Just because dates are small does not mean they don’t contain essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. These little fruits are packed full of vital nutrients and offer many different health benefits, making them a fruit you definitely want to incorporate more of into your diet. There are multiple different varieties of dates, and even though they may differ slightly in their nutritional profile, they all offer very similar benefits.
First of all, dates are loaded with important minerals such as magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, and iron, among many others. Magnesium is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the risk of serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, strokes, and even Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, magnesium works alongside copper, selenium, and manganese to help keep bones strong and reduce the risk for bone fractures or conditions like osteoporosis. Potassium is another mineral found in dates, and potassium has a very important role in regulating blood pressure levels and keeping the heart beating properly. In fact, just one date contains around 167 mg of potassium1, which is very high when compared to other fruits. Iron also plays a part in keeping a healthy heart, as it is a very important of hemoglobin, which delivers oxygen to all of our organs, including the heart. Luckily, dates are high in all of these minerals, making them a great food choice to keep your body happy and healthy.
Not only are dates high in minerals, but they are also packed full of several vitamins, especially vitamins A, C, D, and the B vitamins. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes and better vision, vitamin C helps promote better skin elasticity (leading to smoother skin and less wrinkles), and vitamin D keeps your bones strong and also protects your immune system and muscles. Dates are also chock-full of vitamins from the B complex, especially vitamin B6, which keeps your nervous system, liver, and metabolism functioning properly, in addition to providing you with a burst of energy.
Aside from all of the vitamins and minerals they contain, dates also have several other benefits. For example, they are very rich in soluble fiber, which helps keep things moving through the digestive tract and relieves symptoms of constipation. In addition, the type of fiber that dates contain (beta-glucans) can bind to your LDL cholesterol (known as the “bad” cholesterol), making it easier to get rid of and lower your cholesterol numbers. Not only that, but dates contain phenolic compounds, which act as important antioxidants in the body that play a role in eliminating damage caused by free-radicals and reducing the risk for serious diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, or high blood pressure (hypertension).2
Since they contain many so healthy different health benefits, dates are a great choice to reach for when you want a snack. They are an especially great option when you want something sweet or need a quick boost of energy, since just three Medjool dates contain around 50 g of sugar1. However, it’s important to note that the sugar content from dates comes from natural sources of sugar (such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose). This means that in addition to all of the sugar, the dates also contain all of the important vitamins and minerals that were listed above. In contrast, many baked goods or other sweetened snacks contain refined sugar, which is when sugar has been stripped from its source (usually cane sugar or sugar beets). When this happens, most of the valuable vitamins and minerals are left behind, and you are left with only the sugar, which provides extra calories with little to no nutritional benefits. Next time you’re searching for something sweet, grab some dates as opposed to a snack full of refined sugars!
When dates are blended up to form a paste, this date paste (or date syrup) can be used as a sweetener, similar to white sugar, honey, or maple syrup. However, unlike these other sweeteners, date syrup provides many benefits. When sweeteners such as honey, sugar, or maple syrup are consumed, blood sugars often spike very rapidly and fall just as quickly, leaving you feeling hungry and tired shortly after. On the other hand, when date syrup is consumed, it will still raise your blood sugar. However, thanks to the fiber, the blood sugar will not rise or fall as quickly, which will keep you feeling satisfied and energized for several hours. In addition, since date syrup is made from whole dates, this syrup provides several important vitamins, minerals, and phenolic compounds, unlike in regular sugar where all of this has been stripped away. Therefore, date syrup is a much healthier alternative to regular sweeteners, yet still tastes just as great. Try Soom’s.