The 7 Incredible Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Dates
Dates, the sweet little gems that grow on date palms in many desert and tropical regions, are packed with important nutrients and are a great natural sweetener in recipes.
Dates have long been used in traditional and alternative medicine, as well as in religious traditions, and have special significance for Muslims. Date palms are mentioned more than any other fruit plant in the Quran, and eating dates in the morning is believed to provide protection against poison and magic, according to Mariam Metwally, Registered Dietitian Practitioner (APD).
Eating dates during Ramadan, the religious month (which began April 12 and ends May 12 in the United States this year) has become a worldwide tradition, especially when breaking the daily fast after sunset. , because dates are quick to lift the blood. sugar and restore energy levels. Dates are also a healthy source of nutrients, according to the latest research, which indicates that they provide healthy fiber and antioxidants and may even help protect against certain cancers.
7 surprising health benefits of dates
1. Rich in vitamins and minerals
The dates are rich in minerals such as magnesium (64.2 mg / 100 g), zinc (0.5 mg / 100 g), iron (0.3 to 6.03 mg / 100 g) which are responsible for a number of functions bodily effects such as immunity, digestion and metabolism. They’re also high in vitamins like B1 and B6, and when fresh, high in vitamin C. These are all essential nutrients your body needs on a daily basis. “This is especially useful for those who are fasting because fasting can limit the potential for intake of these vital micronutrients, in part due to the reduced meal times and also culturally, more indulgent meals enjoyed during this time,” explains Metwally.
2. Dates are rich in fiber
The dates have a little less than 7g of fiber per 100g, which makes them great for digestion and maintaining regular bowel movements, which prevents constipation. Metwally adds that “this is an added bonus for the month of Ramadan where constipation is a common concern.” Eating fiber also keeps blood sugar from skyrocketing by slowing digestion, making it a low glycemic index fruit. “It can be helpful for people with diabetes when they consume dates in moderation as part of a balanced diet.”
3. Dates are anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants
Dates are packed with antioxidants that protect cells, higher than other dried fruits. These antioxidants, such as carotenoids, selenium, and flavonoids, are useful in preventing a number of diseases, cancers, chronic illnesses, and may even improve fertility. For example, phenolic acid is known to be an anti-inflammatory compound. Phenolic acid is suggested to be helpful in the prevention of cancer and heart disease.
4. Dates can facilitate natural labor
Dates have been consumed to facilitate childbirth for centuries, as mentioned above. A 2017 study found that late pregnancy meal dates helped dilate the cervix by reducing the need for induced labor and decreasing the length of labor. They are also a convenient source of energy for women to consume during labor to replenish energy stores.
5. Dates help your brain to function
Eat dates regularly Was found to reduce inflammatory compounds like IL-6 (in rodent studies) which causes degenerative function in the brain. This means that eating dates has the potential to prevent things like Alzheimer’s disease, although more research is needed.
6. Dates with low risk of prostate cancer
Dates have long been considered useful in the treatment of cancer in traditional Egyptian medicine. While research is still developing, a Study 2019 using Ajwa dates, performed tests on prostate cancer cells. They were treated with date extract (ethyl acetate fractions) and cell activity was monitored. The extract showed strong inhibitory signs on cancer cells, a promising result for the treatment of prostate cancer. The study concluded that the ethyl acetate fractions of Ajwa dates may have therapeutic properties for prostate cancer.
7. Dates are versatile as a healthy sweetener
One of the best things about dates is the number of ways you can use them. They have the advantage of being ready to eat whole and easy to transport and store. Their caramel flavor is also a flavor compatible with so many foods. Many eat them stuffed with nuts – which adds to their health benefits, while others use them in smoothies or as an alternative to refined sugar in baked goods, sauces, and oatmeal.
Mariam Metwally is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist (BSc, Master NutrDiet) based in Sydney, Australia. Her areas of interest are women’s health, fertility, preconception of postnatal nutrition and eating disorders. You can find it on @tayyibnutrition on Instagram.