As consumers, we want and need to know about what we are putting into our body to not only help us maintain our weight but our overall health. This includes being informed about foods that we eat regularly or ones we may have seen and never tried.
Being someone who is interested in giving practical and action-provoking advice regarding nutrition, the topic of the fruit dates interested me, and I wrote this article to answer a few questions including but not limited to: What are dates? What are the health benefits of dates fruits?
What Are Dates?
Let’s start by clarifying what exactly dates are. Dates grow on a plant species known as Phoenix dactylifera, which is a palm plant that most likely originated near Iraq around 6000 B.C.
This flower-bearing plant produces the fruit we know as the date, which is small (only a few centimeters in both length and diameter), oval- shaped and varies from bright red to yellow in color. Only half of date palms are fruit -bearing, and it often takes 4-8 years before the fruit is produced.
Also important to note, dates are known as the only naturally “dehydrated fruit” because they are the lowest moisture whole fruit with only 30% moisture.
However, the number of other nutritional benefits they provide definitely outweighs this factor. Dates are important crop in not only Iraq, but Arabia and north Africa. They are even mentioned numerous times in a variety of religious texts.
So Why Are Dates so Beneficial to Consume?
Easily digestible and a great source of fiber, the biggest benefits of eating dates are to your digestive system. They can help you relieve constipation or any intestinal disorder (They are helpful at preventing and reducing the symptoms of abdominal cancer).
One way to achieve their laxative benefit is to soak them overnight in water and eat them like syrup the next morning. Also, they promote the growth of good bacteria and contain amino acids that are helpful for the digestive system.
They can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure as well. These factors are beneficial for heart health. High levels of bad cholesterol can cause heart disease, heart attacks and strokes.
Dates also serve a lot of vitamins and minerals to those who consume them, the most beneficial of which include:
Iron: Good for those suffering from anemia.
B vitamins: High B6 levels are associated with good brain health.
Potassium: Helpful for heart and nervous system health and preventing diarrhea.
Magnesium: For reduced blood pressure and stroke risk and anti-inflammatory properties.
The antioxidants present in dates are another beneficial factor. Dates are said to have more total polyphenols (produced by date palms to prevent oxidative stress to the fruit in harsh temperatures) than the most commonly eaten fruits and vegetables.
This sugar intake is good in some ways though – snacking on dates can provide the perfect boost of energy.
Dates are also known to be effective at treating conditions of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, including allergies and night blindness, along with bone health and strength. They are even good for increasing sexual stamina and helping mothers have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Eating this fruit is known as a good hangover cure. They can help you sober up quickly from alcohol intoxication. Again in this situation, the best results occur if they have been rubbed and soaked in water overnight.
In summary, dates are a great fruit to add to your diet. They not only taste great but can help you better your health. The list of benefits of eating dates goes on and on. Here are some other tips for increasing your date intake include picking the right ones, storing them properly and serving them:
- Choose dates that are whole, evenly colored and shiny.
- When you get them home, be sure to store them in an airtight container at room temperature.
They can last many months if this stored this way or up to a year if refrigerated but this is not necessary.
There are also a variety of different ways to eat them. When eating them dry, they resemble a raisin or prune, and the health benefits are still present.
Check this video by the VeganAthlete YouTube Channel for more information about growing and eating dates.
We, at Health Ambition, are here to break down all the complex health and nutrition information out there.
We want to give you our readers the facts you need to know to make decisions that will lead you to live a healthier lifestyle. We want to be your top choice for practical health and nutrition advice.