that lead to plaque build-up in the brain; plaque on the brain is particularly damaging as it leads to the death of brain cells and Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, another animal study showed that mice that were fed dates in their diet experienced improved memory, reduced anxiety, and improved learning ability.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. Dates are associated with improving many brain functions as well as the reduction of some brain maladies; however, most of the studies surrounding dates and brain health use animal subjects. Human research is indicated.
Dates are fraught with many minerals that are scientifically associated with bone health. Some such minerals include phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Each of these have been individually studied and linked to strengthening bones and improving overall bone health. Moreover, each of these minerals is also associated with a reduced likelihood of osteoporosis. Finally, dates are also a good source of vitamin K which is necessary to bone health.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Undoubtedly, dates contain many of the nutrients necessary to maintaining optimal bone health.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
Promotes Natural Labor
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. Some studies show that eating dates during pregnancy may lead to cervical dilation and labor induction; studies are limited, though, and more research is needed.