July 11, 2024

Dates: The Most Healthy Sweet of All?

Written by our expert

Dr. Meenakshi Maruwada

Dr. Meenakshi Maruwada

Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS), GMHE (IIM Bangalore)

Medically Reviewed by

Col (Dr) Surendra Ramamurthy

Col (Dr) Surendra Ramamurthy

Healthcare Technology & Digital Health Advisor and Military Veteran (Doctor)

Dates: The Most Healthy Sweet of All?
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Dates are a variety of stone fruits that grow on date palm trees. They are native to several countries of the Middle East but are grown in several other countries worldwide, such as Asia, the USA, and even many countries in North Africa.

There are more than 3000 different varieties of date palms worldwide. These single pitted sweet caramel-like fruits are popular in Middle Eastern culture and are consumed for medicinal purposes. Dates offer some impressive, nutritious benefits. A Medjool date is packed with potassium, zinc, magnesium & calcium. These also make dates a great pre-workout snack.

Health Benefits of Dates

These nutrients in dates are said to offer several health benefits. Let’s take a look!

Dates contain natural sugars like fructose and are high in dietary fiber, which contributes to their naturally low glycemic index (GI). [Ref] Foods with low GI do not spike your sugar levels; they work at slowly raising your blood sugars. The glycemic indices, however, vary depending on the date variety.

Due to their low glycemic index, dates have become popular sugar alternatives that satisfy your sweet cravings. They may be safe for consumption in people with diabetes (when consumed in moderation). People with diabetes must consult their nutritionist and doctor before consuming dates.

  • Aid in Digestion   

A single Medjool date provides 6.7 gm of fibre (per 100 g), a great way to add fibre to your diet and keep you fuller for longer. [Ref] Dates are also known to aid in digestion and help with constipation and diarrhea. Regular consumption of dates is known to regulate healthy bowel movements.

  • Rich source of antioxidants

Oxidative stress is known to lead to several symptoms, such as premature hair greying, premature skin aging, fatigue, memory loss, and many more. 

Studies have shown that dates are a rich source of several antioxidants, such as carotenoids, polyphenols (e.g., isoflavones, lignans, flavonoids, phenolic acids), sterols, and tannins, which help combat and reduce oxidative stress. [Ref

They are also one of the richest sources of polyphenols among all dry fruits; polyphenols are also known to help protect against certain cancers & support heart health.

  • Improve gut health

Dates are a rich source of prebiotics, such as soluble fibers and polyphenols.[Ref] Together, these provide food for the gut microbes, which helps the better absorption of calcium and magnesium from the diet. Dates are also known to reduce inflammation of the digestive tract.

  • Promote bone health

Dates are an important supplement for those suffering from bone health issues. These fleshy fruits are rich in several micronutrients, such as magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, and manganese, which are highly effective in treating various bone diseases.

  • Good for your skin 

Dates are a rich source of Vitamins C and D, making them a must-have in your diet if you want healthy, glowing skin. Vitamin C is known to provide radiance and glow to your skin, while Vitamin D is known to improve your skin's elasticity. Together, these help reverse aging and keep you looking younger. Dates also contain antioxidants like zeaxanthin that prevent degenerative changes.[Ref]

  • Help control blood pressure

Dates are rich in potassium and soluble fiber, which are known to reduce cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.

  • Assist in natural labor

Some studies have shown that adding dates to a pregnant woman’s diet reduces the likelihood of complications, which could lead to a natural delivery rather than a cesarean. [Ref] Certain compounds in dates mimic oxytocin, which helps lower pressure and naturally increase contractions. Tannins in dates are also known to aid the labor process.

Dates are rich in vitamin B compounds such as folate and niacin, which help speed up the body's metabolism.

  • Rich source of iron

Dates are known to increase iron content in the body; they are just as effective as iron supplements, which are known to improve the production of hemoglobin in the body. [Ref]

Wrapping Up!

Dates are nutrient-packed and extremely versatile. From boosting your energy levels and aiding digestion to providing a rich source of essential nutrients, these little fruits pack a powerful punch. Whether you enjoy them as a quick snack, blended into smoothies, or as a natural sweetener in your favorite recipes, dates offer a delicious way to enhance your well-being.

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