Dates are one of the wonderful gifts of nature. Dates are a popular type of fruit that has been around for a long time. The origin of dates can be traced back to almost 5320 BC. The fruit is a staple item for people in the middle east and North Africa. Mainly cultivated in these regions, dates are highly beneficial due to the innate composition of macronutrients and many other healthy elements. The fruit that is now emerging in the research on dates in the world is surprising. Nutritionists now call dates one of the most nutritious fruits in the world.
One Average-Size Dates Nutrition Values
- calories: 20
- total fat: 0.03 grams (g)
- total carbohydrates: 5.33 g
- dietary fiber: 0.6 g
- sugar: 4.5 g
- protein: 0.17 g
- vitamin B-6: 0.012 milligrams (mg)
- iron: 0.07 mg
- magnesium: 3 mg
- potassium: 47 mg
Benefits of Dates
The high nutrient content of the fruit contributes to its highly beneficial properties. The need for a comprehensive fruit diet cannot be fulfilled without the inclusion of dates. In the below section we will be discussing the various benefits that dates can have on your health.
Improves Brain Functionality
Inflammatory cytokines such as Interleukin can be extremely dangerous to your brain. The increased presence of IL-6 (Interleukin 6) is attributed to the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. The presence of inflammatory markers is never a good sign for your neural health and therefore it is to be considered with extreme care.
The regular use of dates is beneficial in reducing the IL-6 levels and thereby helping in reducing the risk of developing brain degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s. An in-vivo study on mice has also shown that the inclusion of date palm in the feed leads to the reduction of amyloid beta-protein activity which can reduce the production of plaques that can harm the brain. Plaques are highly dangerous and can lead to cell death causing severe conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
The study also showed that consuming dates reduce issues related to anxiety disorder and also helps in boosting memory and learning. The effects regular consumption of dates can have on your neural health is manifold. Besides preventing degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s they can also help in the overall improvement of your brain.
Facilitates Natural Labour
Pregnant women who eat dates regularly have a higher chance of delivering by natural labor. In our modern times, the frequency of natural labor is going down by a great margin. The complications that arise out of cesarean deliveries are troubling a lot of young mothers in our generation. Eating dates at the later stages of pregnancy can help in making the entire process of delivery much smoother.
There are results from studies that show that using dates as a part of the regular diet of a pregnant woman can help in reducing the pressure that is applied while trying to deliver the baby.
These effects appear due to the unique compounds present in dates that have the ability to reduce the need for oxytocin during pregnancy. These compounds successfully mimic the effects of oxytocin by binding to the receptors and bring around a chance to have healthy contractions during labor. Dates also have a high concentration of tannins which also helps in facilitating contractions during labor. The nutritional value of dates will also help during labor as the mother will have enough natural sugars that can provide energy during pregnancy.
Reduces Risk of Cancer
Cancer is a deadly disease that claims a lot of lives worldwide and also presents a huge financial burden on the healthcare sector of many countries. The increased prevalence of cancer is attributed to the rapid changes that have occurred in the lifestyle and diet of modern times. Dates have some peculiar properties that have been studied in-depth, and the results revealed that the presence of beta D-glucan in dates is very advantageous in promoting an anti-tumor activity within the body.
The mutation of the genetic matter that is present within cells is what leads to the abnormal multiplication of cells which in turn forms a tumor. Date pits have innate antigenotoxicity features due to the mechanisms the elements present dates have in reducing the aromatase activity of CPY-450 and also due to its ability to pick out alkyl radicals. This prevents any reaction that can be caused due to methane diazonium ion on the structure of the DNA and in effect prevents genetic mutations from happening.
The high concentration of antioxidants in dates also helps in reducing the activities of free radicals and thereby reduces the chances of cancer from happening. Using dates as a part of the daily diet can help a lot in reducing the risk of cancer and can significantly help in the reduction of the occurrence of benign tumors too.
Prevents Microbial Infections
Bacterial infections can sometimes be deadly and can also cost a lot to treat. In the current medical scenario, almost all microbial infections are treated with the help of antibiotics which is an expensive way of treatment and also comes with a baggage of side effects. Substituting antibiotics with natural products can be both a physically and financially sound decision. A study conducted using extracts from the pits and leaves of date, revealed that it had active resistance against certain harmful bacteria.
In another study conducted using the acetone and methanol extracts from the native date plants of the Iraqi section, it was found that these extracts have a positive effect against the growth of gram-positive and negative bacterias. Several recent studies have also revealed that dates have excellent properties that can be beneficial against deadly microbes such as E-coli and pneumonia.
Date plant extracts are also effective in reducing the side effects that are caused due to powerful medicines such as methylprednisolone. The effects that dates can have in reducing the activities of dangerous microbes make them a very important part of the diet. Even though most fruits have successful defensive capabilities against microbes the induction of these attributes to the human body is the strongest in dates.
Helps Fight Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is one of the most common diseases around the world. The number of people who are suffering from mild and severe diabetes is rising to levels we never would have expected. The increasing frequency in the number of cases that are being reported under the diabetes section is due to the increased intake of unhealthy fast food and also due to a diet that is extremely high in calories and sugar.
Diabetes treatment is also a painstaking procedure. Mostly diabetes is treated using synthetic medicines with a combination of several oral medicines and insulin supplementation. These treatment methods besides being extremely costly also pose a major threat to the overall health of the patients affected by it due to its increased side effects. The use of natural substitutes for diabetic medications is a widely researched topic these days.
Dates have the ability to increase the production of insulin and also have several properties that can help reduce the rate of absorption of glucose from the intestine. This can help a lot in reducing the risk that is posed by diabetes. The reduction of glucose absorption will inevitably reduce blood glucose levels which can be extremely helpful for people who are suffering from diabetes. The lack of insulin is what causes diabetes to happen in the first place and the ability dates have in increasing the production of insulin makes it an excellent natural substitute for several synthetic medicines. The exact procedure of how dates help in reducing the effects of diabetes is still being researched upon.
In several studies that were conducted on diabetic rats, it was revealed that the extracts of Phoenix dactylifera are very helpful in reducing the body weight in rats and also helps in capturing the free radicals that are sprung up due to the reactions of alloxan. Besides all these dates also has the ability to control the glycemic and lipid activity in diabetic patients which in turn can help them be healthy for longer durations even with diabetes.
Works as an Anti-Inflammatory Agent
Inflammation is a reactive mechanism of the human body that helps fight against several diseases, trauma, and infections. The regulation of inflammatory agents plays a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of the patient. Several inflammatory agents play a major role in the development of various defensive mechanisms within the body. The actions of transcription factors such as LOX and NF-kB play an important role in the regulation of the inflammatory health of the body.
It’s already known that the phenolics and flavonoids present in dates have an excellent capability in reducing the inflammation that occurs within the body. Dates are also rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids. The active inhibition factors that are used to control the activities of inflammatory factors help a lot, still, the side effects that are caused due to this are manifold. Therefore, there is a need for natural substitutes that looms large in the medical care industry. The role of dates in controlling and regulating the activity of inflammatory factors.
Inflammatory agents also play a major part in determining the immune response of your body towards various diseases and conditions. The regulations of these factors are very essential as they are very crucial when it comes to preventing your body from unwanted explicit inflammatory activities. The extracts from date pollens are studied to be having a protective ability that can actively prevent unwanted behavior by regulating cytokine expressions. Cytokines play an important role in modulating the behavior of inflammatory elements within the body.
Methanolic extracts from date fruits have also shown interesting results in reducing the swelling that occurs in the feet and also in the control of plasma fibrinogen. This can be very helpful as people with inflammatory conditions tend to be more exposed to the problems that occur due to swelling in the feet. There are proofs from conclusive studies that show that the extracts from date leaves can be used as an effective anti-inflammatory drug.
Can Protect Your Kidneys
Kidney issues trouble a lot of individuals around the world. The nephrological activity in humans is one of the most important functions that determine the overall health of the person. A lot of people are on the waiting list for kidney transplants around the world and most governments are trying to tackle the issues of the black market sale of kidneys. Being such an important organ, the use of kidneys in creating a healthy atmosphere for the body is crucial.
Dates have various properties that can help your kidneys stay healthy in difficult circumstances. In a study conducted on Ajwa, a type of date that is mainly found in the middle east Asia section, it was found that the fruit can actively reduce the lesions caused by Ochratoxin nephrotoxicity by amelioration by forming a protective layer. This can help prevent a lot of issues that are caused by people around the world raising due to the complications of kidney lesions.
In another study conducted on rats using the extracts of date fruits, it was found that the induction of these extracts into the system helped in reducing the excess of plasma creatinine and urea that are present in the kidney which helped to improve the overall kidney health of the rodents. The effects dates have in treating tubular damage in the kidney were also well studied and the introduction of dates into your diet is highly advocated.
Can Improve Fertility Among Males
Infertility is a very common condition these days and a lot of married couples are suffering due to it. The global ratio of male infertility is rising and has set off some alarms in several developed countries. The changing lifestyle of the individuals which causes a lot of unwanted stress is one of the main reasons behind this. Smoking, drinking, and higher exposure to radiation caused by electronic devices are attributed to be some contributing factors to male infertility.
The effect date fruit has on treating infertility in men is known around the world. There are various vitamins and minerals present in the fruit which can help in improving the sperm count and also in increasing the sexual libido in the person. Some studies have also shown that consuming dates in the right manner will also lead to an increase in the size of the testes in men and an increased size of breasts in women.
The presence of flavonoids and various amino acids in dates makes sure that the sexual performance of the male is fulfilled with enough energy. The microelements that are constituents of date palm such as estrone and sterols can help improve male fertility by a huge margin. Date pollen extracts are also studied widely for their positive effects on male sperm motility and count.
Promotes Bone Health
There are severe health conditions that affect your bones in a very unhealthy manner. The importance of bone health increases as you age, strong bones are necessary to survive accidental trauma or even slight falls. People who suffer from osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from fractures and other issues that arise due to bad bone health. For bones to be healthy, there needs to be a sufficient supply of several micronutrients that play an important role in securing the strength of your bones. The need for these micronutrients is met mainly through fruits.
Dates are highly rich in micronutrients such as selenium, manganese, magnesium, and copper. The need for these micronutrients in ensuring your bone health makes dates one of the most important supplements to be added to your diet if you are suffering from bone problems. The micronutrients in dates are also highly effective in treating bone conditions such as osteoporosis. So, you should include dates as a part of your fruit diet so that your bones can remain healthy throughout your life.
Adds Strength to Your Nervous System
The nervous system is basically the communication network that keeps your body functioning. Neurological problems are highly dangerous as they can affect multiple parts of the body at the same time. Several nutrients play a huge role in ensuring proper neurological health and the upkeep of the nervous network.
Dates are highly rich in nutrients such as potassium and at the same time contain very low levels of sodium which makes them an extremely successful fruit in ensuring your neurological health. Foods that are high in potassium make the communication between nerve cells easier. The low amount of sodium in dates also reduces the chances of hypertension which in turn will help keep your nerves safe from increased blood pressure.
Ensuring your nervous health will keep you safe from a range of other conditions that can adversely affect your health. Including a sufficient amount of dates in your diet and following it sincerely can help a lot in keeping you healthy in the long run.
Improves Your Skin
Various nutrients can be beneficial for your skin. Most people today suffer from a lot of skin problems and depend on cosmetics to deal with them. While these cosmetics provides fast relief, it also makes your skin tone inconsistent in the long run. Using harmful chemicals on your face can also lead to it developing rashes and other skin disorders that can affect you adversely.
Dates are a very good alternative to these harmful chemicals that can do more harm to your skin. The high concentrations of vitamin C and vitamin D in dates ensure that your skin gets well nourished and all the nutrient expectations for healthy glowing skin are met. Vitamin C & D work for the improvement of your skin’s elasticity which is very hard to maintain as you age.
The nutrients that are present in dates are also helpful in preventing faster aging and helps you look young for a longer period of time. Dates are also useful in maintaining a healthy balance of melanin in your skin by reducing the chances of it being deposited in various locations.
Reduces the Rate of Hair Loss
Hair loss is such a big issue that it has spawned a billion-dollar industry responsible for treating it. Ever since globalization more people have become very aware of how they look and present themselves before others. This has driven the hair fixing industry to become extremely successful in recent years. Various treatment methods are used for the treatment of hair loss but most of them come with a huge baggage of side effects.
Dates are a very good substitute for many over-the-counter medications that claim to stop hair fall. Dates are extremely rich in iron which makes them extremely beneficial for your hair. The increased iron content in dates ensures that the blood flow remains strong and the scalp gets the nourishment it deserves. The increased flow of oxygen to your scalp will facilitate the growth of new hair and also reduce the rate of hair fall by a great margin.
Helps Deal with Hangovers
Most millennials today miss a lot of productivity due to drinking the prior day. There are various products out there that are beneficial to heal the problems associated with alcohol-induced hangovers. Although not conclusively proved, there are many cases in which soaked dates have helped reduce the effects of inebriation and hangovers.
For better results, it is advised that the date is peeled gently and soaked in water, and has to be consumed the following morning. There are also known cases in many tribal communities where date palm extracts are added to beer to reduce the intoxicating effect it has. Taking a couple of dates after the party night can get you up and running for the following days.
Dates are Rich In Vitamins
Vitamin supplementation is something that most people consume today. Ideally, your daily diet should be able to deliver all the essential vitamins you need to survive. But, due to the fast-paced life we live today, there is very little room for us to eat healthily. The inclusion of various fruits can help curb this situation.
Naturally, dates can be considered as a substitute for vitamin supplementation. Dried or fresh dates are both very good sources of vitamins including B1, B2, B3, and B5. These are all essential vitamins that are very much required in ensuring optimum health of your body. The need for vitamins can be easily met by including a sufficient amount of dates in your daily diet.
Reduces the Chance of Getting Night Blindness
Night blindness is a vision condition that affects a lot of people in the modern world. A lot of people take themselves to the doctor to cure this condition that restricts them to see things when natural light is low. The major cause of night blindness is long-term deprivation of vitamin A.
Dates are rich in vitamin A and the regular consumption of it can ensure that you do not get affected by night blindness in the long run. The use of dates to cure night blindness is recorded in the history of middle east countries. Date palms are one of the oldest natural medicine which is recommended to heal problems that occur due to lack of vitamin A.
Dates are Excellent Sweeteners
Most medical practitioners these days advise their patients to stay away from processed white sugar as much as possible. However, there is a need for sugar in certain recipes, and cannot be prepared without it. The use of white sugars may increase your chances of being affected by conditions such as diabetes.
Dates can solve this problem quite easily, the high content of fructose which is a natural form of sugar that provides the caramel-like sweetness in dates. Substituting white sugar with dates that are turned into a paste can make your meal sweet as well as healthy at the same time. So, reduce the use of white sugar and introduce some date paste into your diet to live a healthy life.
Dates are Versatile
Versatility in food, basically means that it can be used in preparing a wide variety of recipes. Even though dates are mostly consumed in their fresh or dried formats, they have an excellent quality of blending with multiple recipes. Dates are widely used in the preparation of baked and sweet products due to their greasy and sticky nature.
The versatility of dates makes it very easily consumable even by people who might not like the flavor of it. Dates can incessantly blend with baked goods and provide a sufficient amount of nutrition that is required for a healthy lifestyle. You can enjoy all the goodness of dates without even realizing you are consuming dates, this is a boon for many mothers as they try to introduce their kids to healthy diets.
Easy Date Recipes
Most people believe that dates can be only consumed in the format it comes to the stores. These people are the ones who are truly unlucky to miss out on the endless possibilities that come from the versatile nature of dates. In the below section we will show you the magic dates can bring to your diet when used correctly.
Banana Date Smoothie
Making a smoothie for breakfast is one of the easiest things to do. It adds enough nutrition to the body to get through the morning.
- Ripe Bananas – Two
- Pitted Dried Dates – Quarter Cup
- Almond Milk – Two Cups
- Chia Seeds – Two Tea Spoons
- Ground Cardamom – Half Teaspoon
- Juiced Lime – Half Cut
- Ice Cubes – Four
- Ground Cinnamon – A Pinch
- Salt – A Pinch
Method of Preparation:
It’s quite easy to prepare this smoothie, you just need to add all the ingredients into a blender and blend at high speed. Once it’s smooth, take it out and serve in two large glasses and sprinkle with cinnamon on top.
Fig & Date Oatmeal Baked with Pecans
An oatmeal breakfast can keep you up and running for a considerable amount of time. Introduce a little date to it and you have a superfood on your plate.
- Chopped Pecans – Three Tablespoons
- Raw Sugar – Quarter Cup Plus One Tablespoon
- Cornstarch – One Tablespoon
- Butter Unsalted – Three Tablespoons
- Rolled Oats – One and a Half Cup
- Baking Powder – One Teaspoon
- Ground Cinnamon – Half Teaspoon
- Chopped & Pitted Medjool Dates – Six Pieces
- Milk – Three Fourth of a Cup
- Egg – One Large
- Figs Thin Slices – Two Pieces
Method of Preparation:
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 Degree Fahrenheit
- Mix one tablespoon of sugar, cornstarch, and finely chopped pecans in a bowl.
- Take out an 8-inch pie baking plate and add butter to it and heat until the butter is melted in the oven.
- Grease the pan with the heated butter and scoop two spoons to add to the pecan mixture to be set aside.
- Take a big bowl and mix chopped dates, a quarter cup of raw sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and oats.
- Add the melted butter into a bowl and mix with egg and milk and stir properly.
- Now pour the mix into the pie plate and add the sliced figs on the top. Garnish the mixture with the pecan mixture.
- Bake for around 30 minutes and notice if the pie is turning brown and the edges are hard. Once done slice and serve.
Tahini Date with Salted Caramel
Caramel candies are always a delight. Mix it with the nutrition and the excellent taste of Tahini dates and you have a healthy candy to munch on.
- Pitted Dates – One Cup
- Tahini – Half Cup
- Coconut Oil – Two Tablespoon
- Cardamom Grounded – Half Teaspoon
- Finishing Salt – One-Eighth of a Teaspoon
Method of Preparation:
- Create a thick, smooth, and creamy paste in a blender using ingredients like Tahini, cardamom, dates, and coconut oil.
- Pour the paste into a loaf pan and even it out using a spatula.
- Sprinkle the finishing salt.
- Freeze the mixture until it becomes hard. Then take it out of the pan and cut it into small pieces.
- These candies can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for a month.
Creamy Orange Date Smoothie
Oranges are an excellent source of a bunch of natural vitamins. Combine it with dates and you have an extremely tasty and highly nutritious drink.
- Medium Orange Peeled and Frozen – One
- Coconut Milk Unsweetened – One Cup
- Sweet Potato Flesh – One Third Cup
- Medjool Dates – Two Pieces
- Tahini – One Tablespoon
- Bee Pollen – One Teaspoon
- Vanilla Extract – Half Teaspoon
- Sea Salt – One Pinch
- Sesame Seeds – For Garnish
Method of Preparation:
The preparation of this smoothie is fairly easy. You just have to add all the ingredients into a blender and mix at high speed until the blend is creamy and smooth. This usually does not take more than 45 seconds.
Date syrup is an excellent alternative for artificial sweeteners like white sugar. If you are suffering from health issues like type 2 diabetes and still have a craving for sweet food, replacing sweet with date syrup can be very beneficial. Date syrup when concentrated can be used in any sort of preparation.
- Oil – One Cup
- Dried and Pitted Medjool Dates – One Pound
- Water – Four Cups
- Measuring Cup
- Jar with Lids
- Fine Mesh Strainer
Method of Preparation:
- Cut Dates – Use kitchen shears with oiled edges to finely chop the dates.
- Simmer the dates in water with occasional stirring for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the simmered mixture and allow it to cool down for 30 minutes.
- Blend the cooled mixture in a blender until it becomes sweet for about one minute.
- Use the fine mesh strain covered with cheesecloth to strain the mixture to get rid of all small pieces. Take out the cheesecloth and strain it to get the entire solution out.
- You can then taste the syrup and determine if it is sweet enough, if not you can reheat to thicken it to attain the level of sweetness in a saucepan.
Dates are highly beneficial for overall use. If you are seeking to reduce the number of health issues you encounter due to the lack of nutrients present in your diet, dates are the one thing that you cannot choose to ignore from your daily diet. Experiment using the above recipes to create an appetite for dates and improve your overall health.
Dates Side Effects
Can Lead to Abdominal Problems
Dates themselves do not cause stomach problems unless sulfate is added to them, which is now common. Sulfate is a chemical compound that is added to dried dates to preserve and kill harmful bacteria. People who are allergic to sulfate can experience abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
Dates are an excellent source of fiber, which surprisingly can have the opposite effect. If you have never eaten enough fiber, when you eat a lot of dates, your body’s fiber intake suddenly rises dramatically, and this sudden increase can lead to stomach problems such as constipation and bloating. Little research has been done, but in private cases, dates have been reported to worsen diarrhea.
Dates can Irritate and Itch the Skin
Dried fruits such as dates can irritate the skin. Which is again due to sulfate. Acne can be caused by mold on dried fruits, including dates.
Dates can Cause Asthma Attacks
There is insufficient research on whether dates can cause asthma attacks. But since dates can cause allergies and allergies can cause asthma, it is better for those who are at risk for asthma to be more careful. In fact, 80% of people with asthma are exposed to substances that move in the air, as are the molds on dried fruits such as dates.
Consumption of Dates can Cause Weight Gain
Although dates are high in fiber, they are also high in calories and energy and can lead to unprecedented weight gain. Each gram of date has 2.8 calories, which means that it is a medium energy food and can cause weight gain.
Dates can Increase the Level of Potassium in the Blood
Hyperkalemia is a condition that causes too much potassium in the blood. Dates are high in potassium and overuse can cause these conditions, so if you have high blood potassium, avoid dates. The ideal blood potassium level is about 3.6 to 5.2 milliliters. Blood potassium levels above 7 can be dangerous and require prompt medical intervention.
Wax Coating on Dates can be Dangerous
Like other fruits such as apples, dates are also waxed. Because the fruits look better and brighter, they are waxed to keep them fresh for longer. The radiance of dates is usually due to the oil coating or chemical spray, both of which can cause severe digestive problems in the long run.
Dates can be Unhealthy for Babies
Dates are too thick for children. It is difficult for them to chew dates, and since their intestines are evolving, dates can be difficult to digest. This can cause problems. In fact, dates can clog a baby’s trachea and suffocate them, so be very careful to keep dates out of the reach of babies, at least until they grow up.
Dates can Cause Fructose Intolerance
The natural sweetness of dates (at least in part) is due to the fructose in dates. Some people have trouble digesting fructose, which causes a condition called fructose intolerance. Sugar is not fully absorbed, which causes it to pass completely through your digestive system (because your body is unable to absorb its compounds). This problem can also lead to bloating and abdominal pain because sugar reacts with natural bacteria in the gut.