People have been eating dates for thousands of years. As one of the sweetest fruits, dates have several health benefits. Dates are packed with several essential nutrients, a boost of energy, and fiber.
No Added Sugars and a Naturally Low Moisture Fruit
Dates are a naturally sweet and low moisture fruit. The all-natural sugar of Dates provides the perfect alternative to added sugars when utilized in culinary. Grown in arid deserts, dates are a low moisture whole fruit with less than 30 percent moisture. Dates are Nature’s only naturally “dry” fruit.
A Good Source of Fiber
Dates like most plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibers.
Soluble fibers dissolve in water and help to lower cholesterol absorption. As part of a daily diet, soluble fibers help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water and can add bulk giving you that full feeling of satiety.
A high fiber diet is heart health. Dates are an easy way to add fiber to any meal or snack.
Fiber absorbs water. One tip for increasing fiber into a daily diet is to remember to drink lots of water to help your body digest the additional fiber. Stay hydrated.
6 Essential Vitamins
Dates contain 6 essential⁴ B vitamins. The body does not store these vitamins and they are best when consumed daily.
Thiamin, 2% DV
Riboflavin, 4% DV
Niacin, 4% DV
Pantothenic Acid, 6% DV
Vitamin B 6, 4% DV
Biotin, 8% DV
B⁵ Vitamins are water soluble vitamins and are sometimes referred to as the “energy” vitamins because they convert energy (fats and carbohydrates) consumed from food in the diet to the form of energy the body uses.
⁴ Essential means they are necessary for life and have a recommended daily value.
⁵ Institute of Medicine (US) Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B 6, Folate, Vitamin B 12, Panthothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US); 1998
For a 40 gram serving of dates, there are 7 minerals consisting of Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Calcium and Iron.
Potassium (262 mg, 6% DV)
The human body needs potassium to contract muscle and heartbeat to stay regular. Diets rich in potassium help to balance the sodium in consumed food which may help to control blood pressure. Most Americans need more potassium in a daily diet. Electrolytes like potassium can be lost during prolonged exercise; replacing water and electrolytes such as potassium can help keep the body hydrated.
Potassium⁶ can –
Balance the body’s amount of water
Balance the acid/base (Ph levels)
Keep the body and brain working well
Copper (0.1mg, 10% DV)
Copper works in tandem with other minerals to help metabolize iron. It helps the body absorb and store iron, essential in forming red blood cells. Copper is known as a heart healthy mineral as it is involved in the supply of oxygen that the cardio vascular system carries from the lungs throughout the body.
Magnesium (20mg, 4% DV)
Magnesium is used in activating B vitamins. Dates have 6 B vitamins and the magnesium in dates work together with these B vitamins to help energy production. It helps regulate many systems in the body’s muscles and nerves including blood sugar control and blood pressure regulation. Magnesium is also involved in bones, energy production, muscle contractions and normal heart rhythms.
Magnesium works in tandem with other minerals to help absorb calcium, vitamin C and potassium. Dates have a wide range of nutrients working together to benefit their effectiveness.
Manganese (0.1mg, 4% DV)
Manganese works in enzyme reactions of metabolism and thyroid hormone function. It is an essential mineral for keeping body energy functioning at its best.
Zinc (0.12mg, 2% DV)
Zinc is assists with the immune system and is involved in growth, vision and would healing. Carbohydrate and protein metabolism are assisted by Zinc.
Calcium (19mg, 2% DV)
The nutrient a body needs for building and keeping bones strong is Calcium. It is also required for a wide range of other actions such as for the muscles to contract, blood to clot and nerves to function properly. It is important to get Calcium from foods like dates because with all of the minerals in dates help calcium to be absorbed and stored.
Iron (0.4mg, 2%)
Iron is the mineral essential to form protein that carries oxygen throughout the blood stream in the body. Necessary for growth and normal cell functions, Iron is also used to make some hormones and connective tissue. Americans are lacking this mineral in their diet. Dates are the sweet, whole fruit that provides iron with the added minerals helping to absorb and store iron.
Low Glycemic Index
Dates have a low Glycemic Index (GI) of 42. The International Table of Glycemic Index updated the date GI values in the scientific journal article 2008 Diabetes Care (Atkinson). The glycemic index clinical trials were conducted on both healthy individuals and diabetics.
Dates add natural sweetness with a lower GI than sugar. This comes from the Date’s natural dietary fibers, sorbitol (sugar alcohol), and antioxidant polyphenols.
Dates can replace processed sugar in baked goods on a cup for cup basis. Breads and muffins using dates have a lower GI than plain wheat bread with no fruit. Adding chopped dates to baked goods recipes is a good way to reducing the glycemic index.
Click here to view the Glycemic Chart.
California Dates meets the American Heart Association’s definition of heart healthy. “A diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. Dates are free of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol.
Triglycerides (TG) are fats circulating naturally in the blood stream carrying energy throughout the body. When the triglyceride level becomes elevated it can be a risk factor for many diseases, mainly:
Non-alcoholic fatty liver
During a routine health check-up at the Doctor’s office, blood is monitored for normal levels of triglycerides, at the same time tests are done for cholesterol and other heart risk factors.
Clinical research suggests that eating 7¹ dates a day can help to improve your triglyceride levels in as little as 30 days.
7 dates are equal to 100 grams or,
About 2 ½ – 40 grams serving size throughout the day.
40 grams is equal to about a ¼ cup of chopped dates.